In the movie title American History X, what exactly does X represent?
I could think of Roman numeral X (10) or generation x, however, I don't seem to fully understand the meaning.
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There are some possible answers here:
The "X" is there to stand for all the things we want to hide. (Remember the X-files). It has nothing to do with Malcolm X but the X in Malcolm X is also to hide something. The last name of Malcolm X was a white man last name and he wanted to hide it.
I disagree with your statement about what the X stands for in the title of the movie as well as the X-files and Malcolm X. X stands for the unknown. In the Autobiography of Malcolm X he explains that since he was given a white man's name he never knew his real last name. hence he changed it to X to symbolize the unknown. also the x files are called the x files because they are reports on the unknown behavior of the paranormal and supernatural.
Maybe the "X" has something to do with the graphical ressemblance with a swastika symbol, as well.
As a college student, I see this often. When the university starts a class and it is still in the experimental stage, it is given a course number followed by an X.... for instance, CompSci403X. The X indicates that it is a new course and that changes are still being made. I think that Sweeney was thinking of this method when he named Danny's class "American History X". Danny's class was new, experimental, individualized, and certainly not a part of his original curriculum.
If you recall the scene in which Danny (Edward Furlong) hands in his paper titled "My Mein Kampf", his principal (Avery Brooks) informs him that he will now teach Danny one-on-one in a class titled "American History X". The X is meant to stand for "New", just like its usage in "Generation X". This is a re-education of Danny in which he will be forced to see History from a new angle, in an effort to change his thought process.