Essay about Racism in films

Submitted By ShaneCarstensins
Words: 2006
Pages: 9

Shane Carstenisns
Paper 2: Stories People Tell

The movie Crash directed by Paul Haggis is one of my favorite films of all time. One of the issues in our society is that we to often categorize whites, blacks, Asians, Arabs, Latinos, etc, based upon their appearances. Racism is basically the assumption that a person’s behavior is influenced by their racial affiliation, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful. There are so many exceptions to racism using this assumption that it does not prove to be accurate. The film Crash shows how as a society, we are victims of this prejudice and shows we as a society separate ourselves through race. The main point of the movie is that people are blind to their racism; they think they’re not racist.
The film Crash occurs throughout a thirty-six hour period in Los Angeles. The wide variety of race in the city causes conflict and different racial acts. The stereotypes that are portrayed cause tension amongst everyone. The characters are a Caucasian district attorney, who uses race as a political card and his Caucasian wife, who has been recently carjacked by two black men. She believes that her stereotypical views of non-whites is justified and cannot be considered racism. Additionally, there are two black carjackers who use their race to their advantage and also as an excuse. The two police officers, who happen to be partners, play a big role as well and provide a dichotomy of integrity. One of them is a racist and uses his authority to harass non-whites, and the other hates his partner because of those racist views.

A black film director and his black wife, play an important role in the film. The black film director’s wife believes her husband doesn't support their black heritage enough, especially because of an incident he witnessed between her and the racist white cop. There are also two partnered police detectives; one a Hispanic female and the other a black male. They often face conflict due to their different political views solely based on the fact of their race. There is also an East Asian man who is run over but is hiding some valuable cargo in the back of his van, which happens to be Chinese people that he bought and plans to sell for a bigger profit. Additional characters include a Persian store owner, who feels he isn't getting satisfaction from American society because his store is constantly robbed. Lastly, a Hispanic locksmith plays an important role in the film. The locksmith just wants to keep his family, especially his young daughter, safe in the unsafe neighborhood they living in. The locksmith is often discriminated against and is confronted with many different adversities and stereotypes due to his Hispanic ethnicity.

The characters in the film are fundamentally racist even though they believe they are not. The main point of the movie is that people are blind to their racism; they think they’re not racist. This counter story takes place throughout the film. Paul Haggis is the award-winning filmmaker who wrote the original screenplay for Crash. He uses several overlapping story layers to portray the emotion behind the counter story. Most whites live in nearly all-white neighborhoods and see nothing racist in that and when blacks do complain of racism, most whites do not believe it; they think blacks are making a big deal out of nothing and they are being too sensitive.
There are many examples of counter stories used throughout the film. The characters in the movie are the ones responsible for portraying the racial counter stories. Matt Dillon's character in the film plays a big role and exhibits characteristics typical of a racist. Dillon,who has a close bond with his father throughout the film, believes he is racist because of his father. It turns out that his father was not racist towards black people. It was Dillon who, in combination with his father's negative experiences and his own as a member of the LAPD, formed