Crash is a movie where director clearly and deliberately portrays the characters in within the context of many typical ethnic stereotypes that exist in our world today. Society sees race as an indicator of identity and ability. Instead of getting to know an individual, we see color or ethnicity first and assume that we already know them as well as their tendencies. This very problematic issue affects us all in some way or another. Racism is a very sensitive topic, but it cannot be ignored. This movie vividly shows us how America is a collage of cultures and that we must find a way to see past our misconceptions of one another. What’s most interesting to me is how the film sort of suggests that the realization that racism as well as other things is a problem can only be reached through a shocking personal experience of some kind.
As stated earlier the movie deals with various sorts of racial and social order conflicts and show how some way things are all connected. It’s interesting to see how almost every main character held some sort of animosity towards someone because of race and ironically needed someone of the same decent. One example that sticks out the most to me regarding that is that of the district attorneys wife and how she wrote off the Hispanic locksmith and was rude to her (also Hispanic) hired help. The irony here comes when she hurts herself and the only person who cared to see about her was indeed her hired help. It was shocking to hear her say that the maid woman was her best friend. She had previous misconceptions about the woman and it turned out that she would take care of her before her husband or friend of 10 years.
The movie also highlighted the aggressively hostile mental dispositions that many young black men carry. The character played by rapper Ludacris plays a highly opinionated, pro-black car thief who’s completely convinced that the world is a conspiracy made to hinder people of color. He rationalizes his bad judgment and illegal activity with the thoughts that the world are against his people and that he doesn’t take from black people. He states “the only reason black people steal from their own is because they’re terrified of white people.” His epiphany comes when he attempts to steal a car from a black man (another main character played by Terrance Howard) but to no avail. After a successful stand of and talk with police the character played by Howard tells him “you embarrass me, you embarrass yourself.” I think that statement stuck with him because it was coming from his own, especially considering the way he perceived his surroundings and how he thought of other people oppressing his people.
Crash is the perfect example of how we as a human race deal with life; it shines a heavy light on people and our own experiences. Physical characteristics and racial differences may be taken and viewed as two distinguishing traits that separate us. I personally think that is the fact of life that keeps us apart and constantly in a mix. We as humans so easily recognize other humans but don’t stop there, it’s almost our nature to spot out differences and exhaust them in whatever manner both positive and most times negative. There is one example of how a man’s racism comes from experience rather than it being taught as in how most cases of racism are assumed to be.
I always thought that racism occurred as a result of a person’s upbringing. If your parents were racist, there is a good chance that you would be a racist too. At first glance, the character played by Matt Dillon exhibits characteristics that supported my theory. Dillon clearly had a close bond with his father and later, we discover the roots of his racism. Initially I assumed that Dillon’s character had absorbed his racist views from his father based on his attitudes towards black people. However, as the film progresses we find out that his father was not racist towards black people. It was him who developed these thoughts and views in combination with his father’s negative experiences and his own as a member of the LAPD. This is what allowed him to form his own attitude towards blacks.
To conclude the biggest problem we have regarding racism is ignorance. A prime example of ignorance occurred at the beginning of the film when the
Persian store owner and his daughter went to buy a gun. The clerk at the gun store made blatantly racist comments about the customers. There were several references to the twin towers and planes. It didn’t matter that the two were Persian, not Arab. A reoccurring theme was that after 9/11; all Middle Eastern people became potential terrorists. It is amazing that people have the ability to take bad events and cast their own prejudices on different groups of people to cover their own feelings of anger and frustration. This brings me to my main point that; as the movie crash shows, we have been systematically trained to harbor anger towards other groups of people as a result of ignorance. This we must stop.
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Courtney from Study Moose
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