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The movie Crash, created by Paul Haggis, demonstrates that a crashing of worlds may be the only way people can get rid of their prejudices and learn to accept people as people. Paul Haggis uses the communication and actions of his characters to illustrate the various racial stereotypes that are pre-assigned to each race in society. Stereotyping is a major issue in the world today, however, mostly in the United States. It is known as fixed impressions, exaggerated or preconceived ideas about particular social groups, usually based solely on physical appearance (The New York Company). Crash is a great example because it shows others stereotyping individuals in many ways. According to Schingel, it is the perfect analogy of how we as a human race deal with life, people and our own experiences. The movie, released in 2005, shows each character’s point of view, rather it be from an African-American, Caucasian, or a Latino. It follows each character throughout the movie to show how they live their daily lives.  Many of the elements carried by Haggis in this film are represented in extreme opposites. Haggis reveals the diverse roles in Crash relate to  the many races in America today. Each race is represented throughout the movie and shows the racial discrimination towards each other.  

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There are multiple characters in this film that are different in race, culture’s, and backgrounds. They are all connected in the movie somehow or another though. Haggis starts the movie by showing the last scene of the movie first. With this style, the audience focuses more on the important development of the story instead of the ending of it. Most of Haggis’s characters are delivered as both the victims and creators of the racism surrounding them. A love-hate relationship that is shown between the characters in the movie is what delivers the film’s sad tone. Another factor that contributes to the tone of the film is the type of music. The music in Crash is soft and slow, and much of the time the music is in a different language. The strongest example of the love-hate relationship is that of Officer Ryan (Matt Dillon) and Officer Hanson (Ryan Phillippe). Throughout the movie Officer Hanson is shown as the good, white, male police officer, and Officer Ryan is portrayed as the bad, white, male police officer. Officer Hanson is striving to steer clear of being racist and discriminatory. For example, in one scene Officer Ryan makes an unnecessary traffic stop of an African-American couple. Officer Ryan proceeds to humiliate the woman (Thandie Newton) with a full body search, while her husband (Terrance Howard) is forced to stand by powerless. In this scene we get several shots from the husband’s point of view, we see the assault of his wife from his position and perspective. These shots are considered point of view shots. By using his position of authority, Officer Ryan instills a sense of powerlessness into both the husband and wife. This scene creates a pure hate towards Officer Ryan. After this scene, the rest of the film builds its intensity with many more examples of racial scenarios.

Crash is known for having numerous examples of stereotypes. It shows characters stereotyping against all races, no matter what the condition may be. For instance, one illustration of label is with Sandra Bullock’s character. Her character is afraid of every race except Caucasian. In the movie Crash, she had a gun shoved to her head by two black men while they stole her car. Another case is when she pulls her husband aside and tells him that she wanted the new lock changed the next morning because she was afraid the Mexican male who was changing the lock would give his “homeys” a key. She states, “He is a gang-banger because of his shaved head, prison tattoos and his pants around his ass” (Schingel). However, she could not have been more wrong. Daniel, the locksmith, was actually a well-mannered family guy. Daniel, of course, is a sweet-natured husband and father struggling to get his family to a neighborhood where the gunfire doesn’t pop all night (Burr). What Sandra Bullock did to the locksmith was incorrect and spiteful in many ways. She judged a human being by the way they looked instead of who they were and that should never be done.

Further along in the film we see the same bigoted police officer and the same African-American woman, Christine. We see a car crash. Inside a flipped car is Christine. Haggis uses a reaction shot to show us Christine’s emotion of the accident. A reaction shot shows a character’s response to an event. The first responding officer is to the accident is Officer Ryan, the same man who molested this woman the night before. However, now the audience sees a change in both characters. Christine is no longer the mouthy assertive woman she was when she was pulled over. She is terrified, her life is in jeopardy, and the only person who can possibly save her is the one man she despises the most, Officer Ryan. In this scene Haggis uses identification, a process in which we empathize with a character. At first, she does not want his help, but when she realizes that her situation is growing more and more dangerous she has no choice but to accept his aid. What follows is a powerful scene. The officer asks permission to unbuckle her seatbelt which means that the two would have to make close contact. He is no longer the man we know from the previous scene, he is not looking at this woman as black but as a victim whom he needs to save. Even further fueling his drive to help her, as the situation becomes dangerous for him, is the memory of what he had done to her. He puts his life on the line for this woman, and with only seconds until the car explodes and kills them both, he frees this woman, whose life he has turned upside down, and saves both of their lives.

Having been made uncomfortable over the incident between Officer Ryan and Christine, the seemingly more liberal and understood Officer Hanson changes his partner. At this point, Officer Hanson seems compassionate and quiet, and through changing his partner he in a way compensates himself for staying silent during the incident. After hearing of his former partner’s move, Officer Ryan says to him “Just wait until you’ve been on the job a little longer. You think you know who you are? You have no idea.” This statement means that the more Officer Hanson is exposed to, the more hardened he will become. Of course this line foreshadows the future events to come. Both officers are faced with more difficulties and hardships, each dealing with some sort of racism and discrimination. In another scene, we are again confronted with two familiar characters. This time it is Officer Hanson and Christine’s husband, who is thoroughly disturbed by the incident with Ryan. In this scene, the husband is confronted by carjackers who he (Christine Husband) kidnaps and takes on a high speed chase. The chase ends when the man is confronted by the police officers, two of whom are Officer Hanson and his new partner. At this point, the man has a gun and is mentally not with it, and the situation seems as though it could turn into a nightmare in seconds. Officer Hanson reinforces the thought that he is a “good guy” by acting as a to the man so his partner and other police officers will let the man go. The man drives away with a new confidence, not fearing of white officers, and a new sense of self.

Later in the movie we (the audience) are riding in the car with Officer Hanson. He is off duty at this time. While he is driving he sees and African- American hitch hiker. Officer Hanson decide to pick up the man. While driving the man makes reference to the country music Officer Hanson is listening to. Officer Hanson thinks he is being made fun of and starts getting defensive. The African- American man and Officer Hanson start verbally fighting and then the African- American man reaches into his pocket. He is given the illusion that he is pulling a gun out, so this makes Officer Hanson pull his gun out and fire a shot. After being shot theAfrican-American pulls out a metal statue and Officer Hanson realizes he just killed a man that did not deserve to be killed. 

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