I selected the Hollywood film Crash for this task and had a pleasant time rewatching it. Even though I had already seen it, I derived immense enjoyment from revisiting this movie. Crash is an insightful film that delves into the deep message of racism, necessitating multiple viewings to fully grasp its significance. Throughout the film, different characters exhibit various manifestations of racism and partake in numerous discriminatory actions, emphasizing the pervasiveness of these problems. Stereotypes, oppression, and prejudice emerge as the primary themes explored in Crash.
The concept of stereotyping involves holding popular beliefs about specific individuals. In one scene from the movie, a locksmith is seen fixing Jean’s locks in her house. During an argument with her husband, Jean voices her suspicion that the locksmith will rob their house and give his keys to his “homeboys” as soon as he leaves. Jean’s reasoning stems from her knowledge that he is from a poor neighborhood and is of Spanish descent, causing her to categorize him as a thief like everyone else from his community. The second major theme in the movie is oppression, which refers to the exercise of authority or power in a cruel or unjust manner.
The movie portrays a powerful scene that highlights oppression. Specifically, a cop detains a prosperous African American couple and proceeds to physically search the woman. The husband is unable to intervene due to the fear of tarnishing his reputation. Despite the cop’s abuse of authority and criminal actions, his position prevents anyone from justifying the act. In addition, prejudice is introduced as the third theme, referring to the act of forming judgments or assumptions without sufficient knowledge.
In the movie, Jean and Fred, a white couple, are walking down the street together when Jean’s prejudice is exposed. Upon seeing two black individuals approaching on the sidewalk, she instinctively clings to her husband’s arm out of fear that they may harm or rob her. Despite having no prior acquaintance with these individuals, she automatically assumes they pose a threat.
Despite the various messages conveyed in the film, the director’s overall message is that racism exists within everyone, regardless of their ethnicity. It is crucial to recognize that individuals may not openly admit to their own racist inclinations, yet they manifest themselves in different ways. This applies irrespective of one’s race or cultural heritage. Additionally, some people may seem free from racism at first glance, but their true nature emerges when confronted with difficult circumstances.
The film Crash from Hollywood provides a nuanced portrayal of racism that can be challenging to comprehend. It delves into the lives and encounters of different individuals, shedding light on this intricate problem. Personally, I feel that the movie has influenced my understanding of racism. Although I haven’t frequently experienced it in my own life, witnessing specific scenes portrayed in the film left me profoundly saddened.
Understanding such events can be challenging for those who have limited exposure to them, even over a lifetime. I was raised in an affluent neighborhood where my father, a respected doctor, enjoyed great renown. Moreover, I was among the few black girls in a predominantly white school. While I did not directly encounter overt racism due to my family’s prosperity and my father’s occupation, upon contemplation, it becomes clear that societal judgments rooted in my social standing impacted every facet of my existence.
After contemplating the movie “Crash” and our class discussions on racism, I came to a significant realization. It was disheartening to acknowledge that people initially accepted me solely based on my resemblance to them. However, there was one scene towards the end of the film that had a profound effect on me: Officer Tom Hansen unintentionally shot a black man whom he had given a lift to, mistakenly thinking he was reaching for a weapon.
Experiencing this scene evoked intense emotions within me and left me with a profound sense of unease. What triggered such a strong reaction was the fact that, throughout the movie, the officer had been depicted as one of the truly virtuous individuals. However, in this climactic moment, he unexpectedly ends the life of an undeserving man. This unexpected turn shattered my optimism because he had been among the few who appeared to possess unwavering moral principles and actively pursued righteousness. It served as a stark reminder that reality can abruptly change, causing individuals to undergo a complete transformation.
Based on my personal experience, I would advise against screening this movie for a grade 8 class. It is doubtful that they would fully understand its intended message. Even as a university student, I had difficulty comprehending the movie’s meaning when I first watched it. Only after viewing it again did I truly grasp its purpose. In my opinion, grade 8 students would only have a superficial understanding of racism through this film, which could result in additional confusion.