May 10

Blog #153 – Reactions to the movie, Race

Race is a multi-layered film about a famous African American athlete, Jesse Owens, coming into his own on the Ohio State University track team, running the 100 and 200 yard dashes and doing the long jump as well. He encounters much bigotry and racism as he struggles to establish himself as the #1 college athlete in the country, and then the #1 athlete in the world.  However, the Olympics in 1936 are held in Berlin, and Hitler hopes to make those games the showcase for German / Aryan superiority.  Owens shatters that myth by winning four gold medals.Race Movie vs True Story of Jesse Owens, Fact-Checking Race


Please answer three of the following questions:

  1. Describe Jesse’s relationship with his coach, Larry Snyder.  Is Larry racist?  What drives Larry to push Jesse to do great things?
  2. How does Jesse’s relationship with German long jumper Luz transcend the racial and political tensions of the Olympic Games in 1936?
  3. Describe examples of the racism that Jesse and other black athletes faced in both Ohio in the 1930s and in Berlin in 1936.
  4. Describe the conflict between the German filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl and German Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.  Why is there tension between Riefenstahl and Goebbels?
  5. How does the film portray Jesse Owens as a complex character?  Use specific examples from the film.
  6. Examine the multiple meanings of the word, race, included in this film.  Use specific examples from the film.

Minimum 300 words for all three answers combined.  Due by Thursday, May 11 by 11:59 p.m.

Fact-checking the movie –

How the 1936 Olympics were recreated for Race

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Posted May 10, 2023 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

60 thoughts on “Blog #153 – Reactions to the movie, Race

  1. Brock Kusiak

    2. Luz Long was the top long jumper for Germany and had previously held the European record for his event. He was poised against Jesse Owens. When Long fouled his last jump and lost his record to Owens, instead of being hateful towards Owens like any other German at the time would, he wanted Owens to do his last jump to see if he could beat his own record. After Jesse won the gold medal, he and Luz did a victory lap to celebrate his win, right in front of Hitler, Minister Goebbels, and other Nazi leaders. The Nazi party’s ideology strongly opposed all those who weren’t white, so this victory lap was a direct protest of the government’s policies. Luz did not believe in the same racist views as the Nazi government.
    3. When Jesse was at Ohio State, him and other black athletes were discriminated against by the football team. They shouted racist remarks at them while they were running. One example is when the track team was in the locker room and only the black runners were told to “get out”. He had faced discrimination even by his own team. In Berlin, after Jesse had won his gold medals, Hitler and other members of the Nazi party refused to congratulate him, even refusing to be present with Jesse. This is due to Hitler’s strong belief in racial inequality.
    6. The title Race has two different meanings within the film, both race regarding skin color and physical racing. The racing aspect refers to Owen’s success as an Olympic athlete earning multiple gold medals. The other meaning of race refers to the discrimination that Owen faced while participating as an athlete both in Ohio and in Berlin. The 1930’s were a time that saw many people of different races treated with great inequality. Germany’s Nazi party is seen as the epitome of bigoted ideas and beliefs, hating and even killing people of different races and religions. They had a great belief in white superiority, so when Owens, a black man, defeated many of Germany’s best athletes in competition, it was a punch in the gut to Hitler’s government system.

  2. Jacob Becker

    6.) The word race symbolizes the race and fight that Jessie goes to reach the finish line. The race is literate in a sense, but it also shows the literate fight that Jesse had against racism. Jessie going to Ohio State university in a predominantly white area is a race against the privileged man. Jessie, participating in favorably white sport also challenges white privilege in a protest against white universities. The other race that Jessie fights is against anti-semitism. By winning against the entirety of Europe and by having jews on the U.S. olympic team the fight shows the race against human equality in the olympics. This also set the precedent for racial equality in the olympics.

    2.) Jesse’s relationship with lutz goes against the standard racial divide against systemic racism. This act of selflessness sets the aforementioned precedent against racial freedom in the Olympic games. This act of equalizing the olympics set the olympic games as a place for everyone to compete regardless of societal conditions. This idea elevated the Olympics and created an inclusive environment. The creation of the TV also helped this idea of equality showing who and when someone participates in the olympics by showing the propaganda promoted by communist countries.

