Text in Context Essay


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Analysis of Crash Directed by Paul Haggis


The movie touches on the lives of different characters. Their lives cross paths in various ways. A series of criminal events becomes the hallmark of the film. These events involve the various characters in different story lines.

Sources of Stereotypes

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 and it perceives people in standardized pictures.


Theses aspects of stereotyping have far reaching implications. Ironically, the characters in this movie do not realize how beneficial they are to each other. Instead, they chose to look at each other’s negative side. Daniel becomes indispensible to the white couple (the District Attorney and his wife) when they call upon him to change the car locks. His relevance ceases immediately he finishes his work when the woman views him as just another black capable of carjacking. The film displays a crucial interdependence among these people regardless of their racial backgrounds.

The Role of the Film

The film emphasizes that human destiny is interconnected. It teaches that no matter how people perceive each other, they still need themselves in one way or another. Being black doesn’t imply a lesser being, for of it did, white characters in the movie would be changing their locks. The Chinese man would have fixed the lock to his door. The film emphasizes the power of oneness in an intelligent way.

The Main Theme of the play

The play is about stereotyping. Two black males of low social class involve in a planned carjacking of the District Attorney of Los Angeles. The wife of the District attorney grabs the arm of her husband in front of the black men. She disparages Daniel, the lower class Hispanic male that comes to her home to change the car locks after the carjacking event. She perceives Daniel as another black criminal that would sell the car keys to his gang friends. The wife of the District Attorney comes to this conclusion on the basis of Daniel’s color of the skin and the mere fact of hiss dressing.

The woman associates the dressing of Daniel (his baggy clothing and tattoos) to being black. The District Attorney finds himself in a dilemma when he has to either risk to lose the back vote by following up on the carjacking incident or risk the law and order vote when he fails to handle the mater. In order to gain appreciation from the black people, his office designs a plan. The plan involves asking a black detective to withhold evidence of shooting of black people by a white detective in a bid to protect his black brother from prosecution.

In a separate incidence, the aspect of stereotyping is displayed in a white male officer that utters negative comments about a black female HMO. The same officer is shown to conduct a pat down search for an upper-class female during traffic stops. While he runs his hands up her dress, the woman’s husband is under the control of another officer. Despite’s the woman’s facial display of discomfort with the exercise; the officer carries on touching her in manner that violates her dignity as a woman. This forceful act of sexual assault is a manifestation of the highest level of racial discrimination in this setting.

In fact, the woman refers to the officer’s act as “molestation.” In some stages in the film, there are some aspects of closeness between the molested woman and the harassing officer. This scene displays a dramatic turn of events. This interaction happens when two black men makes deliberate attempt to steal the officer’s car. His partner that holds the woman’s husband while she is being searched displays a rare show of morality when he questions the intentions of the other officer. However, his morality level apparently runs low when he kills the black male (Peter Wales) in what he terms a suspicious behavior.

Racism rears its ugly head in the episode involving a Persian man and his daughter. The safety of his family becomes his major concern when he tasks Daniel to fix the lock on the door to his business. Later, his business is broken into by thieves. Instead of confronting the threat of insecurity by seeking justice in the courts, he perceives this theft as a failure of Daniel to do a good job. He carries his gun and heads to Daniel’s home to confront him. In the same measure of racism, a Chinese man that is a member of a criminal gang is run over by a car that the two black males drive. His wife uses disparaging remarks towards other characters.

Influence of Racist Beliefs

This play demonstrates that racism has a major influence on the aspect of the people in this setting. The two officers at the traffic stops harass the black woman and her husband out of “we are us, they are them” stand point. They chose to betray the acceptable ethical standards in discharging the obligations of their offices by engaging in uncouth practices. The two black men of low social may be participating in crime from the premise that black people are disparaged. 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, 45). Both Haggis and Robert present the aspect of racism in a manner that raises concerns about the personal interrelations. 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.

Element of Satire

The director meant to satirize the issues that the society has been perpetrating over the years. He gives viewers an opportunity to step back and look at themselves from an objective perspective. However, critics have argued that Paul was more empathetic towards the white characters and exonerated them of their mistakes by giving excuses for their racist tendencies. Nevertheless, the movie ends as the characters wake up to their senses and realize that racism is wrong and that there is no need to distrust someone due to their race (Heilbroner, 46).


The movie mirrors today’s society. The director tries to show the folly of assuming that every stranger is out to harm others and that people from different races have nothing in common. In my opinion, Just like Heilbroner observed, stereotypes are not going to be uprooted from the society any time soon but it behooves every sensible person to avoid using them as a premises for judging others. A peaceful society can be nurtured if humanity recognizes the power of love and mutual co-existence.

Work Cited

Haggis, Paul. Crash. Universum Film, 2005.

Heilbroner, L. Robert, ‘Don’t let stereotypes warp your judgements’, Readers Digest, 6th June

1990, 45-47, Print.

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