Crash Analysis Essay Sample

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  • Category: racism

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Introduction of TOPIC

Crash exposes viewers to clashes between social and cultural differences. This clash of differences is what sets Crash into motion. The movie Crash seems to aim for a realistic every day exposure of racial interactions. Crash focuses mainly on the racial interactions between two or more characters. These interaction are usually driven by some racial stereotype or prejudice. What makes Crash unique is that you get to see from both race perspectives on how these interactions come to be. Examining their actions and words, the characters in Crash often show a level of racism directed towards other actions.

The motives behind these actions that potray a level of racism is not completely known. These actions and words generate the underlying question of what level of racism display must the character show to be perceived as a racist. It is up to the viewer to determine whether a character is naturally racist or does the character become a racist as a response to racial event in their environment. To help facilitate a discussion around this question I would like to turn to the essay The Heart of Racism by J.L.A Garcia. This paper aims to perform a character analysis on Anthony and Jean from the movie Crash with the words of J.L.A Garcia in mind. To limit the discussion of this paper, I will only focus of what Garcia perceived view of what is a as racist instead of what Garcia’s opinion on why is racism wrong. The goal of this paper is to show Garcia’s belief that racism cannot exist without racial intent is misguided.

What is interesting about the movie Crash is that most characters in the movies go through a distinct change in the level of racism that they display. They either go from a low level to a high level such as officer Tom Hanson or from a high level to a low level like our characters Jean and Anthony. There is one very evident event that happens to each character where the change occurs. Unfortunately for Jean and Anthony, we do not know what pushed to towards the high level intitially. Staying within the scope of the movie as much as possible, I will navigate the interactions of both Jean and Anthony that could shed light that to the fact that their racial actions lack racial intentions. I would like to discuss a key scene from the beginning of Crash. Our character Anthony is walking down a street when he comes across a white couple walking in the opposite direction. The woman grabs closer to her significant other at the sight of a black man coming her way. Her responses enrages Anthony. Anthony subsequently robs the white couple at gun point. Who is the racist in this situation? Is it Jean, the white woman, who believes every black man is a danger threat?

Is it Anthony who just car jacked the car of a white couple? Garcia says it is possible for neither Jean or Anthony to be considered a racist. One might question how such clear level of racism directed towards another race could not be considered racist. According to Garcia: “At the individual level, it is in desires, wishes, intentions, and the like that racism fundamentally lies, not in actions or beliefs. Actions and beliefs are racist in virtue of their coming from racism in the desires, wishes, and intentions of individuals, not in virtue of their leading to these or other unde

sirable effects”(Garcia 11). This quote eloquently states that fundamental idea behind racism lies

in a person desires, wishes , and intentions instead of their actions or beliefs. Garcia believes that a person actions or beliefs could be reflective of his racial intentions. Simultaneously, Garcia leaves open the possibility that a racist act or belief could really not be racist if that person lacks racial intent or motive. Therefore, if we are able to show that both Jean and Anthony do lack racial intent we can by Garcia standards show that that character is not racist.

Jean is a very fiery character. Early on it appears that Jean is racist to every race that is not her own. Her incident with Anthony is not an isolated event where she shows her high level of racism. Jean has a Hispanic maid who treats her with nothing but respect. Even so Jean still finds the need to belittle the Hispanic maid with racial slander. Jean has a similar event with the Hispanic locksmith who is changing her locks. While it is clear that Jean actions are fill with racism we are not sure whether intent is racial or not. I would like to propose the idea that it is possible that Jeans racist actions are not filled with racial intent. It is very possible that Jean is just an very angry woman. Two things bring me to this conclusion. One, is that she admits to her friend that she is always angry. This makes it clear that she is very aware of her anger. Second, there seems to be no limit to who her anger is directed to. Jean’s anger is not just directed at other races. Jean directs her anger at anybody in social contact.

The interactions between her and two other people really caught my eye and made me think. The two people are her husband and a friend who we can assume is white. Jean’s outbursts towards those two is just as much as filled with anger as her outbursts directed towards other races. The difference is between the two types of outburst is that Jean outburst with her friend and husband is not filled with racial slander. This can be expected. No one wants to slander their own race. It could be said that Jean’s racial outbursts are just a part of her angry personality and are purely to make her feel better or release angry with no intent or desire to be racist to a certain racial group. If this true, according to Garcia, Jean is not a racist because her actions are not filled with racial intent. This is clearly a shortcoming in Garcia’s argument.

A similar claim could be extended for Anthony. It is very clear that Anthony is angry at the stereotypes put on the black race. It initially seems this is what motivates him to commit his crime that one may see as racially motivated. After robbing the white couple, Anthony is on his way to sell a van full of Asian immigrants when he runs over a china man. Anthony leaves the china man on the side of the road and goes to his planned destination without much concern. It could be said that the motive of Anthony crimes to get even with other races for laying stereotypes on his race.

It we look to see how could it be possible for Anthony to lack racial intent in his actions one could simply say that Anthony is just a low level criminal and the race of his victims is pure coincidence rather than intentional. What gives this claim life is the interaction between Cameron and Anthony. Anthony sees a black SUV and decides to rob it. He does not know what race the car belongs to. Anthony just knows he plans on taking it. Anthony is shocked to see a black man owns the SUV. Nevertheless that does not motivate him to abandon all robbery plans. The fact that Anthony is willing to rob his own race shows that the race of his prior was purely a coincidence and not intentional. If this idea is true, according to Garcia Anthony is not a racist because his actions are not motivated by racial desires. His actions are motived by criminal wants instead.

It is my personal opinion of the movie Crash that both Jean and Anthony
are racists. Garcia opinion of racial actions needing to be rooted in racial motives seems quite misguided towards me. To me there is no difference between misguided and unmotivated racial slander and intended slander. Even if there is no racial intent of an action an action or belief could very well still be racist. As for Anthony, I do not see race as what motivates his crime. To me, Anthony uses racial stereotypes as an excuse to be an criminal. I feel Anthony’s beliefs are indeed racial but his underlying motive to his beliefs are not racial. The real motive behind Anthony’s beliefs are so he can justify him being a low level criminal. Whether Anthony’s beliefs are actually authentic or not is another question. We can only guess whether Anthony actually hates white America or does he just hate it so he can be a criminal. Either way the fact that he has racial hate towards white America makes him racist no matter what his motive is.

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