    3.) The racial discrimination faced by athletes like Jesse Owens is a direct result of the Jim Crow laws and anti-black sentiment going through the society. People often viewed racism as a result of their own doing but in reality it was the idea of the great divide and sunbelt migration which was an attempt to separate blacks from whites. This idea is most prevalent in the football players using derogatory terms against the track players. The combined racism went against Jessie and often led to a lot of hate towards him. In Berlin the racism was similar as the Naxis went agains the olympic teams because there were Jews. The attempt to exclude the jews from the games parallels America excluding blacks from white jobs.

  3. spencer george

    1. During the scene with German jumper Luz, a display is put on to the entire world. Luz and Jessie are engaged in a fierce battle throughout the scene continually one-upping each other in the long jump. When Jesse is declared the winner after a fault on one of Luz’s jumps, Luz still asks Jesse to take his final leap, which was a new world record. This scene is an example of sports and camaraderie rising above the barriers of race that have been put on Jesse and other black athletes throughout their lives. Neither athlete was worried about what other people would think then because they were much bigger than themselves.
    5. This film portrays Jesse Owens as a very complex character. There are certain things throughout the film that add to this thought, like a deeper level to his character when his child was a recurring theme. Jesse needs to do what he loves, which is running but also feels a sense of guilt and responsibility for his kid at home. Another instance when Owens was portrayed in a complex light is when he almost did not attend the Olympics on the grounds of racial inequality. Though Jesse did end up going, there was more to his appearance at the games than just going to run.
    6. The word race is a word to describe a group of people together due to their inherited physical and behavioral characteristics. Race is also used to describe two or more people competing at something in order to get the fastest time. In this movie, both meanings of the words are incredibly important. First, race is used to show how Jesse has been trivialized his entire career, especially throughout the Olympic games, at which he won three gold medals. The next use of the word race is to describe Jesse’s love and purpose throughout the movie. Jesse runs and runs and runs and runs and he is the best in the entire world at it.

  4. Maggie R Holloway

    1. I feel like Jesse’s relationship with his coach is, oddly enough, not one sided. I think Larry cares about Jesse, but he’s kind of blind to the fact that his race affects his life in major ways. I don’t think that Larry is racist– I just think he’s in major denial about the problems or racism and how they can have an impact on Jesse. He’s more focused on the winning aspect of Jesse’s career, and gets very carried away with that and sort of forgets about Jesse’s home life and who he is as a person. He most likely gets carried away because of the fact that he wanted to be Jesse– he almost made it to the Olympics, and wants Jesse to win for him.
    2.Jesse’s relationship with Luz transcends racial and political tensions in the Olympic Games that year by being a general showing of good sportsmanship and humanity. Luz didn’t want to win for his government– he wanted to win for himself, similar to what Jesse wanted to win for: his family and his coach. Luz didn’t do it out of pity, but out of the fact that he wanted to be a good opponent and a fair opponent to Jesse. The fact that they became friends afterwards is the major sign that they were not friends out of pity or purposeful want for racial reforms– they were just friends because they were good players.
    3. Some examples of racism that Jesse and other black athletes would face in Ohio were other students in their track team making fun of them and being racist– even though they were on the same side. In Berlin, although Jesse Owens won all three things he was competing in, he did not end up getting the usual handshake from the leader of the country where the Olympics were being hosted, all because he was black.

  5. Titus Smith

    1. In the scene featuring German jumper Luz, a tense competition unfolds before the eyes of the entire world. Luz and Jessie engage in an intense and thrilling battle, constantly surpassing each other’s achievements in the long jump. Despite Jesse being declared the victor due to a fault on one of Luz’s jumps, Luz requests Jesse to take his final leap, which would have set a remarkable new world record. This particular scene serves as a powerful illustration of how the realm of sports can transcend the racial barriers that have plagued Jesse and other black athletes throughout their lives. At that moment, neither athlete is burdened by concerns of public perception, as they embody something far greater than themselves. Their actions showcase the capacity of sports to unite people and transcend societal divisions, highlighting the great power of their shared passion and mutual respect.

    3. Athletes like Jesse Owens faced racial discrimination due to Jim Crow laws and anti-black sentiment. This discrimination was fueled by policies like the great divide and Sunbelt migration, aiming to segregate black and white communities. Football players’ derogatory terms towards track players exemplify this division. In Berlin, Nazis targeted Olympic teams with Jewish members, echoing America’s exclusion of black individuals from white jobs. Both instances reflect systemic discrimination and the need for social progress.

