Crash displayed various aspects of racism and stereotypes that occur everyday. One of the three major scenes in the movie that stood out was when the two officers pull over a black couple. Obviously they’ve done nothing completely harmful, reckless or dangerous.
The leading officer claims the wife was performing falatio, while driving a vehicle, which could be a form of reckless driving and can be penalized for it. In fear of authority, and in all respect, the husband complies as polite as possible to the officers demands. While doing so, the officer is responding in the rudest manor.
He asks the officer if it’s okay to reach in the glove department for his paperwork and the officer replies with a very suspicious “yeah nice and slow”. Now on the other hand, the other officer takes no part in what goes on next because he knows what’s right and wrong, he’s deemed the “good” cop. The leading officer comes back to test him if he’s drunk and driving and he wasn’t. Complying with the officer once again, he did it. His wife, a little drunk, tries to explain in a firm manor that they’ve done nothing wrong and what he’s doing is wrong.
Feeling an undermining to his authority, he gets angry and as she gets out of the car to confront him he tells the couple to turn around and place their hands behind their heads. As he pats down his wife, he grabs her inappropriately and asks what should be done since what they’ve done can technically be seen as a crime. Coming back to complying to an authoritarian figure out of fear and recognition of authority, her husband had one of two choices; he either could’ve spoken up, done something about it and got arrested or kept quiet, let him do what he knew was wrong and be let off with just a warning.
Thinking that he would not win over an authority figure like the cop’s word, he didn’t say anything and let it happen. This situation brings up “The Authoritarian Personality” from one of the theories of prejudice in which the man complied to everything the officer asked for by just being or even just looking to be an authority figure. Also, the officer shows that intolerance and aggression as one would to those who don’t conform as well, as you would see in The Authoritarian Personality. There’s an automatic fear that comes to people when they think of the police.
It’s the fact that they’re given that title of an officer of the law that leaves you naive to think anything he does is ok and even though you know it’s wrong sometimes, you don’t have the courage to say it cause you’re not supposed to. It’s not the norm of society. The second scene is where two black men walk out of the restaurant and the first one is the one that blames everything bad possible on his misfortune of being black. He continues on to complain about how since he’s black he had to wait a lot longer than the white people that were there being served.
As he complained about what he didn’t get because he was black, his friend reminds him that he didn’t even want what he was complaining for and it’s not cause they’re both black. As his friend starts to make his case, he also reminds him that the waitress was indeed black and they weren’t racially prejudice. But he goes ahead anyways to continue blaming his skin color and that the waitress presumed that since they were dressed a certain way and talked a certain way they weren’t going to tip, so she waited a little longer to serve them.
These are all examples of “Frustration and Scapegoating” from one of the theories of prejudice. It shows his need to blame white people for his personal shortcomings and misfortunes, such as waiting a long time to be served and being looked at as a threatening figure in society. Although, he wasn’t going to tip anyways and he and his friend are car-jackers. It’s crazy and ironic how he’d think that. And if there was such a stereotype, then why not beat it.
To make it worse, he lived up to those same stereotypes and continued to blame other things. In the last scene, a middle eastern family man has a business which is his only source of income. From past experience and safety reasons he tells his, more educated and literate, American daughter to buy a gun for the store’s protection and his own. He orders a guy to come in and change the locks as well, but the problem happens to be the door and not the locks. He hires a technician to change the locks and he happens to be Hispanic.
The Hispanic technician is a father of a five year old girl that moved out of his old neighborhood for her safety and a better upbringing. A couple days after, the two get into a fight, in which the middle eastern store owner screams at him for not changing the locks meanwhile the door is the one that needs a replacement, as the technician tries to explain. As the argument sprouts, the technician just wants his money and wants to leave but the owner doesn’t pay him and in anger he leaves.
The next day the store gets torn apart, robbed and vandalized in all kinds of ways and now the store owner is left with nothing and his life is ruined. In anger and to gain vengeance, he takes the gun and directly assumes it was the lock technician that left in anger from the other day. As one of the theories of prejudice, selective perception, is portrayed here when he automatically assumes it was the Hispanic guy that talks a certain way and has visible eye-catching tattoos.
Coming to an immediate conclusion that it was him, he goes to his house and asks for his money for the store and fires the blank bullet exactly when his daughter came in between. Both were left in shock, to only find out that it was a blank bullet. He had no evidence that it was him but just because he was Hispanic and looked like he would do something like that, he came to a conclusion that it was him. Ironically, the guy was the nicest man and an incredible father and proved his selective perception wrong. Assuming is a root to a kind of prejudice as well and this scene was a great example.