Crash Term Paper
All through time, the world has been racist and intolerant of people different from themselves. Countless millions have suffered due to the bigotry of people that could not understand change or differences among one another. There was a time when anyone with darker skin where immediately classed as inferior and not human. Even now, when you are not aware, racism is still a considerable problem. But sometimes it is not one person being racist against another, but rather one person being racist against them self. The movie Crash shows good examples of how racism against oneself caused by fear and misunderstanding, is just as malicious and evil as racism against another person. Fear is what makes people act racist against others who seem dissimilar but ignorance plants the idea of racism in their heads. The film Crash intertwines several different people's lives, all different races, with different types of beliefs. This movie includes conflicts on both sides of the picture from cops and criminals as well from being rich or poor. You see everyone being ignorant and paranoid of the opposite race. Throughout the movie you view how different races collide and react with other races. In certain scenes you see how each person thinks of other races and their reasons for why their beliefs are structured the way they are, coming from either their past history or the present time of today. This movie impacted me as well as society in various ways. By depicting so many aspects of prejudice, and by showing both the causes and effects it has on a variety people and their interactions with one another, Crash forces the audience to confront their own prejudices. Each viewer must ask himself or herself: “Do I judge others based on stereotypes? Do I fear people who are different from myself?” The answer is usually yes.
The movie Crash touches on many themes of social issues that people have to deal with on a daily basis. The themes of the film are all related to various aspects of prejudice and self-deprecation. The most prevalent theme is racism. The act of racism is the belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race. This theme is portrayed through all the characters whether it was white against black, white against Persian, Persian against Mexican, or black against Asian. Another theme that was portrayed in the film is stereotyping. For instance the white man that owned the gun shop assumed that the Persian man, Farhad, was a Muslim and refused to sell him a gun because he could not understand English, Anthony (Ludacris) and Peter (Larenz Tate) went to the restaurant and Anthony felt like he was being stereotyped of not leaving a tip because he was black, officer John Ryan had a perception that since the insurance operator was black that she would understand that when people need help she should be more receptive to helping others because she probably received some help of some kind in her past, and the last major instance is when the white DA’s wife, Jean, suspects the locksmith, Daniel, of being a gang member because of his ethnicity and tattoos. This shows how people assume one to act or behave on a certain manor based on people’s misguided perceptions of how a particular group of people act without knowing them fully. Other themes touched on in the film were oppression, racial identity and cultural identity. Oppression was represented through Farhad’s character, he always felt as though everyone was holding him down and had it out for him. Throughout the film he yelled at people of different ethnicities and cultures equally, thinking that everyone was trying to "Cheat" him. The theme of racial identity was illustrated through Cameron who was the television director, he was struggling with trying to fit into a mold that he felt the white producers wanted him in based solely on the fact that he was a black man. He felt that he did not really fit in either group and so was set adrift with nowhere to go. The theme of cultural identity was addressed through Anthony and Peter Waters, they were constantly debating back and forth on who and what the black culture was and is, from the early musicians of the 50's and 60's to today’s rap stars. The conversation turned to socio economic discussions and rants to why some people have opportunities that others do not. The young men were trying to understand where they fit in to their cultural world and where that culture fit into the larger culture. The last theme depicted in the film is that we are all connected. This film shows the intertwining relationships between the characters, and how their actions affected another person. We are all connected in a way that not only impacts our lives but the lives of others. I do not consider any scene in the movie Crash to be the key scene that drives the movie, because all of the scenes address something different and they all have different themes and characters. This particular film is so complex that you cannot just analyze one scene but the characters that make the scene. Each of these characters had to address their own prejudices and how they acted within society that contributed to their own conflict. The first main character that we are introduced to is Detective Graham Waters. He is an African American detective who works for the LAPD. He is disconnected from his poor family, which consists of his mother, who suffers from a heroin addiction, and criminal younger brother, Peter Waters. Graham's detachment from his mother culminates when his mother, having learned of Peter's death, accuses Graham of not caring enough about them to find him when he was missing, leading to his brother's murder. Detective Water’s deals with the issue of ego defensive prejudice when interacting with his partner/ girlfriend detective Ria, he called her Mexican in a derogatory manner, and stated that she and her people should learn to not park on their lawns. This was a backhanded way of showing prejudice without coming right out and saying it. The next character we are introduced to is Farhad, the Persian storeowner. Farhad recognizes his own race and paralyzes himself through his own fear. He believes that since he is Persian he is immediately being persecuted against and cheated. This is depicted thorough his encounters with the gun shop owner, who refused to sell him a gun and Daniel the locksmith who was just trying to help him. In both instances Farhad became defensive resulting in aggression due to his defense mechanism to protect himself for fear of misunderstanding and prejudice. The next characters we are introduced to are Anthony and Peter Waters. Anthony is a very complex character that always contradicts himself through his actions. He knows he is black and believes with his whole heart that literally