If there is something that we all as people have in common are the prejudices we form towards other people. Although this might be viewed as completely depraved as well as unscrupulous, it is something that we have to live with in our day-to-day lives. The film, Crash, is based on this specific theme, giving a perfect analogy of the ways in which the human race handles issues pertaining to race. It tries to bring out the fact that although we might think that we may be dissimilar from other people, there is something that makes us common. This paper seeks to discuss theme of prejudice and racism. An in-depth look of three main characters will also bee done so that this theme can be fully explained. Finally, a conclusion shall be made as to whether prejudice and racism still are present within our society (Haggis, 2005).
The Prejudice Theme
The central theme that is found within the movie is quite clear. This goes to show us that everyone has a certain prejudice whether we would like to admit it or not. Prejudice, refers to a partiality, which causes you to have poor objective considerations regarding certain issues. From the time the film commences, the different stereotypes are seen. Having prejudices is not only limited to people of different races but also those of similar races. It is very important that we understand how these kinds of prejudices impact and affect our behavior as well as our actions.
Officer John Ryan
It is hard to understand why the characters still are biased against each other even though they know that it is very wrong to do so. Officer Ryan gives an answer to this, “You think you know who you are. You have no idea.” (Haggis, 2005). This statement was meant to bring out the idea that the person in question was inferior to him. Although in the beginning it is very hard to say that Ryan is prejudiced, the roots of racism begin to take hold of his life. Coupled with the ideas that his father harbored regarding black people, his prejudice only increased. This is observed when he verbally abuses a woman by the name of Shaniqua, mainly because of her ethnicity.
As far as the film goes, this is one of the most prejudicial characters. He steals for a living claiming that he would never steal from black people but rather, “People who deserve it”. The fact that he already categorizes people based on skin color is evidence of his ethnocentrism. We also see that he discriminates against his own people, because he considers those who ride the bus to be inferior.
This character also exemplifies the theme of the film. She displays, ethnocentrism, racism as well as prejudice towards other characters that are have different cultural backgrounds. This is very it evident in the interactions that she has. Her first encounter with members of a different culture, take place at street one night. These are two black men, going about their duties. She however assumes that the men intend to cause her harm. This leads her to turn around her diamond ring so that the precious stone is out of sight of the black men, who she thinks will end up mugging her. Her fears do happen, as the men attack her and her husband. This in turn causes a spiral effect, lead to an increase in her ethnocentrism. She therefore begins to consider all other cultures as being inferior to hers. This is mentality is latter translated into dislike towards her Hispanic maid, Maria.
Changing of Viewpoints
As the movie progresses, we see that these same characters begin having different viewpoints from those that they held before. An example of this, take place between Officer Ryan and Christine Thayer. Before, Ryan had this prejudice against Christine to the extent that he sexually assaults her. However, as the film progresses, he turns out to be her knight in shining armor and saves her in her time of distress. We also see Antony helping Koreans and taking the bus, two things he would never have done before. Another character, Jean comes to realize that, the only true friend she ever had was Maria. It is important that we know that although we may not intend to form stereotypes, circumstances and the society as a whole can dictate the cause of action that we choose to take.
Racism is still ever much Present
As the film ends, many of the characters have learnt important lessons on the issue of stereotyping and forming prejudices. However, some characters are yet to understand the depth of this matter. This is portrayed through the character Shaniqua who closes the movie by insulting a group of Chinese people saying, “Ahh! Oh my God! What the hell is wrong with you people? Uh-uh! Don’t talk to me unless you speak American!” (Haggis, 2005). This goes to show us that “ethnocentrism” exists and will continue to exist. Ethnocentrism refers to the tendency of a person to judge others exclusively on the personal standards that one has.
Crash has without a doubt had a definite impact to the audiences that have watched it. It shows us essentially the reason why prejudices take place. The main factors contributing to this include selfishness and the views that people have, where they feel that they are superior to their fellow people. In addition, it is used as an avenue for avenging past mistakes committed to them or to people of their race. It is necessary that we control the different prejudices and stereotypes we have towards each other. This is quote possible to accomplish as these attitudes are not innate and can therefore be discarded. It is therefore very important, that we acknowledge the effort that Crash has made to make the society better.
Haggis, Paul, Dir. Crash. Lions Gate Entertainment, 2005. Film.