Racism in "Crash"
Physical Characteristics and racial differences are distinguishing traits that keep people in our world apart from each other. Crash is a movie that showcases prejudice and racial stereotypes. The movie is set in Los Angeles which is a city with the cultural mix of almost every ethnicity. Crash is a perfect analogy of how the different people intersect with others in society. The movie crash shows differences between the lives of different people. It displays the interactions of several multiethnic groups such as African American, Caucasians, Asians, Latinos, and Arabs. All of the groups are striving to overcome their fears as they weave in and out of each other’s lives. They are all tied by an invisible chain of events, so the movie shows how we all have an effect on one another whether we realize it or not. The basic premise is that we can not live our lives without crashing into others. Others may look different and come from all walks of life but ultimately we are all the same. We are ultimately connected and the sooner we realize this, the better society as a whole will be. The opening scene begins with a crash and the statement is made that we don’t touch each other enough, so we have to crash just to interact. We need each other to survive, so connections have to be made. The ultimate goal should be to touch each other’s lives in a positive and lovely way and not to violently “crash” into one another. This makes one question their own personal prejudices and each experience that have fueled stereotypes. It makes one think about the internal struggles within their own ethnic group and whether one can overcome his or her prejudices and discriminations and just see people as simply human beings. Racism occurs as a result of a person’s upbringing. If you were raised by racists, there is a good chance that you will grow up to be a racist. Matt Dillon’s character, John Ryan seems to be a good example of this idea. Officer Ryan displays a close connection with his father and the roots of racism is showed later in the movie. It was assumed that Ryan was a product of his environment that absorbed racist views from his father regarding his attitude towards black people. However, later in the movie Ryan’s father turns out not to be racist after all. Ryan’s racism and attitude towards black people stems from his own experiences as a Los Angeles police officer. Another example of racism occurred at the beginning of the film when the Arab looking father and daughter attempted to buy a gun. The clerk at the gun shop made a few blatantly racist comments about the customers because he assumes they are Middle Eastern. There were several references to the September 11 attacks. It didn’t matter that the two were Persian, not Arab. Unfortunately, the reoccurring theme post 9/11 is that all Middle Eastern people became potential terrorists. It is amazing that people have the ability to interpret bad events and cast their own prejudices on different ethnic groups to mask their own feelings of anger and frustration. Certain stereotypes have stood the test of time, no matter how many strides for racial equality have been made. Sandra Bullock’s character made the statement about the relationship between white and black people: “If a white woman sees two black men walking towards her and turns the other way, she’s a racist. Well I got scared and didn’t’ say anything, and the next thing I knew, I had a gun shoved in my head” (Crash 2004). This way of thinking comes from the fear of physical violence from African Americans. Throughout history, especially during the civil rights movement, African Americans have been treated badly. They have been beaten, battered and bruised and have even lost their lives. White people have a fear, whether conscious of it or not, of African Americans retaliating and getting their revenge for all the atrocities that have been committed toward them. The “Things will never change.”...
Cited: Crash, by Paul Haggis. Released September 10, 2004 (film).
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