Prejudice and Discrimination in "Crash"

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While the film “Crash” has several complex characters with storylines that all become interconnected in various ways, the movie is predominantly about how prejudice plays into people’s everyday lives and how such prejudice usually has negative implications. The characters in the film all had their own prejudices, or attitudes judging others in negative ways, which set the stage for discrimination, stereotypes, racism, and scapegoats. Thus, one can see how prejudice plays such a pivotal role in people’s relations with each other. As a result, it is best to analyze this film from a symbolic interactionism point of view by analyzing how the labels the characters encounter in this film affect their perception and in turn create prejudice (Henslin). One of the most obvious labels that characters dealt with in “Crash” were the labels based upon race. One of the best examples of how racial labels shaped the social environment is the way Daniel, a tattooed Hispanic locksmith, was treated by both Jean Cabot, a white woman who was also the District Attorney’s wife, and Farhad, a Persian small business owner. Both Jean and Farhad labeled Daniel as a Mexican. This label in turn led both Jean and Farhad to have selective perception towards Daniel. In Jean’s case, she perceived Daniel as a Mexican thug simply because he looked Latino and had tattoos. She ignored evidence of Daniel’s real identity of just a humble father and locksmith trying to support his family. She did not take notice of his polite and professional attitude nor his employment through a reputable company. All Jean saw when she looked at Daniel was a Mexican who was untrustworthy. Similarly, Farhad labeled Daniel as a Latino and thus also believed him to be untrustworthy... ... middle of paper ... ... All in all, the film “Crash” depicted how labels and stereotypes created prejudice that in turn lead to discrimination or racism (especially in respect to the film). In addition, it shows how people cope with the daily struggles of being faced with such prejudice and discrimination. In a sense, everyone seemed to be fighting for power either over others or over the stereotypes and discrimination they were confronted with. It would be reasonable to assume that all people want the power to achieve whatever they desire, yet the labels and statuses people occupy either serve as barriers or clear paths to performing their will. Works Cited Henslin, James M.. Essentials of Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach 8th Edition. New York, NY: Pearson, 2009. Print. Crash. Dir. Paul Haggis. Perf. Karina Arroyave, Dato Bakhtadze, Sandra Bullock. Lions Gate Films, 2004. DVD.

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