The film Crash occurs in the city of Los Angeles and its theme focuses on the diverse population of the city. It emphasizes alienation amongst the cultural groups where any meaningful connection occurs only if the characters in the film ‘crash’ into each other. There is a surge of immigrant population that struggles with racism, stereotypical behavior, and alienation in addition to the social inequality. The movie focuses on the lives of several characters in urban America. All of the characters exemplify vast differences in demography like age, gender, and class. These include characters of African American, Persian, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, and Caucasian descent. The film depicts these characters as harboring prejudices from their impressions and individual beliefs toward each other as well as using stereotypes to define each other. The concepts and specific approach that helps explain this film is identifying the issue of class, age, and ethnicity and how it shapes the views and actions of three characters in the film. Anthony, a black male that fits to his stereotype as a gangster from the ghettos of L.A.; Cameron Thayer, a successful black man that is conflicted about his role and identity in modern day society based on his color and career, and Farhad, a Persian immigrant that has his own conceptions and prejudice towards any person of color due to his beliefs and habitus, the cumulative embodied experiences that are shaped by structural realities. This film has its characters already shaped or in the process of shaping their identity as they go through the stages of racial identity theorem as noted by Cross,” It is assumed that in a society where racial-group membership is emphasized… it is not surprising that this developmental process will unfold in different ways” (as cited in Tatum, 2010, p.9).
Anthony is a young, black male that lives in the “ghettos” of Los Angeles. He is involved in criminal activities such as robberies and car theft. Anthony’s view of the world he lives in is filtered through a series of prejudices and personal experiences he had gone through as a result of being an African American male living in a poverty-stricken area.. In his opening scene, he steps out of a diner and says, “Did you see any White people in there waiting an hour and thirty-two minutes for a plate of spaghetti?” and then goes on to complain about not getting any coffee, even though his friend said he did not ask nor does he like to drink coffee. This depicts his bitter attitude toward class relations and how he perceives himself as being treated unjustly because he is black. He further discriminates against the waitress for the poor service they both received and says, “You think Black women don’t think in stereotypes?” This emphasizes that he has categorized individuals based on their color and that he also uses stereotypes and racist beliefs to define people. Anthony then becomes furious when he sees a white woman (Bullock) clutch her husband’s arm (Fraser) tightly as they walk towards him and his African American friend, although she clutched him tightly as a sign of affection or intimacy rather than as a sign of fear. This part is most ironic since right after that he says, “She should have no reason to be scared” and then proceeds to rob her and her husband at gunpoint and then makes off with their vehicle. This scene shows him to be a very action oriented person, which perpetuates the stereotype that black men are aggressive and are always on the prowl. He further verifies his conformation through his action, the processes through which individuals comply with and accept the various schemas and resources that structure society (McMullin, 2010). While driving away with the stolen vehicle, Anthony is constantly talking about his cultural ‘beliefs’ about how the rest of the world is out to get his culture, when he himself is making no steps towards resistance, which is the processes through which