The stars of the classic film Remember the Titans, Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst, open up about the racist incidents that happened during the film’s production.
Remember The Titans is a 2000 American biographical sports film based on the true story of Black American coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, and his attempt to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team. The movie, in itself, focuses on racial issues and race relations, but Hurst and Woods said the film brought on its own fair share of racist reactions from people before its release.
In a new interview with GQ magazine, the two opened up about those times. Hurst said one incident involved a “white woman,” who he would not name. However, he did say the woman’s posture changed once Harris joined a meeting that she and Hurst were having. “[Harris] said, ‘Just watch how she treats you, watch how she treats me,'” Hurst said. “We went in there, I sat down, and I was talking with her, and she was on her elbows leaning close to me. Then Wood walked over, and she moved her chair back a little, leaned back, crossed her legs, crossed her arms, and Wood looked over at me and nodded at me.” Hurst said the experience opened his eyes to his own privilege. “It just showed me; it doesn’t matter how socially aware [you are]. Experientially, as a white man, you’re born to be fucking ignorant.”
Harris even admitted to the hierarchy within our society when it comes to class, saying, “even people like [him]” can forget the position race plays in America “when we get to a certain class.” “The business of sports is racist because we live in America, where the place is pretty much founded on racist principles,” Harris said. “If I’m a white guy, I can just watch Monday Night Football. I don’t have to worry about a guy taking a knee for a cause of a culture that I’m not in. Those are the things that white people don’t have to think about.”