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The Movie “Crash” by Paul Haggis

Section I

There are two main characters in the movie Crash whose behavior can be considered to be a result of their acculturation. These are: Cameron Thayer (the black television director), and the Persian man’s daughter, Dorri. The TV director works in a white-dominated environment and he is so acculturated that he tends to speak and reason like the whites. For instance, he has to concur with a white crew member that a certain scene, in which a black actor utters his lines like a white man rather than using slang, has to be redone. Dorri learns to speak perfect English and adapt to American culture. This is revealed in her conversation with the gun store owner in the beginning of the film where she and her father acquire a gun to secure their space in the new environment.

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Section II

In several incidents, the film reveals the presence of racism and stereotyping. People of a certain race accord negative attributes to those individuals who are of a different race and often treat them as the ‘other’ throughout the film. For instance, in the very beginning of the film, the Persian man is confused for an Arab at the gun store by the white storekeeper who insults him and brands him as a terrorist simply because, to him, he appears like an Arab. In another instance, the white woman (Jean) and the Iranian man suspect the Mexican locksmith (Daniel) of being a gang member while he actually is a committed family man. The latter is clear from his fatherly character and his unique relationship with his young daughter. Just because he has a close shave and a tattoo, Jean concludes that he has been to prison and that he can conspire with his gang to come and rob them.

Section III

While some of the main characters in the film perfectly fit the descriptions given in the text, some fail to fit. This happens because some of the descriptions in the text about the different races are mainly shaped by many ethnic profiles that exist in the American society, which are not backed with empirical proof. For instance, while African American women are described as generally fat, it is not the case with Cameron’s wife (Kittler, Sucher, and Nelms 212). However, some eating habits, such as the preference of milk, are depicted in the text as a preference of the African American race. This is confirmed in the film when Detective Waters opens his mother’s fridge to find a can of milk, which is already stale.

Section IV

Despite the fact that many people in the modern American society cannot openly agree about being racist or holding stereotypes and prejudice, the film totally resonates with our daily social experiences. These experiences define the relationship between people of different races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. For instance, the rise of the anti- Muslim sentiments has been a result of the association of the religion to terrorism. In the film, the Persian is considered to be an Arab (Muslim) and he is declared to be a terrorist, which is actually not the case. The incident depicted in the film is a common scenario in the American society, especially after September 11th, when the attitude towards Muslims terribly changed.

Section V

The movie presents a realistic depiction of the social interactions between people from different ethnic backgrounds. As such, I can recommend it to those people who are willing to restructure these relations and make the society more cohesive and accommodative. The racial tensions that exist in the modern American society are faithfully captured in the film where individuals just crash with each other. For instance, it is clear that intolerance and racism are the greatest hindrances to the efforts of achieving a diverse society. Jean’s attitude towards the black men (Anthony and Peter) results in a carjacking that would have otherwise been avoided if she did not openly display her suspicion.


Kittler, Pamela, Sucher, Kathryn and Nelms, Marcia. Food and Culture (Sixth Edition). Belmont, CA: Wordsworth, 2012. Print.

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