Social Psychology: an analysis of the film “Crash” by Paul Haggis
In the film entitled “Crash” by Paul Haggis, the producer present the daily American society as depicted in Los Angeles. In its holistic view, the movie shows the level of racial stereotypes in the society by showing the social interaction between the Latinos, the Blacks, the Iranians, the Whites, and the Indians (Haggis n.p). In effect, this makes the film an ideal tool of learning in the social psychology class. As the actor, Don Cheadle, asserts, the film shows the intensity of the racial stereotype with the expression that when an individual touches the other, they feel the touch (Haggis n.p). In particular, this implies a high degree of the stereotype and ethnical associations that create tensions within the groups. The realism of the movie is depicted by the presence of characters from different ethnic group forming a realistic presentation of the American society (Haggis n.p). While racism is an old problem in the human society, the film depicts its use as a tool of crime in Los Angeles and emphasizes the prevalence of racism in the contemporary society.
Prejudice has led the world into a stereotyping perspective that force, individual to prejudge assumptions about people of different ethnic or racial groups. In the film, Haggis depicts the extent of these practices through the characters who suspect those of a different race. Specifically, Sandra Bullock, the District Attorney’s wife, is presented as a racist when he sees two black men (Haggis n.p). As Heilbroner confirms, the Black community is highly associated with crime and violence (Heilbroner 43). However, the prejudice in a certain community shapes their actions as seen with the two Black men who eventually steal from the Attorney. In reality, social stereotype affects individual actions and shape their personality because it exceeds its facial image to have an impact on the socialization process.
Social stereotype based on racist assertions hinders individual’s reasoning and their ability to examine the truth of a matter. Unfortunately, this is prevalent in the film as seen when the police officer Matt Dillion believes that Thandie Newton is White despite her being of an African origin (Haggis n.p). Specifically, this is because of her light skin that becomes her basis of a hash check under the racist officer. To confirm these assertions, Heilbroner says that through typecasting the world, our vision is impaired as we see people in terms of our standardized pictures (Heilbroner 45). Therefore, this implies that the human society propagates the manifestation of the racist views. In the film, the producer tells Terrence Howard, “Black is not Black enough.” Specifically, this is the propagation of the stereotype associated with the black community, as being of an African American origin is not good enough to act in that capacity if one does not portray the stereotypical Blackman.
Social stereotype is rooted in the society to an extent of advisory ignorance. Specifically, this means that one community stereotypes, another so much to the extent of not following any advice given by individuals of that community. In the film, Haggis demonstrates the extent of prejudice and stereotype through the Hispanic locksmith (Haggis n.p). When the locksmith advice the Iranian to replace the door in order to enhance security, he dismisses the advice on the racist background. Later on, after the shop was broken into, the Iranian suspects the Hispanic Locksmith for being the mastermind behind the break in. Unfortunately, this shows the negative impact of racial or ethnic prejudice on the safety of the society and individuals.
Racial prejudice exceeds the social context to manifest in the justice system. In the film, Haggis depicts murder as a stereotyped crime with individuals from a certain community being prone to the accusation and arrests. Specifically, the African American community falls on the disadvantaged side as seen when police officers kill them without fear of legal actions. In effect, this shows the level of police bias based on racial stereotypes (Haggis n.p).
In the article “Don’t Let Stereotypes Warp Your Judgments” by Robert Heilbroner, he addresses stereotypes as a form of laziness created through historical exposure. Founded through prejudice, stereotype becomes an essential tool in discrimination as well as forming unfounded prejudgments. According to Heilbroner (43), stereotypical perceptions are founded on aspects such as names, skin color, genetic composition and accents as expressed through telephone communication. Although these factors are physical, they should be measures to address the social problem with racism so that the practice can be discouraged and eradicated.
As observed, Crash is a film that depicts the intensity of racial stereotype and discourages the practice. Through socialization, individuals learn the stereotypical practices and prejudice against those of a different community. In effect, this leads to social disintegration and ethnic fear that propagate violence and disturbs social harmony (Haggis n.p). Specifically, the mental laziness created by stereotypical upbringings hinder personal reasoning and, therefore, acts as a confined within the boundaries of racism, prejudice and discrimination. In that accord, the film stands out as an ideal mirror reflection of the modern American society. Nonetheless, the need for the eradication of such social vices such as racism and stereotype is indispensable. Therefore, every member of the society has a mandate to fight the vice.
Crash. Dir. Paul Haggis. Lions Gate Film, 2004. Film.
Heilbroner, L. Robert, ‘Don’t let stereotypes warp your judgments’, Readers Digest, 6th June
1990, 45-47, Print.