"Crash": A Look At Race and Prejudice in America

Essay by persephone-springUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2006

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Crash is a complex and thought-provoking Lion's Gate film that takes a provocative, unflinching look at the intricacy of racial tolerance in contemporary America. Diving headlong into the diverse melting pot of Los Angeles, California, this compelling urban drama tracks the volatile intersections of a multi-ethnic cast of characters' struggles to overcome their fears as they careen in and out of one another's lives. The various characters include a White housewife and her district attorney husband; a Persian store owner, his wife and daughter; two police detectives who are also lovers, one African-American and the other Latina; an African-American television director and his wife; a Mexican locksmith; two young African-American car-jackers; a White rookie cop and his corrupt partner; and a middle-aged Korean couple. Crash boldly reminds us of the importance of tolerance as it ventures beyond color lines and uncovers the truth of our shared humanity.

In one of the movie's first scenes, Peter and Anthony, the car-jackers, have just left a nice Italian restaurant.

Anthony starts to complain about the lack of service and blames it on the fact that they are African-Americans. He contributes the lack of service to discrimination against minorities in a predominantly White restaurant. After he finishes his tirade about discrimination against African-Americans, he contradicts himself by blaming the lack of service instead on their waitress, who also happened to be African-American. Anthony claims that most Black women assume they know every Black man from the moment they meet them. He also says that she did not give them the service they expected because she believed in the stereotype that African-Americans do not tip. This is an example of the controversial term known as same-race racism. Same-race racism is when a person of a certain race discriminates against or stereotypes other members...