Paul Haggis created an excellent film that depicts stories of subtle racism showing through in today’s America. In his film, characters with different racial backgrounds collide with each other. He ingeniously titled his film “Crash” (2004).
I believe this movie is telling it’s audience that social stereotypes exist in just about all of us; social stereotypes in this movie typically are learned from specific incidents or collisions between people. An example of these collisions is shown with Thandie Newton’s character, a married black woman, and Matt Dillon’s character, an aggressive racist cop, at the beginning of the story. Upon witnessing a minor crime taking place between Newton’s character and her husband, Dillon’s character takes over-extreme action in dealing with the two. He goes overboard when “patting down” Newton for weapons while she can do nothing but keep her mouth shut because he is “the law.” Another example is when Sandra Bullock’s character and her newly racist ideals creates conflict between her husband when she decides the Hispanic locksmith, played by Michael Pena, is a gang member who will give extra keys to his “homeys” to break into their home. Pena obviously overhears and swallows his pride when he places the keys on the counter next to Bullock on his way out.
The scenes, characters, and the movie in general did seem realistic to me. Given it was set in the city of LA, I can see all this situations taking place there or any big city. Not that this would just occur in the city, but I do think some of the coincidences of people in conflict were a little too ‘coincidental.’ I image the moviemakers’ intentions were to uncover race issues in today’s social life.
In discussing “Crash” with a friend I consider more sheltered from the world than me (meaning been less places and from a smaller town than me), she thought that the movie was too artificial. She thought it was a little over-done. With my experiences, as I said before, I don’t think the issues were too artificial or over-done.
Stereotypes can be found in everyone, everywhere whether they are subtle or not. I have learned that this can come from lack of knowledge about a specific race. In cutting down on these stereotypes, it’s important that as we are young, we try to open our minds to new ethnic, racial, gender, and religious cultures. As we grew older, we become set in our ways and less likely to change.