A 2004 crime and drama movie, “Crash,” written and directed by Paul Haggis is a multi-award-winning movie that captures a society that operates under racial stereotypes. This movie interlocks people of difference social classes, different backgrounds, difference races, and different beliefs. It shows how stereotypes lead to prejudgment and resentment toward a certain group of people. It shows how quick people are to judge others base on physical appearances. It also shows how every race becomes guilty and a victim of racial stereotypes.
I really enjoy this movie for the many things I can take out and relate to the movie, yet still question whether or not this movie is truly a portrait of racism in America. When I first look at the title of the movie “Crash,” I think of automobile races or accidents. However, after streaming this 112 minutes movie, my thoughts have completely altered. “Crash”? is referred to how people of different social economic classes and how people of different races interact with each other. Most of the time, this interaction is easily influenced by the prejudice of people based on skin color.
This is to say that people treat others differently for the skin color they have. We can see this when two black men walk out of the restaurant and one complains about the service saying that they were treated poorly because they were black. Also when an Iranian man tries to buy a gun from an ammunition store, the storeowner refuses to sell the gun to him even though he claims the right to own guns from having an American citizenship. The Iranian man is thought to be an Arab because of his Middle-east look and strong accent and probably associates with terrorism.
Clearly, prejudice leads people to treat other unfairly base on the color of one’s skin. I remember when my family and I first moved into the States, a predominantly white neighborhood. I was young, did not have a clue of what is going on. I tried to make new friends with the neighbor kids, but got rejected. I was told and convinced that it was because of my language barrier that I could not make friends with all these white kids. By the time I got to Junior High, my language skills improved, but still I had a hard time making new friends, even with those whose parents and grandparents came from the same place as mine.
They are the second or third generation of children of immigrants, so they can easily blend in within this white neighborhood. Unlike them, my skin is not pale white; it is distinctively yellow, which flags me wherever I go. My language barrier was just a mask, which underneath lays a silent discrimination of my skin color. These people do not know me, but they know my skin color and that is how I was treated. In the movie, it shows how people of any races can easily become guilty or fall into victim of racial stereotypes. We can see this when a Mexican locksmith is fixing the door lock at they mayor’s house.
The wife, Sandra Bullock thinks that the Mexican guy is a gang member because of his appearance: shaved head and messy tattoos. She orders the door lock to be changed the next morning because she is afraid that the Mexican guy will sell the keys to his gang members. After fixing the door lock, the Mexican guy leaves the keys on the counter, proving Sandra Bullock’s false stereotype about him. Moreover, the TV producer tells one of his black actors to act more black during the cast of a commercial. The stereotype of how a black man acts does not reveal how a black actually act.
In fact, the TV director is black, yet never acts like one. As one can see, racial stereotypes can hurt both, viewer of the stereotypes and those who these stereotypes are viewed. I remember when I was in junior high school, I encountered this stereotype in math class ”Asian people are smart and good at math. This stereotype may be true for some Asian individuals; however, for me a few others, it puts us a bad situation. We never got much attention from the math teacher, nor did we get support from our white friends. The teacher rarely came by our desks and asked if he have any questions about the lectures.
Our white friends kept saying, “You are Asian, you should know this kind of math. ? The expectation for us to do well on the exam was so high that sometime I felt it as having two heavy weights on both of my shoulders. Such false stereotype is unhealthy and people should not let it influences their way of seeing real people. In terms of whether or not this movie accurately depict racism in America, I think it is to a certain extend. We can see the conflict going on when a group of people “crashes ? into one another: Black, White, Latinos, Asian, and Indian.
Still, we can see all these racial stereotypes from the movie: black people cannot be trusted, black are uneducated, black are criminals, Mexican are gangbangers, Middle-east people like Iranian and Arab are terrorists, and Asian are smart. As far as my concern, this movie goes a little too extreme about authority figure and male and white privileges. In the move, a white cop victimizes others by using his power as a white authority figure. He take out his anger on a black couple, humiliates the woman with body search invasion while keeping her husband stand powerless.
I do not think that this is applicable in real life. Although a cop may be racist, he cannot take his duty to a personal level like that. Also in America, personal privacy is a big deal. Performing such invasive body search like that will cause this cop his job and possibly a few days in the jail. One other concern is about the ending of the movie. It is understandable that it will make a good movie ending when villains become heroes, but such thing does not happen in one day. A robber will not turn down thousands of dollars in front of him.
At the end of the move, a black carjacker turns down the offer from a black market dealer and frees all the illegal immigrants in the van that he stole. Maybe I have too much of negative view from seeing his character throughout the movie, but still I think it cannot happen. This movie is only a depiction of parts of racism in America. In conclusion, “Crash” is an eye-opening movie about racial stereotypes in America that people just do not want to talk about. It shows how one can easily be influenced by prejudices about certain people.
It does not matter which race an individual possesses, at the end that individual can become either guilty or unwilling victim of racial stereotypes if not carefully consider. I can relate my experience and understand the silent discrimination of my skin color that uses my language barrier as a mask. The one thing I have learn and will take it with me all the time is that people shouldn’t believe stereotype they are told because there are always good and bad people in any races and stereotype just cannot cover all people.