White People and Black Man

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Crash. It is the perfect analogy of how we as a human race deal with life, people and our own experiences. Physical characteristics and racial differences may be interpreted as two distinguishing traits that separate us. I think it’s what keeps us apart. That leaves several abstract questions that the film Crash illustrates. What are the origins of personal prejudice? Do individual experiences fuel standing stereotypes? Is it easier to perpetuate existing stereotypes because “things will never change? ” Can people battle internal struggles within their own ethnic group? What prohibits us from overcoming these prejudices? The writers of the Crash managed to extend my viewing experience beyond the 90 minute film, thus forcing me to analyze my own prejudices and racial stereotypes towards others. I always thought that racism occurred as a result of a person’s upbringing. If your parents were racist, there is a good chance that you will be a racist too. At first glance, Matt Dillon’s character exhibits characteristics typical of this theory. Dillon exhibited a close bond with his father and later, we discover the roots of his racism. I naively assumed that Dillon was absorbing external cues from his father regarding his attitudes towards black people. It turns out that his father was not racist towards black people. It was Dillon who, in combination with his father’s negative experiences and his own as a member of the LAPD, formed his own perceptions towards blacks. Another example of this occurred at the beginning of the film when the Persian family was attempting to purchase a gun. The clerk at the gun shop made a few blatantly racist comments about the perceptions of the customers. There were several references to the twin towers and planes. It didn’t matter that the two were Persian, not Arab. A reoccurring theme was that post 9/11, all Middle Eastern people became potential terrorists. It is amazing that people have the ability to interpret bad events and cast their own prejudices on different ethnic groups to mask their feeling of anger and frustration. Certain stereotypes have stood the test of time, no matter how many strides for racial equality have been made. Sandra Bullock’s character made the statement about the relationship between white and black people:  “If a hite woman sees two black men walking towards her and turns the other way, she’s a racist. Well I got scared and didn’t’ say anything, and the next thing I knew, I had a gun shoved in my head! ” Perhaps stereotypes like that have maintained their prevalence because there are so many people that perpetuate them. It is often believed that all young black men are destined to be thugs, criminals and drug dealers.

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