Movie ″Crash″ and Race Relations

Movie ″Crash″ and Race Relations


            “Crash” a 2004 movie, was shot and produced in 2004 by director, producer and co-writer Paul Haggis. The film focused on ethnicity and racial tensions in the city of Los Angeles. It narrates a story that is built around a series of criminal activities around the city (Tucker, 2015). It also involves a racially dynamic mix of characters from different backgrounds around the world. The primary theme of the movie is that each person is entitled to ethnic and racial relations and are exposed to different dimensions as members of society interact daily. Moderators and critics have termed the moved as among the top films that try to portray the ethnicity and race relations in our society in a unique way. Others termed the movie as an eye opener to every viewer who gets to watch it. This is because after watching it the probability of individuals changing their perception towards ethnic relations is very high. I support that the film represents the racial relations that happen in American society today. Race relations in Los Angeles is a concern which needs advocacy as the movie “Crash” tried to portray some of the ways how it is practiced and how it affects individuals from different races.

Applicability of Race Relations in New York City

Race relations refer to the ways people from different racial backgrounds live together and the way they relate with each other (Elliott, 2017).  New York is a large city which has different people from different races and is expected to have a standard way of how they relate. The movie Crash focuses on the African American men and women, several Hispanic characters, a Persian family, and several Asians as part of the races present in Los Angeles. Several stereotypes are demonstrated in the film “Crash” such as the case of Farhad who was an Arab who went to buy a gun. The shop owner turned abusive and referred to him as Osama. This was to the reference of the 9/11 attack where a terrorist by the name Osama bombed the twin towers in America. The shop owner took a stereotype of that all Arabs are terrorists, and this is what led to him referring to Farhad as Osama (Tucker, 2015). I agree that this is what is happening in the streets of New York even today. Social relations between Americans and Arabs are that they live in fear amongst them. The police department and reporters in magazines like the New York Times have been affected by the syndrome too. Many bombings that have happened recently have been linked to the Arab community even when it is not the case.

Another case in the film was that of the Mexican who did not know how to drive (Tucker, 2015).  This was a case that was mainly aimed at the Mexicans as a race. The police assumed that because he was a Mexican, and stereotyped that he is not a legal citizen and did not know how to drive. Additionally, the man looked like an Arab, and assumptions from this were that he was Muslim extremist who was capable of causing violence using a rifle or a bomb. Although this stereotyping may not be valid, it reflects the way human beings think. People who are subscribed to stereotyping develop negative perceptions against different races, leading to them negatively treating others. The world has become a global village, and people in cities like New York and Los Angeles should find different ways that will help them to co-exist with each other. Stereotyping generally leads to some races to feel as if they are powerful than others. In most cases, victims of negative racial relations tend to feel underappreciated and develop a stereotype threat (Najdowski, Bottoms, & Goff, 2015).

Police departments in the cities also have been noted to have a different perception towards people from different races, for example, the African Americans. According to the movie “Crash,” Ryan who was a police officer molested Christine as her husband Cameron watched helplessly (Elliott, 2017).  They were later released as Cameron apologized to the first police officer while the second one was not happy with the actions of his colleagues. In the streets of New York and Los Angeles today, this is what the blacks are facing. Police officers tend to view the blacks as poor people and those that do not deserve to have a happy life. According to Najdowski, Bottoms, & Goff, (2015), they also associate them with a crime where many shootings have been a witness in the areas where the African Americans live. However not all police officers are brutal to the blacks as it was demonstrated in the film. Hansen who was the second police officer was not happy with the actions of his colleague molesting another person’s wife, and this showed that there is hope for a better co-existence between the white police and the blacks.


In a nutshell, it is very fundamental to determine the levels of negative race relations in society for a quicker and harmonious intervention to be made. To achieve this, the onus is to all members of the society to accept that the issue of negative racial relations and prejudice still exist today as demonstrated by the movie “Crash.”  Many countries and societies have made tremendous strides and steps towards the changing of the social norms like those of stereotyping a particular group of people. In New York and America as a whole the most targeted races are the African-Americans, Hispanics, and the Arabs. Many people tend to buy the idea demonstrated to them by stereotypic individuals, but it is high time this should change especially in the 21st century.







Elliott, M. (2017). Reflecting the Man: Gendering Race in Paul Haggis’s Crash. Canadian         Journal of Film Studies26(2), 117-133.

Najdowski, C. J., Bottoms, B. L., & Goff, P. A. (2015). Stereotype threat and racial differences      in citizens’ experiences of police encounters. Law and human behavior39(5), 463.

Tucker, K. (2015) “Accidents Will Happen.” Retrieved from