The Tragedy of Stereotypes



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In Paul Haggis’s movie Crash, the film revolves around a series of characters that experience life struggles. The characters that intrigued me the most are Officer John Ryan and Anthony. Each character had several issues they were facing in their personal life, but change for the better when given the opportunity. Officer Ryan was facing problems with his sick father’s illness, which is sympathizing. Throughout the story we find out that his father lost his job to some African Americans. In turn, this helped fuel his hatred and discrimination towards black people. Anthony, an African American man with a bad habit for seeking trouble also encounters some life changing situations. In the end both characters experience obstacles that change their views on race.

In the beginning of the movie, Officer John Ryan is perceived as arrogant, racist, and selfish. In one scene he confronts an African American secretary named Shaniqua Johnson on the phone trying to get help for his sick father. When denied the chance to get him help he hangs up on her when he hears her African American name, thinking she is of no use. In another scene Officer John has a degrading scene where he molests a married, black woman in front of her husband. This shows the audience that he had no respect for African Americans, male or female. Ironically, as the movie goes on he runs into the same woman he molested and saves her from a flaming car wreck. His guilt, value for human life, and experience with his job are the reasons he chooses to save her. This changed my perception of him because after all Officer John has been through, he is able to look past the stereotypes he has set towards black people.

In the beginning Crash Anthony, an African American character is seen as a hypocritical man who would steal from anybody but people of his color. He adds a certain aspect of humor to the movie in a scene where he criticizes all black men for being scary to society because people automatically see them as a threat, meanwhile carjacking a white couple. In another scene Anthony and his friend unknowingly attempt to carjack a black man’s car. This time the black man tries to fight back and they get chased by cops. Anthony is saved by this man, while Anthony is getting dropped off the black man says, “You embarrass me, you embarrass yourself.” I think this greatly affected Anthony’s choices. In a closing scene Anthony is given a choice weather to sell smuggled immigrants but chooses to free them instead. This shows the audience that he has learned from his mistakes.

Both Anthony and Officer John change for the better throughout the movie. They both put aside their differences when they had human being’s lives put into their hands. Anthony and Officer John made the right decisions when given the opportunity. This gives me hope, knowing that people still have morals although they have hate toward a certain race or individual. I’ve learned from this movie that people really can change for the better good. When Crash ends Shaniqua Johnson gets into a crash and begins to get frustrated at an Asian driver. This shows that no matter where you are the issue of stereotyping is always a struggle, but it is up to you weather you decide to change or ignore it.

Over all, racism and discrimination will continue to be an ongoing issue. As a human race, we have to revolutionize our way of interacting with each other. Because of the preconceived notions we have set in our subconscious toward those different from us, we have a stagnant mindset that can be detrimental in any growing environment. Human beings are agile; it is because of dogmatic societal stigmas that shape our minds into discriminating manners. We absorb information all throughout our lives. I believe that it is only when we work hard at creating a noticeable, evolutionary change will stereotyping finally be diminished. The World is filled with diverse and prosperous individuals. Human beings may be different culture wise and race wise but all life on this planet is and always will be equal.