The Movie Crash

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SLWK 3220: Crash – A Critical Analysis
Melissa Munro-Bernard
Dalhousie University The 2004 film, Crash, offers a unique commentary on racism in American society. In this film, racism does not have clear-cut victims and offenders; rather, the racially oppressed are also shown - in different contexts and situations - to themselves be perpetrators of discrimination and racially motivated biases and beliefs. This paper will highlight some of the taken-for-granted assumptions, biases and beliefs presented in this movie; use examples from the movie to demonstrate how a situation can be framed from multiple perspectives; and finally, consider the presentation of racism in this movie as situation in a broader socio-political framework. …show more content…

Two black men, Anthony and Peter, discuss racial stereotyping after noticing a white woman saw them and walked quickly in another direction. Anthony and Peter then carjack this woman, which creates conflicting feelings for the viewers. The two men angrily address the stereotype of black men being dangerous, especially in ‘white’ neighbourhoods, but then proceed to commit a crime and ostensibly ‘justify’ the white woman’s fear of them. Similar to the previous example, both sides in this scene described different feelings of fear. Being black males in a white neighbourhood caused Anthony and Peter to feel judged and apprehensive. On the other hand, for Jean, being an upper-class, white woman led to feelings of vulnerability and danger when confronted with the presence of black men in a white neighbourhood, based on ingrained notions of race and …show more content…

No characters are villainized for their beliefs; rather, just enough backstory is given to ‘explain away’ or rationalize their discriminatory actions. The message seems to be that everyone is ‘a little bit racist,’ which is no doubt comforting for some (particularly white people, who are less inclined to confront their own privilege and oppressive beliefs). Moreover, Crash focuses its social commentary almost exclusively on racism at the personal level (such as the individualistic experiences and roots of characters’ prejudiced attitudes) but does not delve into the entrenched historical and societal inequalities of that racism. Likewise, the move does little to challenge predominant notions of white privilege and the privileges and benefits that accrue from systemic

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