African-American Michael Oher’s story started when he ran away from home, escaping his drug-crazy mother who was fighting her own battle of maintaining a husband-less family and retaining money for drugs, food, and other “necessities. ” Although he kept poor grades up until the year he graduated from high school, Oher showed an aptitude in sports from an early age.
This would play a major role in his future, as we now see him playing as a tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. In his freshman year of high school, Oher was living temporarily with an auto mechanic whose son was just about the same age as him. His guardian enrolled both his son and Oher into Briarcrest Christian High School so they could study together. However, he ran into financial troubles and had to force Michael to leave. Eventually, Oher ran into Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who adopted him and took care of him until he went to college.
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Briarcrest Christian was a predominantly white school; in fact, the entire district was a predominantly white district. This meant that because Oher was African-American, he faced a lot of racial tensions in his school. He had to deal with countless people staring at him or talking about him when he was walking down the hallways in school. In fact, his mother’s friends and his sister’s friends were discouraging them both to keep him as a foster son. In football games, Oher faced many racist people on his team and from opposing teams.
However, he was able to brave through many of the slurs thrown at him and channel a lot of his anger into football. By the end of senior year, Oher received varsity letters in football, basketball, and track-and-field. He received scholarships from many colleges including Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, and South Carolina, but Oher finally decided on going to the University of Mississippi, where his foster parents and his tutor went to. He primarily went so he could play on the Ole Miss Rebels football team.
We can parallel many of Oher’s actions to his baseball counterpart—Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson endured many of the taunts and racial jeers that were hurled at Oher throughout his high school life. Similarly, both of these people rose up against their problems to surpass the white people that made fun of them before—Robinson being nationally ranked as one of the best baseball players of his time, Oher being one of the best left tackles in his team in high school.