Crash: Racism and Real Racial Issues Essay
Intro to Sociology March 12, 2013 Crash: A Sociological Media Review In the movie, Crash, the sociological topic of race is the main component of the movie. Paul Haggis uses racial controversy and discrimination throughout, with the intent to display the social problems in our society. Nearly every comment said by each character carries some form of racial intent. Whether it is from the supposed good guys, the Los Angeles Police Officers, to the habitual criminals, each character delivers some form of racial stereotype.
Haggis portrays the racial stereotypes and tendencies in our society with traditional context and belief; however, he displays it in a more extreme manner, in terms of frequency, than many would deem accurate in our current society, as well as racial tendencies not always involving whites and other racial groups as typically perceived. Throughout the entirety of the movie, nearly every other sentence carries some form of racial slur or deep discrimination.
Within the first few minutes, Ria makes a comment on a stereotype towards Asian women regarding her height affecting her driving ability, as well as her accent causing her to say the word “Blake” instead of “brake”.
It is important to note here that Ria is of a Latino heritage, so Haggis is showing racism between two different races other than white, whereas often society views racism from only whites towards any other racial group.
However, do not discount the fact that racism from whites, as well as towards whites is displayed in the movie. One specific example comes from Police Officer John Ryan. Ryan is extremely hateful towards blacks for the vast majority of the movie. In one instance regarding the health of his father, Ryan is speaking to the supervisor at the clinic his father is attending.
He accuses her that the only reason she was working in the position that she was in, was due to her race, black, and that there were many more qualified people to take the position she had received but she only received it since she was a minority. With the first example portraying in a less traditional form of racism than typically seen in our society, two women dishing out racial slurs and stereotypes at one another, both of a nonwhite race, as compared to a white male being racist towards another race, in this case a back female.
Haggis does fairly well in his attempt at reflecting social reality. We hear more and more everyday about dirty cops, which we see on multiple occasions in Crash with Officer Ryan, and the brutality they inflict on those of other races, primarily whites versus blacks. In terms of the frequency and amount of racism between all races, based strictly off personal experience, Haggis goes to an extreme, and thus creates a social reality in his film.
Haggis used stereotypes to such an extent in the movie that at times it almost came across as fake. However, he was able to balance it with a few characters that just wanted to do the right thing. Daniel is an electrician who lives the right way, and seems to give everyone the benefit of the doubt even when he is not receiving it. He shows a tolerance of racial hate throughout the film from both the Persian storeowner and the District Attorney’s wife, and shows that there are great hearts in this world.
However, Officer Hanson started strong in his attempt, doing nearly all he could for Cameron to keep the other racist policemen back and keeping him safe, but he fell to the racist stereotypes in the end. While giving Peter a ride, he loses his cool and begins to shout out about how he thinks Peter is being racist towards him. When Peter reaches for his St. Christopher statue to show since Officer Hanson has one as well, Hanson immediately assumes he is reaching for a gun, grabs his, and shoots Peter dead.
Haggis used this scene to show that everyone can fall into the racist world we live in, even when trying to do right with his or her heart in the right place. All in all, Haggis was able to portray racial tension accurately. By giving a widespread display of it through all races, he helped show that racism does not always have to come from a white to another race. His extremist portrayal also helps to show the real racial issues our society faces, and that it takes a strong passionate heart to overcome them.