Crash Movie Analysis Social Psychology

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In the film Crash we are given a picture of all different kinds of social and multicultural differences, giving us an eye opening example of how these conducts and racisms affect our society. Two of the most obvious biases within the film are prejudice and stereotyping. These behaviors are viewed as thoughts and feelings that almost everyone has felt at some point.

In the first scene we meet a Muslim man, attempting to buy a gun. The store owner is a Caucasian male that has a negative attitude towards the customer because of his Muslim background.

The owner’s stereotypical feelings set off negative attitudes because of the bad feelings he had about the Muslim race; being immediately associated with the Al Qaeda terrorist group of 9/11. The negative attitude and hostility observed in this particular scene, is an example of prejudice.

Although it has always existed in humanity, most would assume it would have fizzled out by the 21st century because we are now better educated and informed in understanding that one group’s actions should not be stereotyped to the entire race. Unfortunately in this film, it does the complete opposite and shows our “stereotyping by appearance” attitude.

The Crash Movie Review

Crash was made to intentionally show biased prejudices against minorities. Latinos are shown to be gang bangers; for example the depiction of Daniel the locksmith (Michael Pena); the wife of the D.

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A Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) insists on having the locks changed when Daniel leaves as she believes he is a (gang banger, with prison tattoos). Blacks either become gun-toting criminals as Anthony (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and his side- kick Peter Waters (Larenz Tate) are depicted as or are righteous upper class characters such as Cameron (Terrance Howard.

Asians become greedy smugglers, and whites oversee this chaos with arrogance and bigotry. This is shown in the depiction of the two white police officers, Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) and Officer Tom Hansen (Ryan Phillippe). A more current representation is shown in the character of Farhad (Shaun Toub); Middle Easterners are depicted as stubborn, confused convenience store owners. Toub’s character may reflect the current Middle Eastern stereotype caused by the aftermath of 9/11.

This current representation is revealed when we see Farhad shoot a gun at a small child, many other guns are raised by characters of ethnic origin, but Farhad who is mistaken for being “Iraqi” (when he is actually Persian) is the only character to attempt murder. The only character that I believe shows us a true alternative to race negativity is the character of Daniel (Michael Pena). Daniel is mistaken to be a gang member because of his appearance (having a shaved head and “prison tattoos”) but he the movie then shows him in a more positive light as a father who is working hard to provide and protect his wife and young daughter.

The alternative stereotype of an African American is offered in “Crash” through the characters of Christine and Cameron. Educated, successful and well off African American citizens, however after an unwarranted police stop, Christine is enraged by her husband’s refusal to intervene when white cop Ryan takes frisking too far. She criticizes him for what she sees as a cowardly, he insists he acted the only way he could, that when a white man has power there is no way to win, so you do what you can to survive. This is a perfect example of the ‘White Privilege’ that we’ve discussed in class.

This exploitation of African Americans at the hand of white people would imply that racism is mostly institutional; however the thought behind the movie suggests that discrimination and racist attitudes are down to the people who enable it; for example Officer Ryan verbally abuses Shaniqua (Loretta Devine); a black case manager at an insurance company. She takes Ryan’s racism with dignity as he unloads his frustration with the insurance company’s rules about his father’s care onto her. She seems to be a more reasonable character in the film.

However this is short lived, in a key point at the end of the film. Shaniqua has a car crash were an Asian woman rear-ends Shaniqua’s car. She then emerges from her car shouting “don’t talk to me unless you speak American. ” The LAPD is represented by two characters and from two different perspectives. One perspective is from that of Officer Ryan. In contrast to his previous wrong doings, Ryan finds himself at the scene of a car crash where Christine the woman who he previously sexually attacked is in a life threatening situation.

Ryan now challenges his previous stereotype and puts his own life in danger to rescue Christine, even after she hysterically rejects his help. Hanson in contrast to Ryan is compassionate and idealistic. Hanson tries to prevent the incident between Officer Ryan and Christine and throughout the film he tries to uphold his morals, he is the character who is most committed to racial justice but unfortunately at the end of the movie Hanson’s fear defeats justice and he shoots an innocent African American man.

Officer Hanson later realizes that he holds a deep-rooted psychological racism within his consciousness; I believe Hanson is a good example of how many of “us” judge by appearances. As far as personal experience, living in Milwaukee, as a non-African American working at a runaway shelter for 75% African American teens makes it easier to have an insight into all kinds of prejudice and stereotypes within the African American society. After learning about this behavior and experiencing how segregation can really feel for some, it’s hard to not feel negatively judged by others when you don’t belong to the majority group.

I’ve also realized my own negative biases and stereotypes when I am part of the majority. Unfortunately, prejudice is not just an attitude that internal; it also impacts behavior. When our attitudes show negativity because of differences within people whether its skin color or culture; the result produced is usually discrimination and the social inequality caused by it. Therefore, we in our efforts to reduce prejudice need to take the social context into consideration when focusing on individuals’ attitudes.

The movie Crash illustrates the different points of view of people in our society; it gives us insights into the stereotypes we have developed within our society and around the world. It helps us to understand how such a small stereotype and negative attitude can really affect someone in several diverse ways. We need to learn to control prejudice and the stereotypes we hold against other groups, since these are our own attitudes and feelings that are learned and not innate we can teach ourselves to get rid of these negatives behaviors by not being judgmental and not having negative biases towards others.

The key to changing stereotypes and prejudice is the responsibility of us as individuals. Each of us needs to take a better look at the assumptions that we make about other people and ask ourselves where those assumptions come from. Are they based on facts or personal experiences with others? Are your assumptions formed by things you have heard from others? Learned from the TV or media? Learned in school or from parents? Is it likely that some of your negative images are wrong; at least for some people?

More often than not, the answer to that last question is likely to be “yes. ” Most groups have moderates and extremists, trying to get to know people as individuals instead of generalizing the whole group will trim down on the stereotypes you hold against others, and it is also likely to reduce the stereotypes others hold of us. On a day-to-day basis we will be faced with reactions; it is how we interpret the situation and our actions in response to those reactions that will shadow our perception of daily life.

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Crash Movie Analysis Social Psychology
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