Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    ‘Race’ staggers toward the finish line

    “Race” is the story of how a young, black American catapulted himself into the spotlight as the premier athlete of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
    Despite the title, “Race”does little to depict the attitude of white America towards the plight of African Americans during the 1930s. 
    The film opens with Owens (Stephen James) being ushered off to Ohio State University from his hometown of Cleveland. 
    There is a subtle reference to the laws of the time as Owens and his friend head straight to the back of the bus while passing a few rows of white people, but the moment is fleeting.
    Upon their arrival at Ohio State, Owens and his friend and teammate Dave Albritton (Eli Goree) are on their way to shower after practice. The Ohio State football team, all of whom are white, impedes their path. The players yell racial slurs and force Owens and Albritton to wait until their team has showered before the two track athletes are allowed to use the facilities.
    Race The frustration slowly flows out of Albritton as he goes back to his locker and starts balling up his fists and throwing half-hearted punches in the air away from the view of the football team. 
    Owens tells him to let it go and is relatively unaffected by the confrontation.
    When Owens lines up to compete at the Big Ten Meet in at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the crowd mercilessly boos and jeers him simply for being black and competing with white athletes. 
    Owens blows away the field, setting three world records and tying a fourth all in the span of 45 minutes. 
    The crowd turns in his favor and celebrates his accomplishments as the story glosses over the race factor and the movie immediately steamrolls through to the next scene.
    Owens goes on to win four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games and more importantly, subverts Hitler’s view of Aryan supremacy on the world’s biggest stage. There is a parade in his honor that draws one million people to the streets of New York to celebrate Owens.
    Despite his heroics, the racial divide that existed in America was left unchanged. 
    The closing scene of the movie shows Owens and his wife being asked to use the service entrance instead of the main entrance as they arrive at a lavish setting for a dinner in his honor. 
    There is no sense of embarrassment or anger in Owens’ demeanor as he makes his way to the back entrance.
    For the emotions a title as “Race” evokes during these times, the story remains void of social commentary and the movie’s lack of depth and exploration into America’s racial divide is glaring. 
    The film serves more as a biopic and focuses more on the relations between America and Nazi Germany than it does on the role that race played in Owens’ life.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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