Crash – a Portrayal of Diversity or Stereotypes

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The film “Crash” attempts to address the diversity and stereotypes associated with different ethnicities by portraying characters from various backgrounds. For instance, Sandra Bullock plays a white female victim who displays prejudice against African American males. This is shown when she tightens her grip on her purse and clings to her husband’s arm upon encountering two African American men in her neighborhood. Ironically, later on, she becomes a victim of a car-jacking by the same young men.

The stereotypes depicted were that of a vulnerable white woman who constantly requires protection and the portrayal of all African American males as being thugs and criminals. The female victim fit the typical stereotype of an upper/upper-middle-class white woman, whose friends resembled herself, and whose only exposure to individuals of different races was through the hired assistance for household chores. Following the carjacking incident, her anger intensified her prejudice, leading her to express suspicions about the Latino locksmith possibly being associated with a gang and duplicating their house key to facilitate potential burglary by his acquaintances.

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The rapper Ludacris played a complex role in the movie “Crash” as an angry black man feeling trapped in a racially divided world. Regardless of his presentation, he believed he would always be seen as a threat or criminal. Regrettably, his character did become a criminal, reinforcing the stereotype that angered him – specifically, participating in carjacking a white woman. This CNN article acknowledges that stereotypes persist due to individuals perpetuating them (Schingel, 2006). The incident with the white woman may have reinforced Sandra Bullock’s character’s beliefs about minorities, negatively affecting law-abiding individuals from those communities. Another stereotype was portrayed through a conversation between a white police officer and an HMO representative regarding his father’s medical bill.

The film highlighted prejudice, racism, and stereotypes through the portrayal of a representative named “Shanequa” with a ‘black’ or ‘ghetto’ name. The character’s race was also cited as a reason why four supposedly more qualified white men were passed over for the job due to Affirmative Action. However, despite aiming to shed light on the negative consequences of these issues, the movie employed these stereotypes to convey its message.

For instance, there was a Persian shopkeeper who resembled an Arab and had limited proficiency in English language and comprehension. A conversation between a gun shop owner who was White American and the Persian shopkeeper exemplified the interplay of race and international relations within American society. Following the devastating events of 9/11, individuals exhibiting Muslim or Middle Eastern traits faced widespread hostility from all members of American society, including minority groups.

The incident at the gun shop revealed how many Americans are unfamiliar with neighboring countries and cultures. The impatience displayed by the gun shop owner, who referred to the shopkeeper as “Osama” during a conversation delayed by translation, highlighted his prejudice and lack of knowledge about Middle Eastern individuals. By generalizing them as terrorists, he reinforced the stereotype commonly held by xenophobic Americans – their unwillingness or inability to embrace people from other nations.

Despite its efforts to address the obvious and subtle stereotypes that may exist in society, the movie acknowledges that racism, bigotry, and prejudice will persist unless we actively engage in uncomfortable yet meaningful conversations. It emphasizes the importance of stepping out of our comfort zones to identify and discuss the underlying reasons for discrimination. Only then, as a society, can we come to recognize that regardless of our distinctions in appearance, location, language, or ethnicity, we ultimately share many similarities.

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

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