Discuss about the Critical Ethnic Awareness and Social Support.
The movie “Crash”(2004) incorporates the interaction of people from different ethnicities in the US. Paul Haggis, the movie director aims at highlighting the existing beliefs, assumptions, values and biases within these groups and the need to embrace each other. One of the taken-for-granted assumptions is the belief that African Americans are criminals and/or take part in criminal activities. In the movie, Peter-a Black is shot dead by Hansen who is a white cop because the later assumed that the Black was drawing a gun. Another bias seen in the movie is the assumption that Arabs and Persians are likely to be terrorists (Sreenivasan, 2015). This is seen where Farrad-a Persian American is called “Osama” by a gun store owner and escorted out by the security guard.
The Koran Chon Gui, a human trafficker is used to bring out the assumption that African Americans will always collaborate in a crime as long as they are paid(Turan, 2006). This is after Anthony, a Black is offered $500 for every Cambodian in the Korean’s van but instead refuses. Disgusted, Anthony lets them free in Chinatown part of Los Angeles. Jean Cabot brings out the mistrust between some whites and Hispanic Americans by assuming that Daniel, a Hispanic locksmith could make copies of their door keys and give them to his gang. She beliefs Hispanics are dangerous and members of gangs. The Persian, Farhad, believes that Hispanic Americans are “cheaters” despite Daniel showing him the need to repair the store-door frame. He assumes that Daniel was part of the gang that robbed his store, out of stereotypical assumptions.
The movie “Crash”(2004) presents different situations where a number of groups of people are oppressed by others in Los Angeles, despite them being not only American citizens but also right-holders to nondiscriminatory treatment. The first group that is oppressed include the Hispanics who are part of the minority groups in the US. Daniel a Hispanic locksmith is disturbed and annoyed after he overhears Jean Cabot, wife to the District Attorney say that he could give copies of their door keys to the “gang banger friends". The locksmith feels discriminated and leaves the keys in the Cabots’ kitchen as he goes.This brings out a -irrational assumption that Hispanics have gangs and cannot be trusted. In another incident where this stereotype on Hispanics appears is where Farhad insults Daniel and calls him a “cheater” after the later suggests the need to repair not only Farhad’s(Persian) lock but the door frame. Farhad goes to revenge against Daniel by shooting at his daughter Lara after the store was robbed and sprayed with racial graffiti. Hispanics are thus oppressed by society in the US as members of dangerous gangs.
Persians including Farhad and Dorri are also stereotyped and racially discriminated(Lai & Linda, 2013). According to the graffiti sprayed on their robbed store, the robbers assumed that they were “Arabs” and not Persians. At the gun store where Dorri and her father visit to purchase a gun, the owner calls Farrad “Osama” after an agreement on the cost of the gun and bullets. He orders Farrad to be taken out of the store and paints him as a terrorist. This shows the general social oppression of any Persian and/or Arab in the US by regarding them as potential terrorists (Lei & Linda, 2013). African Americans are also oppressed by the whites through stereotypical treatment. Ethnicity binds different groups together and the general behavior practiced by a certain group is distinct from that of others. Hansen, a white cop had a history of killing three African Americans because of his stereotypical assumptions. He shoots Peter in his car after thinking that he was drawing his gun while in reality he was getting the St. Christopher statue similar to that in Hansen’s car. The Black thought he had something in common with the white cop but instead was shocked to be shot at. This shows the reality of the assumption that Blacks are likely to be armed and dangerous gang members.
Another group that has been oppressed according to the movie includes the Cambodians. Choi Jin Gui, a Korean man ran over by Anthony and Peter was a human trafficker. He had kidnapped a number of Cambodians and thus locked them up in the rare of his white van. It is terrifying that the Cambodians spent the night locked up in the car involved in an accident and this shows how oppressed they were. While Anthony sets them free later in Chinatown, it is clear that this group is racially targeted by human traffickers.
