The movie “Crash” is a stuck-to-your-seat thriller with true meaning. It is easy to see why is has been so successful and garnered so many awards. The viewer is witness to a great cast with several intertwining story lines that centralize around the common stereotypes of many races that plague our society today. We see several important characters that tell the story through several dynamic perspectives that are detrimental to understanding the film, as well as to the understanding of how we can get past these stereotypes and misconceptions in order to not just better our society as a whole, but better our businesses and employees in entirety. Arguably the character with the most severe preconceived notions and racial intolerances would be Officer John Ryan. Ryan, probably in his mid thirties, is a police officer for the Los Angeles County Police Department. On and off the job, he is, generally, the best example of how not to treat people of other races. Ryan demonstrates very racist tendencies. The viewer’s first encounter with Ryan does not prove otherwise. We see Ryan having a telephone conversation with some sort of secretary regarding his fathers HMO plan. The secretary is African American. The conversation is not going the way Ryan wants it to and therefore ends the conversation with a racial comment regarding the secretary’s name. Ryan proceeds to hang up the phone and enter his car where he receives a call to look out for a stolen black Cadillac, driven by a black male. Ryan sees a Cadillac, which, although clearly not the right Cadillac, he pulls over anyway. If it was not apparent before, the viewer now gets a front row seat to Ryan’s gross displays of racism when he violates and humiliates the African American couple in the vehicle. Ryan inappropriately frisks the woman while making the husband, at the same time, watch helplessly and apologize for breaking the law.
It is not rational, nor moral to sympathize with Ryan being racist, however, if sympathizing can be justified, than it can be justified in his second conversation, which is in person, with the African American secretary. After John thoroughly makes it known, once again, that he can be very racist, and right before he is thrown out of the secretary’s office, John informs the secretary that at one time his father owned a company that employed many African Americans and provided them with benefits and treated them fairly (he was very good to them). The viewer learns that due to affirmative action his company was put out of business because it could not compete anymore. Ryan’s racism can therefore be justified because it was essentially the individuals of the other races that were responsible for Ryan and his father’s hardships growing up. He probably believes that the only thing people of other races are good for is depriving him and his father and people like them of their happiness and wealth. Essentially he is still stuck on image.
The turn around event for Officer Ryan is when he saves the woman he violated from a crash site. It is a very stuck-to-your-seat experience in which the woman is stuck upside down in a car that is dripping gasoline near another car that is already on fire. Ryan enters and upon realizing who it is the woman throws a tantrum and demands someone else rescue her. The two reconcile and in a dramatic fashion Ryan rescues her at the last possible second. The scene is very important because one can imply the circumstances cause Ryan to get past race and recognize that deep down everyone is the same, everyone is a human being.
A very interesting and dynamic character is Jean Cabot. Cabot, who is probably in her thirties, is a white-collar woman, married to the District Attorney of Los Angeles. What is interesting about Cabot is that she has many preconceived notions about people of other races that come true, and are therefore justified, while because of these notions she develops more...
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