Text in Context Essay


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Crash Movie Review

Crash is a movie directed by Paul Haggis. The movie tells interlocking stories about people of various races and social class. It captures the people of Korean, Iranian, Latino and black origin. All the people are victims of racism even though they try to overcome it. Crash links stories that are based on accident and coincidence. This film focuses on racial and ethnic tensions and revolves around stories of criminal events around Los Angeles. The major theme that the movies manifests is that all people subscribe to stereotypes. These stereotypes are expressed in various forms through the interaction of people. The movie thwarts people’s systematic thinking on stereotypes by making viewers think about stereotyping. It allows viewers to assess their own attitudes and behaviors regarding race and ethnic relations.

The lives of its characters crush on each other. It features major characters such as Michael Pena, Shau Toub and Sandra Bullock that are of different races. When Don Cheadle (a black cop) has an affair with Jenniffer Esposito, he fails to know her country of origin apparently due to their different cultural backgrounds. Matt Dillon believes that Thandie Newton is white yet she is a black, light-skinned woman. The issue of color manifests in these episodes more so when a white producer tells Terrence Hiward (a black TV character) that “black is not black enough”. These characters have a tendency to perceive themselves across the lines of color. It becomes more evident when the white cop is unable to get his father medical care. The black woman at his HMO takes advantage of a preferential racial treatment.

The wife of the district attorney (Sandra Bullock) gets so afraid of an encounter with black people around the corner looking at her suspiciously that she changes her locks. She rides on the assumption that the locksmith will be back with homies to attack them. She grabs her husband’s hand and expresses her fear that the black men might steal from them. Meanwhile, Matt Dillon shows an impressive performance as the racist cop anguish over his father. He makes frequent stops when he thinks that Hiward and his wife are doing what they should not be doing while driving. The aspect of racism manifests greatly when he humiliates the woman with invasive body search. The cop makes the woman’s husband to stand aside in a powerless state because of the intimidating on their hands. Even though Tyan Phillippe loathes the conduct of Dillon, he has to put up with his behavior in the spirit of comradeship. The stop portrays Dillon as vindictive and full of hate.

However, his conduct is somewhat understandable given the humiliation he goes through in an attempt to seek medical redress for his father. The unspeakable disappointment that he savors in the presence of the HMO worker is an indication of continued racial bigotry that permeates the setting of this movie. He utilizes his powers to pay back for the bitterness that he has been caused. Unfortunately, he applies his abuse of power and the intimidating display of gun to innocent and undeserving people that are oblivious of his previous ordeal. An irony is inferred in Dillon’s display of bravado when he harasses the light-skinned woman in front of her husband instead of channeling that energy to find appropriate medical redress for his father. The movie then plunges into an ironic twist when Dillon and his colleague save the lives of the TV director and his wife on two different occasions. Despite his fabled display of racial exuberance, the cop saves the duo in a rare ironic twist.

Robert Heilbroner further entrenches the aspect of racism in his “Don’t Let Stereotypes Warp Your Judgments.” Robert criticizes stereotyping with the strongest terms by revealing truths behind the society’s perception of a person’s character. These perceptions are based on aspects such as their names, the color of their skin, how well they sound over the telephone and how great they look at pictures or even their genetic composition (Heilbroner, 43). For instance, the society may label someone to be clever by the mere fact that they wear glasses. But that may not be the case because people can wear glasses when they have eye-related problems. Both Haggis and Robert present the aspect of racism in a manner that raises concerns about the personal interrelations. Stereotyping is a bad gossip that makes people to prejudge others before taking their time to understand them. It is a great component of prejudice that looks at people in standardized pictures. Robert continues to write:

“Why is it that we stereotype the world in such irrational and harmful fashion? In part, we begin to typecast people in our childhood years…We only grow with standardized pictures forming inside us. But as grownups, we are constantly having them thrust upon us.” (Heilbroner, 44/45) Indeed, people tend to stereotype in a bid to make sense is a world that is highly confusing.

Without identities, people tend to show concern for each other. There seems to be mutual love and greater sense of affection when people do not seem to identify each other. However, when identities are exposed, the elements of color step in. As the movie advances towards the end, a hardworking detective finds a victim of murder. The victim is from the Black American origin. There had been involvement in shootouts that led to the death of the victim. The movie portrays officer as being biased and applies selective justice when dealing with the issue of race. Crash is a perfect mirror of the society. Societal vices such as racism continue to tinge every aspect of human lives. In the United States, there have been cases of biased criminal justice system. Police officers have been accused of arresting black law breakers and imposing heavy fines compared to their white counterparts.

Work Cited

Heilbroner, L. Robert, ‘Don’t let stereotypes warp your judgements’, Readers Digest, 6th June 1990, 45-47, Print.


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