Societal expectations are certain standards that one should abide by in their lifetime to be considered to fit the characteristics specific to certain groups. When some individuals step out of that barricade of expectations they are looked upon differently and possibly discriminated against by their peers. Racial prejudice and sexism has been a focal point of discussion amongst world leaders and people alike. From the 1900s eras when women could not vote, slavery, the Civil Rights movement, to present day, people (especially minorities) have fought against such acts to ensure that their civil and human rights are being upheld. The adversities that were once prevalent and thriving during the Jim Crow era became less perceptible, but instead transitioned to individuals undermining minorities through prejudice and discrimination.
Being that the film, Crash, showed prejudice remarks toward a variety of minorities. The film demonstrates that racial prejudice is not a phenomenon specific to one ethnic or social group but instead focuses on various racial stereotypes, vexations toward various lifestyles, and social statuses. Sex, religion, ethnicity, and race; just a few classifications humans have used to differentiate each other since the beginning of structured civilization. These subgroups have grown in numbers to accommodate such peoples that may identify themselves differently. Overtime, as humans progressed, they established countries, states, laws, and governments to coincide with the influx population and ensure/govern stability amongst each other.
Stability included basic inalienable rights, some of which were not met for all people. For example, African Americans have been subject to prejudice prior to and after slavery. Theorists believe that this correlates to the downward spiral of the forward progression of our people. In the book, Group Conflict, Prejudice, and the Paradox of Contemporary Racial Attitudes, Lawerence Bobo explains that a shift in exclusionary barriers (prejudice) would “ensure full inclusion and participation; a shift, that is, from struggles over acquiring basic civil rights to struggles over actually redistributing educational, economic, political, and social resources.
” (Bobo, 1988)In different societal environments, there are different situations that are considered social norms, whether white or a minority the norm will vary. Characters in the film displayed what they thought to be abnormal, however it was not in a pleasant manner. Crash portrayed the exact prejudice that Lawrence Bobo spoke about in his book. The prejudices were mostly linked to stereotypes and assumptions inside one’s mindset. Jean, an affluent Caucasian woman in Crash, mentioned several stereotypes that she believed to be true. “And you could mention that we’d appreciate it if next time they didn’t send a gang member” (Crash).
Jean was referring to the Hispanic young man. She made that ignorant assumption because he was in fact Hispanic and had “prison tattoos” as she mentioned in the same scene in Crash. Racial stereotypes are not only administered by Caucasian and directed toward minorities in the movie Crash. The movie opened with an Asian American and Latin American woman exchanging racist remarks.
Kim Lee, the Asian American said several offensive slurs because the two women crashed into one another “accidently”. “Crazy Mexican! I call immigration on you! Look you do my car!” (Crash). Kim Lee said offensive things naturally without taking a second thought or considering the Latin American woman’s feelings. Racial stereotypes and prejudice ways seem to be taught and practiced to become as natural as they were displayed in the film.
There are many reasons as to how prejudice comes about. Sociologist Lincoln Quillian stated that “the predominant research on prejudice has focused on the relations between demographic” (Qullian, 1995). This is inciting that prejudice is based upon relations and interactions amongst individuals of different races. However, he then states “prejudice toward out-groups is based on collective threat. I propose that collective threat is a function of two factors: the numerical size of the subordinate group relative to the dominant group, and economic circumstances. ” (Quillian, 1995) This quote further expounds his theory that size and socioeconomic status of the dominant group are pertinent to the prejudice subjugation of minorities.
Within the movie crash, there has been discrimination toward the characters with regards to their socioeconomic status. The husband Cameron was pulled over while with his wife. That scene displayed racial prejudice, hence the race of both the police officers and the husband and wife. The wife mentioned their skin tones when she said “that’s what this is about isn’t it? You saw a white woman blowing a black man and that just drove your little cracker-ass crazy” (Crash). The husband Cameron is an affluent man but in that situation money did not save him from being treated the same as how a man without the same amount of money. The police officers noticed Cameron’s socioeconomic status by the vehicle he possessed.
At the same time, there are individual within the movie who were prejudice with motives from their economic status. The wealthy woman Jean spoke down toward her maid in several scenes because her maid was a minority and was not on the same status as her. Certain groups in the movie that were discriminated against seemed to have a trend. Whether rich and poor or black and white, the trends all look similar. One can argue that throughout the movie Crash there was prejudice and racist acts toward the same kind of people, or those who share certain characteristics.
Racial prejudice could be displayed as being specific to African Americans more than any other in the film. “You embarrass me, you embarrass yourself”(Crash). There was two African American men in a confrontation that rarely differed from one that would have taken place with a Caucasian individual. Also, there are situations and predicaments that blacks endure that others did not in the film.
When the character, Ryan was prejudice toward Shaniqua just by hearing her name: “What’s your name? “Shaniqua Johnson. ” “Big fucking surprise that is. ” (Crash). That situation was unique to blacks and did not happen to any other ethnic group. Most of the characters that were discriminated against were poor if they were not black.
“Now I discovered there are poor white people exploited by rich white people. I learned that all Jews are not rich. I discovered that all Negroes are not even the same economic class. While there were no Negro multimillionaires, there were many wealthy Negroes who made money by exploiting poor Negroes…” (Abbott,1991). This excerpt demonstrates that people become color blind when it comes to money. People of the same ethnic groups become enemies and are prejudice in regards to social status.
Challenging assumptions, I would refute that prejudice can vary based on the one administering the insults and disagreement with their choices. In conclusion, there was a variety of different circumstances and lifestyles that caused those who were in the movie to behave a certain way toward others. Characters in the movie eventually realized their actions while others remained ignorant. All the characters learned lessons whether due to their racial prejudice experiences or not. As the movie explored racial tensions and violence that was generated by the various characters in the film they all had their own circumstance or vexation that made them react how they did.