Crash

Ever since starting this class I consistently think back to the movie Crash. I first saw Crash when I was a senior in high school and instantly it became one of my favorite movies. This movie is filled with racial stereotyping and prejudice. Not only does this movie display examples of the racism among black and white people, but also the racism among Latinos, Koreans, Iranians, the rich and poor, and so many more. What I found to be so attention grabbing about Crash was the fact that every single individual who was a victim of racism, was also guilty of racism. Each character in the movie Crash all hold assumptions of other groups of people that prevent them from seeing the person who is truly standing in front of them for who they actually are aside from their groups stereotype. Due to this, the audience watching Crash begins to see self-fulfilling prophecies being established and the storyline showing real-life racial stereotyping and prejudices occurring.

The scene in Crash that I sincerely believe I will never forget is the scene where the two black men are walking out of a restaurant and the one black man is going on a rampage about how poorly they were treated because they were black and how he doesn’t understand why the waitress did not offer them coffee multiple times, as she did for the other customers. The other black man interrupts his friend pointing out how they did not ask for coffee and how the waitress was also black. While all of this was happening, a wealthier looking white couple was walking along the same sidewalk as the two black men. When the white women saw the black men she automatically clenched the arm of her husband as they continued walking to their car. The black man points this act out to his friend and explains how she is being racist because she only did that because she saw two black men. Interestingly enough, the next move that comes out of these two black men is that once the couple is in their car, they run up to the car, hold guns to the couples head, and then steal the car from them.

This scene in particular always stuck with me because the entire conversation the black man is acknowledging racist acts and is pointing out to his friend why the white couple has no reason to be intimidated by them. But then, they hold guns to them and steal their car confirming why the woman was scared of them to begin with. The woman expected the two black men to act a certain way; therefore based on her behavior they expressed an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy and committed a crime. Multiple times in discussions, this scene, or just this movie in general has popped into my head. This scene popped into my head again in recent class discussions about aversive racism. Despite the one guy explaining that the women clutched onto her husband because she saw two black guys, the other one says that she only did that because she was cold. Which maybe was exactly what the woman thought she was doing as well, but really it was a racist act. If the woman did think she was clutching onto her husband because she was cold and not because the two men in front of her were black, does it still make doing the act ok? Also, after the one black man went on a rampage of racism, why would he then hold up guns to the couple and steal their car and confirm the biases that were being thought of them?

 

2 thoughts on “Crash

  1. This is another really interesting example of a microinvalidation, seen between Anthony and Peter. In this case, it is another black person playing off the impact of race and downplaying its role several different times in this scene. Peter said that they were not offered more coffee because they did not ask, not because they were black. Next he tried to convince Anthony that the woman clutched her husband because she was cold, not because she was scared of them since they were black. I find it really interesting that one black person is continually trying to play down racial claims of another black person. It makes me wonder why Anthony would be so convinced that these actions were racist and Peter saw them completely differently. Maybe Anthony grew up in a environment where racism was common and Anthony was raised in community that was more accepting of racial differences.

  2. I think the idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy is so interesting in this example. I also watched this movie and this scene was the most thought-provoking for me, too. Anthony (played by Ludacris) thought the waitress at the restaurant was discriminating against him because he is Black so he, in turn, did not tip the waitress because he thought the service was bad. The waitress will probably start to think that Anthony did not tip her well because he is Black, regardless of if she was actually treating him differently than the White customers because of his race. (The dynamics of internalization in this example are really interesting, too.) Although Anthony may technically have been perpetuating the very stereotype he despises, is it his job to change his behavior or make an effort to get rid of the stereotype? Or is it the “accuser’s” job to be conscious of the attributions they make against others based on race? I think Anthony has a right to be angry and his opinions are valid, but like the saying goes, it takes two to tango. I think, whether it’s fair or not, everyone will need to make an effort to stereotype less and create less self-fulfilling prophecies for progress to occur.

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