Crash tells the story of people from wildly disparate walks of life as they collide and intersect with one another. Each life is in some way personally affected, changed, damaged, or victimized by racism. They’re also all in some way guilty of racism themselves. via interlocking stories, the cultural, racial, and spiritual isolation of Los Angelinos. Due to the sprawling city's decentralized, car-reliant layout, Haggis's characters have become sheltered from those not in their own socio-economic sphere, and this seclusion has led to virulent narrow-mindedness. Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser) is the white District Attorney of Los Angeles who participates in racial politics in order to further his career. Rick and his wife Jean are carjacked by Anthony and Peter, both of whom are black. To preserve his support in the black community as the election approaches, Rick arranges for his assistant to blackmail Detective Graham Waters, who is black, into testifying against a white cop whom Graham thinks is innocent in order to create a press event that will reassure voters of Cabot's racial sensitivity. The film alludes to the possibility Rick might be having an affair with his black assistant. Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) is Rick's wife, whose racial prejudices escalate after she and her husband experience a carjacking. When a tattooed, Mexican-American locksmith changes the locks to her house, she insists that the locks be changed again in fear that he is keeping an extra copy of their house key. Following an accident in her home, she comes to the realization that the person who is her only true friend is María, her Hispanic maid who she has belittled and treated sub-human up until this point. Anthony (Ludacris) is a black, inner-city car thief who steals cars to sell to a chop shop. Anthony brings awareness to many racial and stereotypical views others hold to blacks even though some of his actions at the same time reinforce them. He provides a good example of the term ‘double consciousness.’ Anthony steals a van which was full of trafficked people from South East Asia. Even though he is aware of racism suffered by black people, he refers to the immigrants as Chinamen, a stereotype in itself. After refusing to sell the trafficked people to the chop shop owner, he instead shows compassion for them and lets them out onto the Asian district of Los Angeles and gives them money to eat.
Peter Waters (Larenz Tate) is Anthony's friend and partner in crime. He is also Detective Waters' younger brother. Like Anthony, he is black. Peter is shot to death by Officer Hansen, who picks him up in the Valley, hours after their failed carjacking of Cameron's Lincoln Navigator and mistakenly shoots him after assuming he is drawing a gun during an escalating argument. In reality he was reaching into his pocket to show the cop a figure of Saint Christopher, identical to the one Officer Hansen had stuck to his dashboard. As he is dying, he has an expression of shock/surprise and holds out his hand to reveal he had no weapon.
Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle) is an African-American detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. He is disconnected from his poor family, which consists of his drug-addicted mother and criminal younger brother. He promises his mother that he will find his younger brother, but he is preoccupied with a case concerning a suspected racist white cop who shot a corrupt black cop. Flanagan (William Fichtner), an assistant to the district attorney, offers Graham the chance to further his career in exchange for withholding evidence that could possibly have helped the white cop's case. Flanagan also tries to convince Graham that the black community needs to see the black cop as a hero, and not as a drug dealer, as Graham suspects that he may have been. Graham is both offended and opposed, and is ready to storm out, when Flanagan mentions that there is a warrant out for Graham's brother's...