Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction. Sociologists study these human societies and their interactions in order to develop theories of how human behavior is shaped by group life and how, in turn, group life is affected by individuals.
Directed by Paul Haggis in 2005, crash is a movie full of sociological issues such as race, social class, and gender. Crash makes us see how group life is affected by individuals and how human behavior is shaped by group life. I will now explore from sociological point of view that how this movie deals with race and gender point of view.
Issues of race and gender cause a group of strangers in Los Angeles to physically and emotionally collide in this drama. Graham a police detective whose brother is a street criminal, and it hurts him to know his mother cares more about his brother than him. Graham’s partner is Ria who’s also his girlfriend, though she has begun to bristle at his emotional distance, as well as his occasional insensitivity over the fact he’s African-American and she’s Hispanic. Rick is an L.A. district attorney whose wife, Jean, makes little secret of her fear and hatred of people unlike herself. Jean’s worst imaginings about people of color are confirmed when her SUV is carjacked by two African-American men — Chris Bridges, who dislikes white people as much as Jean hates blacks, and Peter who is more open minded. Cameron is a well-to-do African-American television producer with a beautiful wife, Christine While coming home from a party, They are pulled over by Officer Ryan, who subjects them to a humiliating interrogation while his new partner, Officer Hansen, looks on.
Daniel is a hard-working locksmith and dedicated father who discovers that his looks don’t lead many of his customers to trust him.
And lastly Farhad is a Middle Eastern shopkeeper who is so constantly threatened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that he decided he needs a gun to defend his family.
The main issue throughout the movie is racism and the perspectives on different cultures. The movie was set in L.A. and it’s started with a scene of an accident. They have given a culture mix of every nationality. The scene starts with the line “it’s the sense of touch…We miss…so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” The use of word “touch” suggests human connection. “Feel” conjures a sense of emotion. This line basically describes how everyone crashes into each other. And as movie begins it slowly shows how people have negative feelings towards each other.
I have mainly focused on two scenes which describes “racism” and “ethnocentrism”
In one scene, a black film director named Cameron is pulled over by a racist police officer named John Ryan. Cameron’s wife is with him, and soon begins antagonizing the officer and refusing to comply, even at Cameron’s repeated request. So they are checked for weapons. When Cameron responds without aggression as John frisks his wife in a sexually suggestive way, she perceives him as failing to protect her. She later accuses him of allowing her humiliation so the people he works with wouldn’t “read about [him in the paper] . . . and realize that . . . he’s actually black”.
In a scene at the film studio where Cameron directs, this does seem to be a fear of his, as he quietly agrees to make a scene more racially stereotypical. If Cameron had become unemployed due to losing his public reputation, he’d eventually fail in his provider role. So he is torn between two equally demanding roles, and this role strain is precipitated by the racial discrimination he encounters. A rift results between him and his wife. She is hurt that he didn’t protect her somehow. He is angry about her initial hostility towards the police officer, which he perceived as reckless. Then after her recklessness caused them trouble, she wounds his pride by making him feel inadequate. Their marriage seems in danger of falling apart.
At the accident scene, Ria (Jennifer Esposito), is involved in the accident. As she exits her vehicle, she approaches Kim Lee (Alexis Rhee), who is very upset and also involved in the accident. Kim, who is Asian, immediately makes a comment towards Ria about her being Mexican. Ria in return makes fun of the way Kim talks, due to Asians speech patterns. The sociological concept that is shown is ethnocentrism. Each one of the women is judging the other person’s culture by their own.
Crash is full of ethnocentrism.
An example already given was John Ryan and Cameron’s wife, who was enemies until he saw her visited by terror, pain, and imminent death, and felt the kinship that can only be felt by another being who shares the knowledge of those terrible things.
And in the few seconds between the moment the gun goes off in the Persian American shop owner’s hand and the moment the locksmith realizes his little girl is not hurt, the locksmith is transformed before the shop owner’s eyes. Where he once saw just a “thing” that creates trouble, he now sees a reflection of himself. In those seconds, the helpless girl clutched by her father becomes his own daughter, Dori. The howls and sobs coming from the locksmith echo in the shop owners very core, where he feels the gravity of such loss and grief. The locksmith, like him, fears nothing more than that harm or death should touch his daughter. Simultaneously, the shop owner sees his own potential for evil, a darkness so black that the sight of it makes his mind reel.
The most encompassing theme of the film is racism, and it deals with bluntly, honestly, and without reservation. That’s what crash is all about. It tells us as series of interlocking narratives that demonstrates the disintegration of moral values and common decency in all people. The film reveals the darker underbelly of society where everyone in it regardless of race or status, is capable of being defined by their stubborn fear and their hostility towards those that are different from them. The title of the film refers to the nature of human beings in how the lives of people that are polar opposites can collide or “crash” into one another’s own feelings of intolerance and prejudice. Therefore crash is one of the great psychological horror films about presumption and what a powerfully negative force it can be. So the dark side of human nature may either destroy us or lead us to mutual understanding and forgiveness of others.
The dark side of life, similarly, may be either a cause for utter despair or the holy ground on which we hold all things common. Regardless of our social class or physical characteristics, we all suffer feelings of helplessness, loneliness, alienation, and fear. We all must endure pain, sadness, uncertainty, loss, and death. It is these things that we most loathe which form the soil where we might grow the human connections that we so desperately need. In this soil, beautiful connections can grow quickly between people who otherwise would spend a lifetime only crashing destructively into each other.