For centuries, individuals have been heavily judged based off if their skin color. Black, white, or whatever color skin, we are all humans and all smile in the same language. The movie “Crash” shows the cultural tension and how much of an impact it can have on any individual. In the movie, Officer Hansen feels cultural tension for several reasons, which causes him to take certain actions. These actions in turn affect his life and the lives of those around him in a negative way.
To begin with, Officer Hansen is on duty with Officer Ryan and they are driving and talking when they suddenly see a couple, that happen to both be African American, doing some suspicious behavior in the front seat. They pull them over and follow common officer procedure, until Officer Ryan takes the situation into his own hands. He has the man, Mr. Thayer, step out of the car because he was apparently arguing. Mr. Thayer’s wife then stepped out of the car to defend her husband and begins yelling at the officers.Order now
Officer Ryan then takes action and has them both turn and place their hands on the car while beginning to pat them down. He pats down Mr. Thayer and follows that up by patting down Mrs. Thayer but it wasn’t your typical pat down. He was rubbing his hands slowly up and down her thighs into her crouch area for several minutes, she has begun to cry and at the same time there is nothing her husband can do. Officer Hansen has witnessed the whole scene of Officer Ryan taking advantage of the married couple and it becomes very obvious to him that Officer Ryan is a heavy racist.
Officer Ryan even told Hansen that being a cop will change his whole perspective on how African Americans act and of course Officer Hansen didn’t believe him. Hansen proceeds to ask the general if he could ride with someone else and it was granted to him. When Officer Hansen witnessed Officer Ryan sexually assault an African American woman in front of her husband it caused him to feel cultural tension in both his workplace and outside of his workplace. Furthermore, the next time Officer Hansen ran into Mr. Thayer he had a gun drawn on him because he got into a high speed chase.
Officer Hansen defended Mr. Thayer and let him off with a warning because he felt horrible for what he had witnessed happen to his wife. This scene made him feel a little better about himself because he was able to help a man that he witness go through hell with a fellow coworker of his. It acted as a relieving feeling for him, he was able to let this man off that he felt horribly for. That same night Officer Hansen was off duty driving somewhere and he was passing a black man by the name of Peter Waters on the side of the street.
It was a cold night and Hansen felt bad for the man so he picked him up and offered to take him wherever he needed to go. They were having a casual conversation, asking each other questions and then all of a sudden things began to get a little too personal for Hansen. Peter was asking about his voodoo doll on his dashboard and he laughed about it because he also had a voodoo doll and felt the exact same way Hansen did about the dolls acting as a good luck charm.
Because Waters was laughing, Hansen took it as he was laughing at him for having the voodoo doll and proceeded to pullover to let Waters out of the car because he was offended. Waters wasn’t going to get out because he wasn’t laughing at him and as soon as he reached for his pocket, BANG! Hansen shot him in the chest because he assumed Waters was pulling out a gun in his pocket. Then he noticed he was just reaching for the voodoo doll to show Hansen that he wasn’t laughing at him. The cultural tension that Hansen now felt towards African Americans had caused him to shoot Peter Waters on this night.
Everything Officer Ryan told him would happen came true, he stereotyped this young man. Because he was African American he must be reaching for a gun in his pocket, when in reality he was just reaching for a voodoo doll and he paid for it. Hansen’s new found cultural tension affected him in such a way that it caused him to shoot an innocent African American man. Finally, Officer Hansen was effected in an extremely negative way by what he witnessed and was told by Officer Ryan. For the rest of his life he has to live with the guilt of killing an innocent man.
The amount of guilt to be felt from this tragedy is unimaginable and the effect it can have on a person is tremendous. Officer Hansen is not the only one that will be effected in a negative way by his mistake. Waters family and friends will be devastated to get the news of his death and have to mourn for the rest of their life knowing their son was killed by accident. Death is such a horrific tragedy in any manner, it is such a disheartening feeling to see anyone go out, especially by accident.
In concluding, the movie Crash displays numerous different forms of cultural tension and how it can change people in a positive or negative manner. The main message of the movie is to never judge someone off of their race, each individual is different and an important aspect to our society. Each person has a different story and should never be judged just off of race or how they look. Racism is such a huge problem in our world and has been for centuries, the first step to getting rid of it starts with us be better people as individuals.
Crash. Paul Haggis. Lions Gate Entertainment, 2004. DVD.