    6. The film explores two distinct interpretations of the title “Race,” delving into the themes of both racial identity and competitive racing. On the one hand, “race” refers to the color of one’s skin and the challenges that arise from racial discrimination. Owens encounters prejudice and mistreatment both as an athlete in Ohio and later in Berlin. The 1930s, a period marked by widespread racial inequality, saw numerous individuals from diverse backgrounds facing systemic discrimination. The Nazi party, notorious for its biased ideology and acts of violence, propagated hatred and persecution against people of different races and religions. Their belief in white supremacy made Owens’ victories over Germany’s finest athletes all the more impactful, delivering a resounding blow to Hitler’s regime. Additionally, the term “race” encompasses the competitive aspect of the film, showcasing Owen’s remarkable achievements as an Olympic athlete who secured multiple gold medals.

  6. sylvie ball

    1.Their friendship was based on the fact that they were both passionate runners. Luz helped Jesse out during his long jump when he kept faulting – jumping from over the marked line he was supposed to jump from. He took a white rag and placed it by a mark where Jesse should jump from, this was early on. Then they went jump for jump besting eachother with each attempt when finally Jesse got a very impressive distance and Luz messed up his last chance to beat Jesse. Jesse still had one last jump before their duel was put to a rest, and Luz encouraged him to take the jump because he wanted to see his best. He didn’t care that Jesse was black and from America a country that had interesting relations with his own, what connected them was their love for the same sport. After the events concluded for the day

    2.early in the film when Jesse and the rest of the team were at practice the football team was hecki\ling Jesse and calling him “boy” a derogatory phrase used to demean black men during that time period. Later on when the track team was taking up the locker room, the football team and their coach stormed in and started saying racist things. In Berlin when Jesse was warming up he was told by one of the coaches to stop and Jesse told him off, and then when bringing it up with a committee oficial he said that Jesse talking to him in that way was disrespectful because Jesse was black and the coach was white. The coach also used racist redirect when he called Jesse “boy”. A term used a lot in the movie.In the end when Jesse came back to ohio as a famed athlete returning with 4 gold medals he was still subject to segregation. At an event hosted in his honor he was told that he couldn’t use the main door to the building and had to use the service entrance instead because he was black. He also was not invited to the white house even after his spectacular performance in bringing home 4 gold medals for the us.

    3.Leni, though making several films to promote nazi propaganda, took the olympics as a chance to show off every athlete from every country’s athletic capabilities. She wanted to film all of Jesse’s events but once his last one came around she was stopped, she found a way around it eventually but that was the root of conflict. Jesse Owens , a black male from the US that was sweeping the sprinting part of the track and field part of the olympics.

  7. Emily Kruntovski

    2. For a long time, Jessie and Luz’s friendship helped to bridge racial and political divides. Due to the amount of racism Jessie had experienced in the United States, he appeared to doubt their friendship, and he was unsure whether Luz was being sincere or acting out of political motives. Luz helping Jessie during the long jump offered the amount of grace and compassion he possessed, in spite of the Nazis he confronted surrounding them.

    3. Jessie Owens and other black athletes face a lot of racism in the movie Race, both in Berlin and in college. They were subjected to discrimination in sports, segregation, limited opportunities, and unfair treatment in the United States. Jessie also received slurs from fellow white athletes at Ohio State. In Berlin, dark olympic competitors additionally confronted prejudice. They first had to deal with the nazi ideology, which encouraged racism and white supremacy. Additionally, they were confronted with aggression from individual competitors, mentors, and observers. In addition, the Olympic village was segregated, and black athletes received unfair accommodations. Hitler’s refusal to shake Jessie’s and other black athlete winners’ hands, which goes against everything he stands for, is another major racist act depicted in this movie. All of this demonstrates how Jessie and other black athletes had to overcome numerous obstacles to become great.

    6. In the film Race, the word race has countless various implications. To start with, clearly is the game term race one of the primary focal points of the film is the olympic style events occasions of the Berlin Olympic Games. The term “race” in this movie can also refer to racial tensions and discrimination in the United States and abroad. The idea of Aryan race under the nazi regime during the Olympics adds a third meaning to the word “race” in this movie. The Nazis made use of these Olympics to spread their racist ideology. The movie’s unity with various races could be the final term for race. The fact that German Luz and African American Owens became friends demonstrates how they transcended racial distinctions. They conquered racial divisions and became companions over shared encounters and having sympathy for one another.

