Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers, is a 2007 film based off of a novel called “The Freedom Writers Diary.” Both the film and the novel portray a story about a racially divided Los Angeles high school named Woodrow Wilson.

This story is based on a real life journey about a first year enthusiastic teacher named Erin Gruwell. Mrs. Gruwell does not know what is in store for her in the upcoming school. Mrs. Gruwell ends up having a rude awakening when she finds out that her students are “at risk” and have no desire to expand their education by attending college.

Her student’s main priorities are about “protecting their own,” and splitting up into racial groups within her classroom. Throughout the movie, you will see multiple obstacles or conflicts that each student faces on a day-to day bases. Which include getting abused, jumped, shot at, racism; or participating in drive by shootings, gangs, and or drug related crimes.

During class one day, Gruwell interrupts a racist drawing made by one of her students. She then utilizes the drawing to teach her students about the holocaust. The interesting, yet horrifying topic enables her to slowly gain her students trust. The drawing that the student produces has a black person with big lips which correlates to the drawings that were create during the Holocaust Era of Jewish people having large noses. In addition, Gruwell uses the Holocaust victims to inform her students that racism has no color; it can pertain to religion, color of your skin, gender.

Mrs. Gruwell put her heart and soul into educating her students; she had a passion for her job, students and society. She made many sacrifices, which included her husband leaving her and eventually divorcing her. However, it did not stop her passion for her students and her teaching career.

In closing, I find it very ironic that I am writing an essay on racism and underprivileged young adults and during my research I stumbled across an article that indicated that this film was dedicated to the memory of Armand Jones, who was killed after wrapping up Freedom Writers. He was only 18 years old at the time of his death. He was shot to death in a senseless act of crime in Anaheim, California after a confrontation with a man who robbed Armand of a necklace in public at a Denny’s restaurant. This makes me stop and think about the clips that we watched during our assignment in week three over Black Stories Matter. Would Armand have lived if he was of a different race and did his parents have the talk with him?

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  1. This film was such a good choice for a review! The dedication and passion Mrs.Gruwell has for teaching and her students always hit home to me. Personally, I think of video “Growing Up Black” where the kids explain how they get looks from their classmates when the “N-word” comes up in a book they’re reading or how they feel when a white friend wants to cross the street because of a group of black people up ahead. Racism seems to be present even if it is unintentional. Especially in grade school where children are still learning their place in the world and about others who are different, all children know are what they’ve been taught by family, just like the kids in the film. It takes someone willing to confront the situation and talk to students about racism to open adolescent minds and break through the barriers of racism.


  2. i have never herd of this movie before, i hope it is on Netflix that way i can have fast and easy access to it! it also kind of reminds me of a movie where a teacher in a small town did a project with her students separating from blue eyes and brown eyes. the effect it had on the children was crazy because they weren’t like that before they were being TAUGHT to be like that. we are truly blessed for teachers who put their heart and soul into teaching there students right from wrong. and hopefully we will are open our eyes and overcome.


  3. This is such an amazing movie. I’m a big movie fan so the fact I didn’t think about this one kinda disappoints me. This movie was a good insight look into what is felt like to be a black student at school. As a white male I do not know the struggle that black people, espeically black males go through espeically in high school. I do have two best friends that are black and struggle with racisim daily in high school. Society’s vision of a successful man is a tall white male. The African American race is discredited tremendously for not being successful. Both of my best friends have gone off to college and became very successful. Surpassing peoples expectations of them. This teacher was brave to keep encouraging these student’s to open up about themselves and to accept one another despite color. Her example she used by explaining the holocaust was in my opinion the closest thing to showing that black people werent the only ones to endure racism, hurt, and discrimination. Thousands of jew’s died during the holocaust. And I agree with Sarah, this day in age that all children know what they have been taugt by family. If they’re raised in a family that see’s blacks, hispanics, or any other ethnicty as a threat they too will react the same way. This movie showed that it is never to late to open someones mind and actually change it to view something or someone a different way.


  4. This was a great movie I loved how she helped each one of her students excelled. I must have watched this movie at least 3 times already. It showed how people are so prejudice and what it was primarily like to deal with being a black person in school. It showed how if we work hard we can achieve anything and most of all when we come together as one race we all become successful. I love the fact you chose this movie of course it was heartwarming and brought a couple tears to eyes at the same time.


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