Stereotypesare oversimplified opinions and ideas about certain groups of people,places or things. In the movie “crash,” there are stereotypesamong the people in the movie based on the racial differentiations.According to Schweinitz (4), movies that present stereotypes havetheir characters make decisions and form relations based on theirstereotyped perspective. The movie has a wide range ofcharacterizations that introduce various stereotypes based on theirmulti-racial believes and opinion of others and places. This paperseeks to explore the stereotypes in the film and examine how corrector wrong they are.
Rightfrom the beginning of the plot of the movie, the stereotype based onrace is explicitly seen as perpetrated by a gun shop owner. Farhad isa Persian owner of a shop who is accompanied by his daughter Dorri tobuy a gun at a gun store. However, there is an argument with thestore owner as they negotiate. It is at this point that the storeowner calls him “Osama” as a way to annoying him based on hisrace (Crash7).This is a direct stereotype against Farhad, who responds by declaringthat he is an American citizen. The argument leads to him beingordered by the store owner out of the premises, leaving the daughterto finish the gun purchase.
Atthe same time, the stereotype is prevalent in the crimes happening onthe other side of town. The stereotype is observed when Jean, a wifeof a local district attorney complains of being carjacked by some twoblack men. She views them as criminals, not mainly based on theircrime, but because they are black. At the same time, she does notlike Hispanic men, and cannot put up with an interaction with them.After their return home, they decide to change house locks, and hirea Hispanic man to change the locks. However, she complains that shehad to put up with so much that day, the black men and now aHispanic. According to Jean, the Hispanic man may share the houselock keys with his other Hispanic gang members.
Ina gun shooting drama that leaves a white detective wounded and ablack police officer dead, stereotype guides the opinion of thepeople. It is perceived that white officers are killing black menrepeatedly. This is the third killing of a black man by a whitepolice officer. The police conduct is also following a stereotype ofusing force when handling criminals or suspects. When two policemen,Ryan and Tom order a couple, Cameron and Christine to get out of thecar, Ryan becomes violent. He decides to manually handle Christine,who is argumentative and defies the orders. This type of stereotypeis shown to be wrong because not all police officers are violent, asTom is calm and patient with the couple.
Thereis a stereotype that men should protect their wives at all times andat any cost. This is the opinion that Christine portrays while shewas being manhandled by the policeman. While at home, Christineconfronts Cameron for not doing anything to protect her from theviolent policeman. However, the stereotype is presented as a wrongperception since the husband expressly explains to her that thepoliceman did the right thing. In addition, Cameron gets engaged andleaves the house.
Thestereotype of men handling women is further displayed when Ryan, thepolice officer visits Shaniqua, an insurance representative. Herequests Shaniqua to allow his father to be taken for a furthermedical checkup since he suspects that he might be having prostatecancer. However, when Shaniqua refuses, Ryan insults her and refersto her as an affirmative action hire. To respond to the insults, sheordered him out and has him escorted out of the office. Thisstereotype is presented to be a wrong opinion since the script writerdoes not allow Shaniqua to be intimidated by Ryan, either as a man oras a policeman.
Thestereotype of solving things through violence is portrayed by Farhad.Farhad is presented as a person who thinks this way, when he shootsat Daniel, who was replacing the lock at his shop. He revenges byattacking Daniel for not correctly fixing his defective lock. However, the stereotype is presented as a wrong way of handlingthings through his daughter, for the second time. This time, ithappens that the ammunition box that Dorri filled the gun with wasfull of blanks. On the side of Daniel, his daughter covers him as aprotector from the shooting.
Inthe movie, these stereotypes present themselves in term of personalperception as well as group ideology. While many stereotypes in thefilm are perpetrated individually, the ideologies behind them seem tospread across the characters. The spread of the stereotypical ideasis mostly based on the racial division. However, there are somecharacters who act in ways to correct the stereotypes and show thatthe stereotypes are wrong. In conclusion, the stereotypes in the filmare the drivers of the tensions, misperceptions, misjudgments andethnic interactions.
Crash.Dir. Haggis, Paul. Lionsgate, U.S, 2004. DVD
Schweinitz,J. (2013). Filmand Stereotype: A Challenge for Cinema and Theory.New York: Columbia University Press