March 6, 2013
A Nation of Diversity
Despite the fact that America is a diverse nation, the existence of racial intolerance is evident. People are empowered to overcome such situation but some choose not to. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (King 46). Another Civil Rights leader, César Chávez, once said “Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures” (Cashill 234). In the film of producer Paul Haggis, Crash shows different characters, with different lifestyles, and different socioeconomic statuses and how they collide with one another.
Crash, written and directed by Paul Haggis, is a 2004 film about how in Los Angeles, during a two day period, people of a multi-ethnic background will track the unpredictable intersections and struggle to defeat their fears as they interweave in and out of each other’s lives. It depicts how African-American, Caucasians, Hispanics, and Asians collide in different times throughout the film. It differs from other films and has an impartial approach to the issue about racism. Rather than splitting the characters between offenders and victims only, the cast is shown as themselves being racists in diverse circumstances and conditions. Paul Haggis wrote this film after a life experience of his own – one night, coming home from an evening out with his wife, he was approached by two black men who took the his car keys and drove off on his new exotic car. Realizing they also had the keys to his house and his address, he called an afterhours locksmith to come and change all the locks at his house. Ten years later, he woke up in the middle of the night and remembered what had happened that night – no longer fearful or angry, but now curious; what were those two men like? What were their lives like before and after the carjacking? Did they think they were criminals? He realized he ought to write about this and made a film out of it, and then Crash was born. In one scene, Paul Haggis wrote a line for one of the characters that said:
It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something (Crash). Ryan Phillippe plays Tom Hansen, a white young idealistic police officer who does not like his current partner John Ryan, played by Matt Dillon – a white officer who is racist and hates blacks.