There, she enrolls in a predominantly black high school; a campus racially and culturally different from anything she has experienced before. Once she was a talented young ballerina with great ambitions, now she's grieving the loss of her mother, who died in a car wreck while rushing to be at her daughter's Juilliard audition. 1
In the campus, Sara is befriended immediately by Chenille (Kerry Washington), a strikingly resilient unwed teenage mother who has a younger brother gifted in strut and hip-hop. Derek (performed by Sean Patrick Thomas), is a brilliant young man who houses dreams to one day be a pediatrician and is also the school's most popular student. Eventually, Sara has affection for the handsome black man.
The two developed their friendship and passion for dance until they found themselves falling for each other deeply inspite of their racial difference. Worse, friends and families are opposed to the relationship. Derek's old flame Nikki (Lawson) and his best friend Malakai (Starr) scheme to drive a wedge between the young lovers. Reviled from every angle, Sara and Derek realize they must make difficult decisions if the romance is to survive. Further, Derek's longtime friendship with his boy Malakai, is noticeable. He is the hyperactive, bad-boy banger and this leaves Derek face a predicament and a difficult choice to make between his future (Sara and his college) and loyalty to his friend.
The friendship between Sara and Derek's sister, Chenille, a single mom who's completing her high school degree and has some definite opinions about what it means for white girls to date black boys is not a thing to miss. These opinions arise during a conversation the girls have while in a clinic. In the conversation, they reveal (without entirely resolving) some sensitive questions that don't often come up in mainstream teen movies.
The relationships among the characters are well-developed such as the early scene where Julia asks Derek if he has a child. That was such a bizarre question not because he is black but because she knows about him at that point in the movie; hence he likes being challenged the stereotype.
Issues of racism and bigotry exist well in the movie, such as the involvement in various gang-related confrontations and the resentment felt by some of the African-American women upon the discovery of interracial relationship. Discovering one's son or daughter to marry an Asian, African or Black American and other 'inferior' race for that matter (if one is American), racism has prevented the people from knowing the family members in the interracial marriage. It is one thing to discover that the deepest, most volatile division is not only in America but in other parts of the world too.
Save the Last Dance may not only be about mature interracial relationship in general, it is also about prejudice. Peer group really has a big influence on friends. Teenagers often will defy family culture and beliefs. Studies of prejudice show that exposure to racial and cultural differences relieve ignorance, and increases tolerance.2
Interracial dating bias is quite a dilemma especially if parents are opposed to the unlikely partnership. If the white girl starts dating the