The collision between race, power, and greed doesn’t begin to explain the dynamic Paul Haggis directs with the 2004 Academy Award winning film Crash.The dynamic of serving as a law enforcement agent and being a white male is a double edged sword. On one end, the individual is responsible for protecting and serving those in their area. The other end is being historically in control of everything and privileged. This combination can lead some to perform unjust actions and Officer John Ryan is not an exception.
Officer Ryan’s prejudice toward other ethnic groups, leads him to assume that people usually act according to their ethnic group. Eventually, Officer Ryan comes to the realization that it is morally correct to treat people as individuals, not races.
The introduction of Officer Ryan, shows he doesn’t think “Shaniqua,” who he assumes is an African American, deserves to be manager. He assumes since she is black she earned her job not from merit but rather from affirmative action.
In later scenes, Ryan attempts to sympathize with Shaniqua, in person, to convince her how desperate he is for his father’s medication, but eventually is denied again. At this point, Officer Ryan begins to belittle her, stating the only reason she is sitting in that seat is that of her race and affirmative action that many other white people are far more qualified than she is. Officer Ryan even explains how his father suffered from affirmative action and was put out of business, when he never discriminated and would hire any hard worker.
Afterward, Shaniqua said she would have considered Ryan’s request if his father had been present but again, she denies him. Ryan leaves frustrated and denies the possibility that a black woman is capable of earning a supervisor position. Though it is unclear how Shaniqua earned her position, no one has the authority to degrade a person because of their race and ethnicity.
Later in the movie, Officer Ryan, an…