Film Crash Film Analysis

1178 Words5 Pages

Essentialism and non-essentialism views on race as represented in Paul Haggis’ film Crash.

“You couldn’t find a whiter, safer or better-lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys … and her reaction is blind fear” (Cheadle & Haggis, 2004). This quote is from the academy award-winning film Crash, by Paul Haggis. Haggis demonstrates both essentialist and non-essentialist concepts through his characters living in downtown Los Angeles. Crash follows various characters over a thirty-six hour period as their lives intertwine through a series of incidents, and how each individual deals with the racial tension that plagues the city. Haggis’ uses repetition to force the characters to ‘crash’ back into each other
…show more content…
John then advances himself onto the woman where he inappropriately gropes her. John displays evident essentialist thinking in this scene, specifically othering. John racially profiles the African American race by using language like, “you people” and “I can’t look at you [African American women] without thinking about the five or six more qualified white men that didn’t get your job” (Cheadle & Haggis, 2004). However later on John saves the same woman he groped after she is involved in a car accident. The scene shows John pulling the woman’s dress back over her legs as he reaches over her to undo her seat belt. This scene shows John in a different light, one where he pushes his prejudices aside and saves this woman regardless of her race. However, it is not evident if this suggests that his racial views have actually changed, but it does allow the audience to perhaps believe that he could be starting to re-think his essentialist views.

Stereotyping is commonly shown through the thirty-six hour period for character Anthony (Ludacris). His journey, like most of the characters, sees him start with extreme essentialist thinking. However, at the end, he starts to re-think his racist thoughts and develop a non-essentialist view of life. As opposed to the other characters, Anthony talks about stereotyping from the viewpoint of how he personally thinks all white Americans perceive African Americans. Talking with his friend, he complains that all white Americans refer to

More about Film Crash Film Analysis

Get Access