Racial discrimination of African Americans in the US started way back in the early and mid-20th century. Colonialism which involved and spread racial discrimination brought about the long-term sociopolitical problems upon the African Americans. The colonialists shipped the African slaves to work on farms in Puerto Rico, Dominican Islands and the Carribean Islands. The later discrimination of Blacks as an inferior race with majority being unemployed and “unworthy” to share institutions with the whites, reflects the current society also depicted in the movie “Crash.” Jean Cabot’s harassment and hate for non-natives such as Daniel and Maria shows the effects of racial discrimination. Latino Americans and Puerto Ricans who moved to the US had different ways of assimilating into the native society(Schaefer, 2008). According to history, Puerto Ricans had priority treatment from the government ad were the first ones to be accorded citizenship in the US. However, the rest of the minority groups remained oppressed racially despite some of them fighting for the country in the two World Wars (James, 2010). This oppression led to adoption of for instance the Ebonics way of speaking among African Americans. In the movie Crash, a director wants to substitute an African American actor for not sounding frican American and using less rough language as expected. This reflects the perception of society on the behavior that only resulted from sociopolitical backgrounds.
Gun control legislation which is a political factor that has impacted on the social behavior in the US can also be related to the colonial period. The US constitution since the 19th Century allowed individuals to own guns for lawful self defence n(Wintemute, 2013). Even so, minority groups in the early and mid 20th Century were not considered citizens but disenfranchised slaves. Later, after the abolishment of slave trade and a change in the constitution that demanded equal treatment for all and a demand to end of racial discrimination some unemployed African American and Latino American youths resorted to being gang members(Vittes et al, 2013). These gangs were so common and robbed mainly the white Americans. This is reflected in the movie where Peter and Anthony have no plans to carjack an African American; Cameron. Cameron understands that they wanted to carjack him but he does not report them to the police because they are Blacks like him. Farhad purchases a gun to use for defence against continued robbing at his store. It is the same gun he uses to shoot a black bullet at Daniel, a Hispanic’s daughter. Thus, as shown in Bishop’s (2015), socio political factors have played a huge role in shaping the current society in metropolitan cities like Los Angeles.
In conclusion this review presents the sociopolitical beliefs and assumptions regarding different groups of people living in Los Angeles and by extension in the United States. The review presents different ways in which these beliefs affect the interaction of individuals in the society as presented by Haggis, the director of the movie “Crash 2004.” Apparently, the political and colonial impacts led to a type of behavior exhibited by some groups like African Americans. Even so, the movie shows that people need to “crash” into each other more so that the stereotypes, prejudice and racial discrimination come to an end.
Bishop, A. (2015). Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People, (second edition), Fernwood Publishing, Halifax.
Child, Ben (12 August 2015). "Paul Haggis: Crash didn't deserve best picture Oscar". The Guardian.
James, C. E. (2010). Seeing Ourselves: Exploring Race, Ethnicity and Culture, (fourth edition), Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc. Toronto.
Kim, Isok (2014). "The Role of Critical Ethnic Awareness and Social Support in the discrimination–depression Relationship among Asian Americans: Path Analysis". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 20 (1): 52–60.
Lai, Lei; Babcock, Linda C. (2013). "Asian Americans and Workplace Discrimination: The Interplay between Sex of Evaluators and the Perception of Social Skills". Journal of Organizational Behavior. 34 (3): 310–26.
Schaefer, Richard T. (ed.) (2008). Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society. Sage. pp. 898–902. ISBN 978-1-4129-2694-2.
Sreenivasan, Hari (20 June 2015). "FBI: Blacks most often targeted in hate crimes". PBS.
Turan, Kenneth (March 5, 2006). "Breaking no ground: Why 'Crash' won, why 'Brokeback' lost and how the Academy chose to play it safe". The Los Angeles Times.
Vittes, K. A., Vernick, J. S., & Webster, D. W. (2013). Legal status and source of offenders’ firearms in states with the least stringent criteria for gun ownership. Injury Prevention, 19(1), 26–31.
Wintemute, G. J. (2013). Frequency of and response to illegal activity related to commerce in firearms: Findings from the Firearms Licensee Survey. Injury Prevention. Advance online publication.
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