Racial Profiling in the movie “Crash”
Here are a few clips that depict racial profiling from the movie Crash, by director Paul Haggis. The movie was released in 2004, and contains multiple story lines of families of different races and backgrounds–white, Latino, African-American, Muslim, Asian, etc. I feel that the general arch of this movie contextualizes the opposing sides of racial profiling in the United States. On its most basic level, the movie is about the six-degrees of separation for people, as it portrays the intersecting lives of multiple families. In the beginning of the movie, the majority of the characters are very racist, and seem to have little or no redeeming qualities. For example, Sandra Bullock’s character racially profiles two African-Americans who end up stealing her car at gunpoint, and she later profiles the Latino man who is fixing her house locks as a gangbanger. The Latino locksmith is actually a caring family man, who only wants to protect his young daughter from the evils of the world that she will grow up in. There is also a young, white cop, played by Ryan Phillippe, who seems to be above the inherent racism and sexism of his partner. However, by the end of the movie, most of the seemingly racist characters like Sandra Bullock have a redeeming quality, while the seemingly good character, like Ryan Phillippe, makes a horrible decision that centers on racial profiling, shooting an innocent and unarmed black man.
The movie seems to say that since racial profiling is so ingrained in our society, it will be hard to eradicate it entirely. As Phillippe’s shooting shows, even the people that don’t seem racist might have a moment of weakness, and sometimes that moment of weakness can have fatal consequences. Yet the movie can also be interpreted with a more positive tone. By the end, Sandra Bullock gains an appreciation for her Latino housemaid that she didn’t have before, and many of the other main characters who made seemed bad are able to redeem their past mistakes.
I would definitely recommend watching this movie if you haven’t already. Some of the blatant racism can be jarring the first time you watch it, but I think that it allows viewers to meditate deeply on pertinent race issues that have to be improved upon in the future.