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Sociological Conflict in the Movie "crash"

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  3,122 Words (13 Pages)  •  7,477 Views

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The movie Crash (2005) is intended to be a microcosm of life in America in regards to equality. Set in Los Angeles, it probes social and cultural stereotypes, race and social biases, and the conflict that often ensues as a result. The blatant manner in which these sociological issues are revealed is often startling for the viewer, but the shocking nature is intentional in order to promote self examination and reflection. The movie is presented in the conflict perspective which according to Richard T. Schaefer (2009) "assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of tension between groups over power or the allocation of resources, including housing, money, access to services and political representation" (p. 14). Crash uses tension to advance the story line of each character forcing them into positions of conflict as well as dependence, and emphasizes the status of equality in America. In order to progress to a more equal society it is essential that Americans examine the biases presented in the movie Crash, especially those most often seen in modern society such as stereotyping, hate crimes, color blind racism and ethnocentrism.

Schaefer defines stereotypes as "unreliable generalizations about all members of a group that do not recognize individual differences within the group" (p. 139). The opening scene of the movie depicts a car crash involving two police detectives and an Asian woman. The stereotyping begins immediately when the Asian woman tells the police officer writing the traffic report that "Mexicans no know how to drive. She blake too fast!" (Haggis, 2005) A verbal struggle ensues between Ria the Latina police detective, who is driving and the Asian woman. Ria mocks her incorrect pronunciation of the word brake and her small stature. This is the first of many such conflicts. The Asian woman demonstrates that in her mind the stereotypical Latina is a Mexican who cannot drive. In another example of stereotyping, the District Attorney's White upper class wife, Jean, is certain that the Hispanic locksmith, Daniel, will sell her new keys to his gang member friends who will break into her home. Jean assumes that that all young Hispanic men with tattoos are gang members. Anthony is a young Black man in his twenties. He leaves a diner complaining that the White waitress didn't offer him coffee because he is Black, and she thought that he would not give her a good tip. Anthony's friend points out that he doesn't drink coffee, to no avail. Anthony is insistent that all White people are racist towards Black people. In a final example of stereotyping from the movie, Ria and her partner, Detective Graham Waters, are involved in a romantic relationship. Early in the movie they get into an argument and Waters refers to Ria as Mexican. After she explains to him that her mother is from El Salvador and her father from Puerto Rico, neither of which is in Mexico,


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