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Crash – a Portrayal of Diversity or Stereotypes

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    Because the characters in “Crash” portrayed a variety of ethnicities, the movie attempts to address the diversity represented in the American landscape and also the stereotypes connected to these ethnicities. There was the stereotype of the white female victim, played by Sandra Bullock. After already displaying her prejudice against African American males by holding her purse tighter and grabbing on to her husband’s arm when she encountered two of them in the streets of her neighborhood; she coincidentally was car-jacked by the same young men.

    The stereotypes portrayed were that of the white woman who is always in danger and needs to be protected and that all African American males are thugs and criminals. The female victim was the stereotypical, upper/ upper middle class white woman, whose friends look like herself and her only contact with people of other races was the help she has hired to do her housework. Her anger from the carjacking incident caused her to become more overt in her prejudice as she expressed her feelings about the Latino locksmith being a possible gang member and selling copies of her home key so that his friends could return to burglarize their home.

    The rapper Ludacris had a complex role. He played the angry black man who believed that he lived in a white versus black world, and that no matter how he was dressed or spoke, he would always be perceived as a threat and/ or criminal. Unfortunately, he was indeed a criminal, consequently perpetuating the stereotype that angered him; and was one of the men who had carjacked the white woman. A CNN article about the movie “Crash” accurately and eloquently states that, “Perhaps stereotypes like that have maintained their prevalence because there are so many people that perpetuate them. (Schingel, 2006). Bullock’s character may continue to believe the stereotypes of minorities that she has because of the incident she encountered, which is an unfortunate setback for the majority of minorities who are not criminals. Another stereotype was displayed by a white police officer who was attempting to obtain an exception from an HMO for his father’s medical bill. Unfortunately, his prejudice against African Americans was apparent with his comment about the name of the HMO representative while having a telephone conversation with her.

    This stereotype was on the subject of ‘black’ or ‘ghetto’ names. The name of the representative was “Shanequa”. The character also expressed sentiments that because the representative was black, she had taken the job from four other more qualified white men who did not get her job because of Affirmative Action. Although the movie was an attempt to show the negative outcomes of prejudice, racism and stereotypes, it used these stereotypes to convey this message.

    For example, there was a Persian shopkeeper, who looked Arab, and could not speak clear English or fully understand it. An exchange between a White American gun shop owner and the Persian shopkeeper was a prime example of not only race relations but international relations represented in American culture. After the tragic events of 9/11, citizens who possessed Muslim and or Middle Eastern characteristics came under great attack from all other Americans including minorities.

    It is apparent that Americans are unacquainted of other people in countries around them. When the gun shop owner called the shopkeeper, “Osama”, because he was getting impatient due to the time it took for the shopkeeper’s daughter to translate the conversation, he expressed his disdain and ignorance about Middle Eastern people by characterizing them all as terrorists. This situation used the stereotype that many xenophobic Americans have by showing the gun shop owner as unable or unwilling to accept people from other countries.

    Although the movie attempts to highlight the overt and subtle stereotypes that we as a society may be guilty of; racism, bigotry and prejudice will continue until we deliberately force ourselves to have uncomfortable but meaningful dialogue. We must be willing to be pulled out of our comfort zones to identify and discuss the root cause of our discrimination. Perhaps, as a society, we will then arrive at the conclusion that no matter what our differences; physical, geographical, language, ethnicity, we are very much alike. Works Cited

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    Crash – a Portrayal of Diversity or Stereotypes. (2018, Jan 28). Retrieved from

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