Racism Essay

Published 01 Sep 2016

Racism, Stereotypes and Gender Role in The Movie Crash

The movie crash is mainly about controversial social issues the plague modern Los Angeles which is known as a melting pot of cultures from all over the world. The presence of diverse characters brings the viewers to specific scenarios that depict racism, stereotypes and gender roles. These three are social conditions brought forth by bigotry and prejudice. A society is composed of different kinds of people from distinctive culture, race, economic, political and social class. Ideally, the discrepancy between the rich and the poor, white and black, ordinary citizen and a state leader should not be too much to avoid social inequality which most often than not causes conflict. Crash gives its viewer an insightful perspective on the heterogeneous links between people of various races. This an eye-opening movie that illustrates the effects of race and gender and how these two become factors for the manifestation of violence as well as peace.

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In the opening scene of the movie, Don Cheadle, who played a detective for the Los Angeles Police District (LAPD), said that at in this day and age, the act of touching is hindered by the mere presence of metal and glass, so people tend to crash each other in order to feel one another. This line sums up the events that would transpire in the movie. The scenes that followed showed the interconnection and correlation of each character with every event. The multifaceted mix of an all-American white elite couple, a couple of black college students, white racist cop, Hispanic locksmith, Persian immigrant shopkeeper and a successful rich black couple tells a riveting story about discrimination and stereotyping. These conditions were strongly portrayed in the entirety of the movie.

The story started in an investigation of a black guy being murdered and thrown into the side of the road and a car crash between a Latina detective and an Asian woman. In this scene, racism is evident because the Latina immediately puts the blame on the Asian woman because of the notion that Asians can’t drive. More so, the Latina mocks the Asian woman by stressing out the words that she could not articulately say in English such as ‘blake’ instead of blink. Then, a retrospective recount of events before that incident took place. The scene shifted in a gun store where a Persian father and daughter were trying to purchase a gun for protection but the American white seller assumed that the father is a terrorist because he looks like a typical Muslim and he can’t speak straight English.

The seller is wary that if he sold him a gun, he might use it to kill him or other Americans so he refused to entertain him and threw him out of the store. But the daughter insisted that they are willing to pay for the gun, in response, the seller undermined the girl by using sexual remarks that obviously have offended the girl. This scene is an appropriate example of racism and women’s perception as sexual objects. Americans have the tendency to profess their superiority complex to those they think are subordinate to their race. This notion is enforced by the status of the United States as the most powerful country in the world. In effect, this impression sips down to every mindset of white Americans making them feel that they are all-powerful and all-knowing that no one from other race could ever meet up to their standards. However, there is a different case with black Americans. They are Americans but they get discriminating treatments from their fellow Americans who happen to be white. This color distinction has resulted in a huge disparity between the whites and blacks in terms of traits, competencies, and well-being. More so, blacks and other minority groups in the United States have the habit of pulling down their own kind to prevent them from being successful. This is known as crab mentality. In the scene where two college student black guys were griping over the dissatisfactory customer service of a restaurant in a white neighborhood.

They believed that they got a crappy service because they were black even though it was a black waitress who served them. Then, on their way home, they encountered a white couple portrayed by Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser. Upon seeing the black guys, the character of Bullock immediately put her arms around her husband to ensure her security. The two black guys found that gesture to be offensive and said that they should be the ones to be afraid because they were the only black people in a white dominated area. The other black guy responded by saying that they should not be afraid because they have a gun, then they went to the car of the white couple and stole it. Because of the trauma, Bullock’s character wanted the locks in her house to be changed but when she saw that the locksmith was a Hispanic who looks like a gangster because of his bald head and prison tattoos, she immediately ordered her husband to find a better locksmith who does not look like a hooligan.

She said that she does not want to be a racist but when a black guy points a gun at your face you become skeptical of other people especially those branded with negative stereotypes. Also, in the succeeding scene, Matt Dillon who played a racial cop along with Ryan Philipe who is also a cop were in pursuit of the stolen vehicle of the white couple. Instead of finding the car, the character of Dillon flagged down a vehicle of a black couple. Dillon insinuated that the driver was drunk so he asked him to do a sobriety test and he passed. The wife was the one who was drunk who made unnecessary comments that irritated Dillon. In retaliation, he frisked the girl because he had suspicions that she was carrying a weapon but his ulterior motive was to sexually molest her and humiliate her in front of her husband. Out of fear, the husband was not able to defend his wife making the wife greatly offended by the incident. These two instances showed how race, stereotype, and gender roles affect a person’s actions. Because of certain perceptions, like blacks are closely associated with crimes because these crimes are mostly committed by black people, white people tend to generalize.

This is called the false generalization. It is the act of associating or judging one person or thing by looking at a certain group or classification that the person or thing belongs to. Many are guilty of this kind of thinking. We have these preconceived notions that are inculcated in our consciousness wherein most of the time, it dominates our judgments and actions. As a consequence, people become insensitive and discriminatory. Also, people have the tendency to highlight the erroneous deeds and ignore commendable actions that intensify the act of stereotyping which results in a widespread negative public perception that is more often than not actuated to justify the biased judgment.

However, towards the end of the movie, a surprising twist occurred. The pugnacious socialite character of Sandra Bullock received help from her Mexican helper when she fell from the stairs. Her immediate family and friends did not come rushing to her aid when they heard about her accident. The least person that she thought would help her is the helper who she constantly bickered because of the helper’s inadequacies. Another unexpected scene is when the character of Dillon helped the black lady whom he sexually molested the previous night, from a car crash. At first, the black lady was apprehensive about Dillon rescuing her but she realized that he was the only one that can save him from a tragic death. These are examples when notions about racism, stereotyping and gender roles are disregarded. Through the movie, one can make a realization that people from different races and culture can live harmoniously as long as they set aside their biases. This not an impossible goal in a multicultural setting if everyone would just make an effort to get to know someone before making any assumption or hasty judgment.

The director, Paul Haggis, have successfully imparted the range and gravity of the effects of racism, stereotyping and gender roles in a multicultural society. It brings emotional trauma to the victim and his/her family and a permanent social stigma which is burdensome psychologically, economically and politically. He pointed out that these social conditions will persevere in a continuous cycle and everybody from both ends of the spectrum will suffer from its consequences. In these scenarios, everybody loses, nothing good is gain from it. Also, he illustrated that in reality white Americans are on the top of the pyramid of racial inequality followed by the black Americans, then the Hispanics or Latinos and at the bottom end were the Asians.

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