Analysis of the Movie 'Crash' and Sociological Concepts Illustrated in It

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There was a scene when Jean, who didn’t hide how racist she was, falls down the steps. She had been bitter and mean towards her housekeeper Maria because she was Mexican. When no one would answer the phone and her best friend of 10 years refused to come to help her, Maria was the one to find Jean and take her to the hospital despite how Jean treated her. It was then that Jean realized that people outside of her race have a good heart. This was a depiction of ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the view that one's own culture is better than anyone else's culture. As a practice, it consists of evaluating other cultures from the perspective of one's own, and because Jean was White and rich, she passed judgment and thought she was better than everyone else. This was also displayed when Anthony found a van. When he took it to a chop shop to sell, they discovered the van was full of Thai and Cambodian slaves. The owner of the chop shop tried to buy them, but Anthony ended up taking the van and freeing the people chained in the back. He smiled after releasing them and drove away realizing that he had just opened up his heart and done something nice for a change. He seems like some sort of savior almost and as if not engaging in human trafficking redeems him in some way.

Sexism is discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping on the basis of gender, and is most often expressed toward girls and women. It has been characterized as the 'hatred of women' and 'entrenched prejudice against women'. Officer Dylan’s father was sick and having trouble going to the bathroom. So, what does he do? He takes his frustrations out on Shaniqua Johnson who was an insurance agent who refused to make an exception for Ryan’s father so that he could get his prostate checked. Her refusal sets Ryan off and his disdain for not just black people but for black women begin to take the stage. When he went into Shaniqua’s office and she still refused his requests, he said: “You know what I can't do? I can't look at you without thinking about the five or six more qualified white men who didn't get your job”. Which clearly was an attack on not just her race, but her gender as well. He couldn’t seem to fathom the fact that a black woman had control over the fate of his father’s health and she refused to help him.

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Criminal behavior is a specific form of deviance that involves the violation of rules that have been written into laws. Both Anthony and Peter exhibit this throughout the movie. They carjack Jean and her husband Rick and take their vehicle to a chop shop. They unsuccessfully try to carjack Cameron, they run a man over and flee the scene. Although Anthony and Peter know that what they do is wrong, the labeling theory begins to kick in here. It is the view of deviance according to which being labeled as a 'deviant' leads a person to engage in deviant behavior. Anthony is in some ways kind of a walking stereotype of the criminal Black man. But we get the sense that he's only doing what he thinks people expect him to do. He doesn't actually want to carjack Jean and Rick, for example. So, why does he do it? Partly because he sees the way they avoid him and expect him to do something bad to them. It's just like when he gets mad at his server and doesn't tip her; he's playing right into the racist, stereotypical expectations of those around him and accepting society’s perception and assumption of him. And Peter, well despite having a brother who is a successful police detective, he is a strike 3 felon who sees few was of opportunity by boosting cares, and also accepting society’s label as a hoodlum.

When Cameron and his wife get pulled over by Officer Dylan, he began to abuse his power. While Cameron wants Christine to shut up and submit to the white cop, she won't do it. Cameron says nothing while she is being groped, and he apologizes to the cop even though he did nothing wrong. Refusing to submit was a show of the importance of ethnic identity. Christine was able to identify the fact they Officer Dylan was harassing them the way he was because they were both black. She felt that by submitting to the Officer, she would be compromising who she was as a black woman. This was also shown when Dt. Waters kept referring to his girlfriend/partner, Dt. Rita, as a white woman and calling her Mexican. She got very upset and made sure to correct him and let him know how off he really was. She let him know that she was both Puerto Rican and El Salvadorian which were both nowhere near Mexican.

And last but not least the concept, political power was used when Rick Cabot becomes DA of LA. Political power is an authority held by a group within a society that allows for the administration of public resources and implement policies for society. Power may be acquired as a means of governmental direction or in opposition to a government group. Anthony and Peter steal Rick’s car and after the fact, the only thing that seems like a really big deal to him is how to use the carjacking to electoral advantage. He has to walk the political tightrope of actually doing good things for his Black constituents, while still appealing to white ones. He wants to limit the political damage that he believes could result from the racial overtones of the crime. He even tells his staff during the debriefing that “I need a picture of me pinning a medal on a fuck black man”. He is more concerned about his career than his wife.

All in all, ‘Crash’ is a movie full of sociological concepts. ‘Crash’ is a movie that makes us want to laugh and cry, sometimes at almost the same time. When we laugh, however, we must question the underlying sociological assumptions or concepts that make us laugh. Are we laughing at some of the racist jokes because of our own ethnocentrism? Are we failing to see the microaggressions directed at members of minority groups all the time? Are we as guilty as Jean Cabot at making our own realities our truths? Do we have beliefs about certain groups of people and essentially make them come true for ourselves? ‘Crash’ asks us to question all of these things and look at the world, the people around us, and the things that take place with a new view and a new set of eyes.

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Analysis of the Movie ‘Crash’ and Sociological Concepts Illustrated in It. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
“Analysis of the Movie ‘Crash’ and Sociological Concepts Illustrated in It.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
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Analysis of the Movie ‘Crash’ and Sociological Concepts Illustrated in It [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 Jul 14]. Available from:

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