Race & Power in America: Analysis Paper #2
How Crash (2005) Addresses Modern Racism
The struggle minorities had to endure in order to achieving autonomy and equal rights in the American society. From the right to own land to the right to vote, and eventually the fall of the Jim Crow era, racism has seemingly taken the backseat. These accomplishments are definitive of what makes America the “land of freedom”, yet they have not fully infiltrated the collective whole of how race and ethnicities are viewed among American citizens. Despite the powerful positions minorities have obtained in relation to politics, the toxic American ideologies have started to change only recently. The practice of unjust accusations and punishments in the forms of hangings and beatings enforced by the law have been replaced as a source of wealth; a money-maker for the entertainment industry. We might not see confederate flags hung up at every corner of the street or signs blatantly separating public facilities between white people and colored people, but the unfair imprisonment of minorities along with their filing as criminals and a burden to "white upper-class" America is depicted in news platforms daily. As a result of the lack of diverse figures in the media, colored people have become the victims of an industry that relies on archaic ideas to benefit themselves. Crash, a 2005 film directed by Paul Haggis, acknowledges different forms of racism that seemingly have innocent intentions – and something people of color know all too well – but do more damage than we would imagine. Starting from the casting, the dialogue, as well as the backstory of each characters, the audience gets a taste of the effect of stereotypes, some of which they preserve.
Crash revolves around the racial and social tensions of each character in Los Angeles. What sets it apart from other films of its kind is how it approaches the issue of racism: rather than drawing a line between the victims and the offenders, Haggis puts an emphasis the prejudice of all the characters, giving the audience a different taste from the depiction of society they are used to seeing. Haggis breaks down the perception of “good” and “bad” guys by revealing that anyone can be a victim as well as a perpetrator of racism, whether or not they are conscious of their words. The movie addresses several instances of people making insensitive comments as a result of ignorance and lack of proper education. The first example is shown at the beginning of the movie, when two characters named Ria and Kim Lee exchange racially charged insults after a car accident. This type of behavior is more common than some may imagine; an alarming number of people cannot resolve an issue without resorting to using racial slurs and stereotyping as a means of winning the argument. Moments before the crash, Ria’s partner, Detective Graham Waters noted, “It's the sense of touch…You brush past people. People bump into you…We're always behind...