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Cultural Identity in Crash

“Crash” is a very intense movie it shows us a firsthand look at a variety of intertwine experiences regarding racial relations and the level of socioeconomic status of the various cast characters. This film came at a moment when race and police brutality was the topic of national conversations and not long after the Rodney King riot in 1992. Crash deal with how humans engaged in actual real-life situations and tackle racial injustice and stereotype that continues to affect our society today.

What got me the most is how we treat each other and how much that could make a difference in some one’s lives, if we could be more considerate of each other, that would make a huge difference in our world, but people are so selfish and self-centered we don’t take the time to think how our actions affect others.

Then you have district attorney wife, privileged, Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) who is miserable with her life. Her life began to unravel after she and her husband were carjacked.

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Jean (Sandra Bullock) represents stereotyping. After her car was stolen she decided to change the locks in her house. In the scene where Hispanic locksmith Daniel Ruiz (Michael Pena) is replacing the lock, Jean is saying ”I would like the locks changed again in the morning, and you might mention that we would appreciate that the next time they didn’t send the gang member, the guy with a shaved head, the pants around his ass, the prison tattoo’ ( Crash).

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Jean assumes that he will give copies of the keys to his gang friends. She’s judging the locksmith by his appearance. Her suppressed fear manifests as her trust in minorities she took out her frustration on her helper Maria but in the long run, she only had Maria as her true friend.

As our politics and fractured increasingly around race, there seems to be more confusion about who’s discriminating against whom. But for me, it is clear when you have to live it each day. We live in a world where we hate to tolerate people that are different from us. For example, the 911 terrorist attack the increased threat held by many Americans has often form a basic subtle, pervasive racism. The president of the United States of America called coronavirus a “Chinese Virus”. People in authority are the ones should be setting the example, they are the ones promoting hate among our society.

Cameron Thayer (Terrance Howard) and wife (Christine Thayer) life change experience in an instance when they were pulled over by two officers, John Ryan the overly racist cop (Matt Dillon) and Tom Hanson (Ryan Phillippe) who struggles with his legal and moral rights. First, the miss-representation of Christine ethnicity, thought she was white and was engaged in sex acts with a black man. To look at a person that you never meet, know nothing about and conclude is beyond me. I doubt if the Thayer’s were white, they would have been treated in this manner. Christine’s internal and external thoughts about her race affect her relationship drastically.

Everyone in “Crash” was misidentified in some way shape or form. We have a preconceived notion that our neighborhoods and surroundings have problems with diversity and therefore misconstrued comments to fit agenda. Time and time again in the film is peoples’ assumptions that prevent them from seeing the actual person in front of them. “An Iranian (Shaun Toub) is thought to be an Arab, although Iranians are Persian.” “Both the Iranian and the white wife of the district attorney (Sandra Bullock) believe a Mexican American locksmith (Michael Pena) is a gang member and a crook, but he is a family man” (Crash).

“A black cop (Don Cheadle) is having an affair with his Latina partner (Jennifer Esposito), but never gets it straight which country she’s from”. A cop (Matt Dillon) thinks a light-skinned black woman (Thandie Newton) is white.” When a white producer tells a black TV director (Terrence Dashon Howard) that a black character ‘doesn’t sound black enough,’ it never occurs to him that the director doesn’t ‘sound black,’ either. For that matter, “neither do two young black men (Larenz Tate and Ludacris), who dress and act like college students but have a surprise for us” (Crash).

We are what we think. The Film “Crash” not only contains hurt, cruelty, and coldness but is also shows a sense of hope. The hope of being better. In my opinion, I believe John Ryan (Matt Dillion) does have some underlying valve which is both positive, negative and hope. He knew he had done wrong so rescuing Christine in that car accident was an ultimate goal for him. He felt like within himself he was compensating for what he had done wrong. Having a clear conscience would rid him of his guilt. My thoughts on this film are that we are all different, yet the same and we all need each other. We are nothing without others.

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Cultural Identity in Crash. (2020, Nov 27). Retrieved from

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