written by Richard LaGravenese, based on the book by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers
Erin Gruwell: The evaluation assignment was to grade yourself on the work you're doing. You gave yourself an F. What's that about?
Andre (Mario): It's what I feel I deserve, that's all.
Erin Gruwell: Oh really? (pause) You know what this is? This is a 'fuck you' to me and everyone in this class. I don't want excuses. I know what you're up against. We're all of us up against something. So you better make up your mind, because until you have the balls to look me straight in the eye and tell me this is all you deserve, I am not letting you fail. Even if that means coming to your house every night until you finish the work. I see who you are. Do you understand me? I can see you. And you are not failing. ... So, take a minute, pull yourself together and come inside. I want a new evaluation. An 'F' -- what, are ya trippin'?
(Erin has consficated a racist drawing being passed around the class.)
Erin: Maybe we should talk about art. Tito's got real talent, don't you think? You know something? I saw a picture just like this once, in a museum. Only it wasn't a black man, it was a Jewish man. And instead of the big lips he had a really big nose, like a rat's nose. But he wasn't just one particular jewish man. This was a drawing of all Jews. And these drawings were put in the newspapers by the most famous gang in history. You think you know all about gangs? You're amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame. And they started out poor and angry and everybody looked down on them. Until one man decided to give them some pride, an identity... and somebody to blame. You take over neighborhoods? That's nothing compared to them. They took over countries. You want to know how? They just wiped out everybody else. Yeah, they wiped out everybody they didn't like and everybody they blamed for their life being hard. And one of the ways they did it was by doing this: see, they print pictures like this in the newspapers, Jewish people with big, long noses... blacks with big, fat lips. They'd also published scientific evidence that proved that jews and blacks were the lowest form of human species. Jews and blacks were more like animals. And because they were just like animals it didn't matter if they lived or died. In fact, life would be a whole lot better if they were all dead. That's how a Holocaust happens. And that's what you all think of each other.
(In flashback, we see Clive pull a gun out of a paper bag and while admiring it, he accidentally shoots himself in the head, killing himself instantly)
Marcus (Jason Finn): Clive was my boy. He had my back plenty of times. Me and him was like one fist. One army. I sat there until the police came. But when they come, all they see is a dead body, a gun, and a nigger. They took me to juvenile hall. First night was the scariest. Inmates banging on the walls, throwing up gang signs, yelling out who they were and where they from. I cried my first night. I never let anybody know that. I spent the next few years in and out of cells. Every day I worry, when will I be free?
Brandy (Vanetta Smith): In every war, there is an enemy. I watched my mother being half-beaten to death, and watched as bloodand tears streamed down her face. I felt useless and scared, and furious at the same time. I can still feel the sting of the belt on my back and my legs. One time he couldn't pay the rent. That night he stopped us on the street and pointed to the concrete. He said, "pick a spot."
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