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Prejudice-Based Decision-Making in Fruitvale Station

The themes of discrimination and prejudice are not new to American society, and, despite a number of attempts to find effective solutions, millions of people continue suffering from unfair relationships. According to Aronson (2018), prejudice remains “one of the most common and most troubling fixtures of the human experience” (p. 252). This social psychological concept is usually rooted in misinformation or the inability to learn the truth before making a decision. It seems easier for the population to be under the impact of stereotypes and use similar group-based beliefs to justify human behaviors than to develop personal judgments and visions. As a result, multiple conflicts either in families or at the community level occur, influencing life quality. Dispositional prejudice provokes a tendency to hate, which results in poorly weighted decisions and even murders. The movie Fruitvale Station is an example of how racial prejudice and social discrimination could take human lives, and true criminals avoid punishment under the guise of law. The death of Oscar Grant is a result of how prejudice-induced stereotyping determines decision-making and proves people’s unwillingness to take a step and change their attitudes toward racial inequality.

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In this essay, attention will be paid to several situations when prejudice penetrates the characters’ lives and considerably change them. Although many individuals connect this social concept to racial discrimination, Fruitvale Station reveals different aspects of human life. For example, in their communication, Sophina does not want to believe in Oscar’s true intention to change and quick all negative habits. She says, “you lie to me, you lie to your fucking daughter… so you would have just kept faking… and doing whatever else” (Coogler, 2013). In return, the man tries to explain that Sophina does not try to hear him and realize that he has “dumped that shit” and “could start over fresh” (Coogler, 2013). This prejudice is based on the woman’s past experiences and observations and reluctance to accept the fact that he is about to change but does not feel enough support and understanding. As a result, her prejudice causes Oscar’s enslavement and determination as a bad father or an unreliable boyfriend.

Another situation happens when Wanda, Oscar’s mother, relies on her prejudiced attitude toward trains. She convinces her son to take the train as safe transportation means where young people may “drink and hang out and not have worry about anything” (Coogler, 2013). Her recommendation has a certain impact on the man, making him use this way to get home to his daughter. However, even such a common stereotype about trains leads to a terrible outcome, and the place that is defined as safe for people turns out to be a final destination point for Oscar that takes his life.

Finally, it is necessary to mention prejudice as a primary cause of discrimination. Aronson (2018) states that this social concern is still “rampant in law enforcement,” which explains why black Americans are more likely to be arrested or checked than the white population. A core idea of Fruitvale Station is to show how the decisions of several white police officers are predetermined by their prejudiced beliefs about black people. Although it is Daniel Cale, who starts a conflict on the train, this man is not touched by the police because of his skin color (he is white) (Coogler, 2013). Only several black passengers are taken off the train and suspected of social disorder. This prejudiced decision causes another unfair judgment that a black individual is a threat to a white officer, which ends in Oscar being shot and dying in a hospital.

In general, there are many other examples of social inequality and prejudice in the chosen movie. Racial discrimination exists in American society, and some groups of people cannot get rid of its impact on education, employment, and even entertainment. Fruitvale Station proves the existence of prejudiced and usually wrong beliefs about African Americans’ violent behaviors. Unfortunately, in most cases, discrimination has no limits and could easily take human lives or instigate society.


Aronson, E. (2018). The social animal (12th ed.). Worth Publishers.

Coogler, R. (2013). Fruitvale station [Film]. The Weinstein Company.

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