  8. Camryn J

    3. Jesse Ownes and other black athletes in his time suffered several forms of racial discrimination. While at home Jesse wasn’t allowed to use certain facilities, and the ones he was allowed to use he was treated horribly in. When Jesse tried to practice he was yelled at by other white players and they would act like the locker rooms belonged to them, forcing Jesse to wait till they were done. The discrimination didn’t end even after Jesse had become a decorated athlete. After Jesse’s olympic victory he was headed to a large dinner honoring his success. Even at the event being held in his name, Jesse was asked to use another entrance reserved for people of color. This moment in the film showed all the work the country had ahead, even after Jesse’s victory.

    5. The film shows Jesse as a complex character by showing his success, but also his mistakes. The film shows the hard work and struggle Jesse ensures to succeed,, yet didn’t shy away from showing some of his poor decisions. An example of this is when the film did not exclude the fact that Jesse cheated on his wife. Owens is also shown as a complex character by showing how his background impacted him. Jesse was representing his country on the olympic stage, while also representing black men and at home. He was put in an odd position fighting to represent a country that did not fight for people who looked like him back home.

    6. The film has multiple meanings of the word race. One of them refers to the actual athletic competition Jesse participates in. He’s literally fighting to be able to race. The film also includes race when it comes to Jesse’s skin color and the prejudice he faces. The film shows how the meaning of race, athletic and racial, intertwine within Nazi Germany.

  9. Sanuthi

    1. Jesse Owens’ relationship with his coach, Larry Snyder, was one of mutual respect, trust, and collaboration. Larry Snyder was not racist. He was a strong advocate for Jesse Owens and believed in his immense talent. Larry’s primary drive was to push Jesse to achieve greatness as an athlete and help him reach his full potential. He recognized Jesse’s exceptional abilities and understood the importance of pushing boundaries and breaking records in the competitive world of track and field. Their relationship was built on shared goals, hard work, and a desire to succeed. Even so, Larry did have some amount of bias and also was incredibly uneducated on what it’s like to be a Black athlete.
    2. Jesse Owens’ relationship with German long jumper Luz transcended the racial and political tensions of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Despite the existing racial prejudices and Nazi ideology, Jesse and Luz formed a genuine friendship and bond based on their shared passion for athletics. Their mutual respect and admiration for each other’s skills helped bridge the racial divide and their friendship served as a testament to the power of sport in breaking down barriers and fostering understanding between people from different backgrounds, challenging the prevailing racial and political tensions of the time.
    3. Jesse Owens and other black athletes faced plenty of racism both in Ohio and in Berlin during the Olympics. In Ohio, segregation was rampant, and black athletes were often denied opportunities to compete against white athletes in prestigious events. They faced discrimination in terms of access to training facilities, competitions, and resources. In Berlin, Owens and other black athletes experienced firsthand the racist ideology of the Nazi regime. Despite Owens’ extraordinary success at the Olympics, Hitler refused to acknowledge his achievements and snubbed him. Additionally, black athletes faced segregated living quarters and were subjected to racial slurs and taunts from some German spectators.

  10. Jayda Evans

    Jesse’s relationship with Luz is very important because it shows that race doesn’t matter when it comes to the Olympics. It’s skill that’s really important, and I think that’s why their friendship was such a huge deal in the movie. Luz made an effort to show Jesse that he was a good player and that a win is a win.
    The film portrays Jesse Owens as a complex character by showing all aspects of his life. It shows his life with his wife and how they are a happy little family and they can’t wait to finally get married and really start a life together. It shows his life as an Olympic athlete and what his mindset had to be like to compete. The film also explores what life was like for a black person in the late 30’s. It also illustrated how all of these factors motivated him as an athlete.
    There are multiple meanings to the word race. The first meaning is the obvious one: he’s a runner who runs races. The other obvious one being the racial discrimination he deals with throughout the film. But I also think that there are other meanings like, he’s in a race against himself to beat his personal records. Or in a race to get back to his wife and kid.

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