Description: The film Crash illustrates through various characters many themes that are sociologically relevant and have been intensely covered in course lectures and readings. With the extensive minority groups presented throughout the film; elements of prejudice, discrimination, deviance, patterns of accommodation, as well as strain theory are evident.
The film offers an array of conflict in four characters especially that will be discussed here. “Anthony” and “Peter Waters” two African-American men, “Farhad” a Persian shop owner, and “Officer John Ryan” a white prejudiced policeman all display interesting characteristics of the theories mentioned above. Analysis: Anthony and Peter both commit criminal acts and fit well into the innovation as part of deviance model.
They do not believe that they can conform and do not see other opportunities in the largely white areas in which they steal cars, admitting that they want to steal from whites, as they perceive whites to have privilege and hostility toward them. Peter is shot while Anthony attempts to redeem himself by helping another minority group, who he sees to be exploited due to their minority status. Officer Ryan is a prejudiced policeman, who feels the trickle down effect of strain theory.
Due to the loss of his father’s job due to affirmative action policies and the subsequent issues with him receiving improper healthcare, this officer turns his frustration to blacks as a whole due to the strain of his father’s condition. Finally, Farhad exhibits the patterns of accommodation, as he attempts to assimilate to the United States, he distrusts others in the different minority groups and feels the shame of being called a terrorist. He retaliates by attempting to kill a Mexican-American, as his level of conflict with other groups is extremely high.
Self-reflection: This film is very effective in showing how theories can be applied to actual events that occur in the lives of minorities and those with white privilege. The complex interactions between the different groups highlight much of what conflict theory proposes and elements of structural functionalism, as well. I would highly recommend this movie to any sociology student or others, who have an interest in how groups in society function and deal with one another on a daily basis.