The movie started with Don Cheadle, who played a Los Angeles detective, commenting about how people interact with each other. He said that the act of touching is prevented by the existence of artificial elements such as metal and glass. Because of this, people have the tendency to crash with one another in order to feel each other.
This thought provoking line summarizes the entire plot of the movie which revolved around racism and stereotyping. The term “crash” described the many conflicting events among the main characters that transpired in the movie. It defined the multifaceted relationships of people from different cultural backgrounds, colors of the skin and socio-economic status.
There were many concepts in the movie that emphasized differences in race and gender that manifested the following power, discrimination, hate crime, racism, wealth, sexual harassment, ethnicity, minority, prejudice, stereotype, segregation, pluralism, assimilation, scapegoat, crime against property and gender stratification. Power was seen in the scene where the District Attorney played by Brendan Fraser got prioritized by the LAPD when his vehicle was stolen.
He used his stature as a government official in order for the police force to immediately handle and resolve his case. Meanwhile, I saw a form of discrimination when Matt Dillon who played a white racist cop, called the hospital to inquire about the medical treatment needed by his father. Throughout their conversation, he was very unsatisfied so when he asked who was he talking to, the person at the other end of the line, gave a name that was a typical Black name and Dillon immediately assumed that the reason behind the unsatisfactory service was because he was dealing with a Black person.
An example of hate crime was also depicted in the movie. When the Persian store owner assumed that the Hispanic locksmith was behind the damaging of his property because the locksmith looked like a typical gangster or criminal, he tried to kill him by shooting him in front of his home. Luckily, the locksmith was unharmed from the incident. In relation with this, prior to this incident, the Persian tried to buy a gun for him and his family’s protection from an American-owned gun store.
The American owner refused to sell a gun to the Persian because the owner associated the Persian with the Arab Muslims who were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack. This was a form of racism that showed intolerance for another social or racial group. On the other hand, wealth was evident with the characters of Bullock and Fraser who played a rich white couple while Howard and Newton’s characters who were the well to do black couple.
These characters symbolized that fame and fortune can be attained and enjoyed irregardless of the color of the skin. In another scene in the movie, I saw an act of sexual harassment between a black woman who was the victim and the white man who was the harasser. It is the scene where the character of Dillon pulled over a vehicle of a black couple and interrogated them.
During the interrogation, Dillon physically searched the character of Newton who played the rich black wife of Terrence Howard, a big shot black producer. Dillon inappropriately touched the body of Newton which implied an unwelcome sexual advance. On another note, at the beginning of the movie, several cultural identities were presented. A black man, a Hispanic woman and an Asian woman were convened together in one place because of a car crash.
This scene portrayed the fusion of different ethnic groups in one area wherein their different languages, beliefs and culture signifying the existence of various ethnicity in LA. However, multiculturalism also entails having minority groups. In the movie, Chinese illegal immigrants were being sold as slaves by Americans in downtown Los Angeles. This scene illustrated that the Chinese are still considered as a minority or a subordinate group in an American dominated city where they are deprived of their basic needs.
Meanwhile, prejudice was seen when the character of Bullock clutched the arms of her husband upon seeing two African-American males walking on the same sidewalk as they are. Bullock’s action showed her hasty judgment of the two blacks. She assumed that they were gangsters or robbers so she made a gesture seeking protection from her husband. In a similar scenario, Bullock stereotyped a Hispanic locksmith with a gangster because of his shaved head and tattoos.
This is a form of stereotyping wherein one generalizes a specific concept to anyone who typifies that concept. Meanwhile, segregation is apparent in the scene where people of Mexican or Hispanic origin are usually typecast in blue collar jobs such as domestic works or construction. In the movie, the housekeeper of Bullock and Fraser was a Hispanic woman.
Because of the housekeeper’s nationality and the nature of her job, Bullock constantly looked down on the capability and intelligence of the Hispanic woman. Moreover, pluralism was shown by demonstrating Los Angeles as a pluralist city. LA was seen as a place where Black and White Americans, Asians and Hispanics have preserved their respective cultural identities amid the diversity. Meanwhile, Terrence Howard played the character of Cameron Thayer who was a successful black television producer.
The TV industry was dominated by whites. Howard managed to be assimilated to the dominant group by succumbing to the demands and wants of the whites at the expense of disregarding his own wants and opinions. This is a clear example of cultural assimilation. Meanwhile, in the scene where Detective Graham Waters played by Don Cheadles was investigating a shooting scene between a black man and a white LAPD officer, he learned that the police officer was guilty of doing illegal activities. In order to preserve the good image and integrity of the LAPD, the black man was used as an scapegoat by pinpointing him as the instigator of the crime. On the other hand, crime against property was illustrated when the store of the Persian was thrashed.
They were subjected to such offensive behavior because of their similar physical appearance with the Arabs who were highly discriminated in the U.S. because of the 9/11 attack. Last but not the least, gender stratification was demonstrated in the movie through the scene where the Persian woman was urging the American gun store owner to sell them a hand gun. Instead the owner verbally harassed the Persian woman indicating the status of women in a male-dominated society. Generally, women are perceived as sex objects or domesticated beings.
Cheadle, D., Haggis, P., Moresco, R., Schulman, C., & Yari, B. (Producers) & Haggis, P. (Director).(2004). Crash [Motion Picture]. U.S.A.: Lion Gate Films.