almost everything in the world is a plot from white people to bring the black man down. He will not get on the bus because, “white people put big ass windows on them to embarrass the people of color forced to ride it" He will not tip waitresses because they "think black people don't tip!" He does not even listen to pop or rap music, made popular by the black populace, because "it's an instrument of the white man to keep black people down." What is confusing about Anthony's character is that even though he hates the stereotype of black people being thugs and gangsters, he steals cars from white people and thinks he is doing a service to his black community. Thus placing himself into a stereotype and contradicting himself. However his best friend Peter does not think the same way as Anthony. He tries to see the good in white people and even listens to their country music and is always debating with Anthony on how his views are wrong. This is ironic because Officer Hansen, who he had something in common with, felt threatened and acted accordingly, later murders him. The next two characters we are introduced to are Rick and Jean Cabot. Rick Cabot, the elected white District Attorney of Los Angeles, manipulates voter opinion through the medium of racial politics in order to further his career. Rick's intention is to create a PR event that will reassure voters that he is on the right side of racial issues. While his wife Jean Cabot, whose racial prejudices escalate after she and her husband experience the carjacking, she is racist to Daniel the locksmith who she believes is in a gang based off of his appearance and race. Daniel experiences stereotyping throughout the film with his encounters with both Jean and Farhad. However Daniel is just a simple family man that wants something better for his daughter’s life. The last characters we are introduced to are officer Hansen and officer Ryan along with Cameron and Christine Thayer. Officer Hansen is new to the LAPD and after witnessing his partner Ryan molest Christine he request for a partner change. Throughout the film he tries to do his job with morality and not wanting to result with force. However his character changes and makes a huge mistake by killing Peter Waters in which he now realizes that his old partner Ryan was right when he said “this job will change you, and force you to things in your favor.” Officer Ryan on the other hand abuses his power and is openly prejudice to African Americans. His anger manifest in prejudice which stems from the destructive impact that the local affirmative action policies had on his father's business who he believes took his fathers job away when he was a child. He sexually molests Christine in front of her husband under the pretense of a white women going down on a black man. His character latter has a transformation when he saves Christine from a burning car in order to redeem himself. Christine Thayer as well as her husband Cameron Thayer both dealt with the issues of racial identity, both growing up in more privileged environments than many other African Americans. It is not until Cameron sees how the white officer and his producer show propagated racists stereotypes against blacks that he realizes that he in fact can not live the way a white man does. This realization causes him to retaliate his anger when being stopped by the same officer that accompanied the officer that molested his wife. These characters each felt different hardships and pain due to their own fear and self-prejudice. People can be just as dangerous when they are racist and naïve against themselves as others are to them. People act this way out of fear of being persecuted, they fear it so much that they overlook what is actually happening sometimes and immediately jump to accusing conclusions. It's the reason that all these characters lives crashed into each other and ultimately affected one another. If they were all more understanding of themselves and each other they could have avoided a lot of conflict. This film touched on many themes and issues that are experienced throughout life; issues of racial profiling, racism, inequality and stereotyping. During class we focused on films that touched on these issues as well, such as: Higher Learning, The Trials of Darryl Hunt, To Kill a Mocking Bird etc. All of these films have one thing in common: the issue of race and stereotyping. Higher learning is a movie about a group of college freshman attending Columbus University and how they had to balance schoolwork and the issues that they faced on a daily basis. This particular film deals with race isolation, sexuality and social equality. These issues are shown through various scenes throughout the movie. The scene in particular was when the white supremacist group along with Remy were planning on taking out everyone at a nonviolent rally in order to show them the separation between the races and not wanting to conform. The Trials of Darryl Hunt is a documentary about Darryl Hunt a 19 year old black male that was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes and served 19 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. This movie ties in with Crash because it addressed the issue of racial profiling. Darryl Hunt served time in federal prison not because he was guilty but the fact that he was black and fit the role of the killer. To Kill a Mockingbird is a film based on a written novel about the perception of Jem and Scout Finch on their Fathers case defending a black man named Robinson who was wrongfully accused of rape in which justice was not served. All of these films deal with the social issue of race, inequality and moral ethics. These films make us look at ourselves differently and question our self-illusions. People are very adamant about these social issues still being present in this day and age and in order to break the cycle, one must answer this question, are we living in a world in which a person will bypass my outer appearance and accept me as I am without prejudgment and negative connotations? On the surface, Crash is about racism; every character is racist about another racial group. But if you scrape the surface a bit, it turns racism on its head, from a problem "out there" to one inside us all. This movie is very monumental because it addresses issues that everyone can relate to. There are no good characters in this story, but every person is a mixed with both good and bad qualities. Most of the characters are in denial about their ambiguity, and live disconnected from truth. Not the truth we tell ourselves, but the truth of reality, that encompasses both good and bad.
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Villanueva, Victor. "3D Stereotypes: Crash." College English 69.4 (2007): 49. Print.