Monday, October 09, 2006


For those of you that have watched Crash (and if you haven't, you will), I simply ask for your reaction...

How does this movie relate to Perception and Ethics? (or TOK in general)
What questions does Haggis (director) wish his audience to ask of themselves?
What message did you get from the movie?
What is your overall personal reaction?

Answer any, all, or none.

Try to go beyond...
"Racism is bad" and "Don't judge a book by its cover".


Vvyynn said...

Well I think racism is bad and we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

We all knew that was coming, I decided to put it away right away. So...questions. Unfortunately I wasn't able to watch this movie in regards to acting, film angles, etc. because I was paying attention to the role of perception in the film and it's relation to TOK. However, I found the film enjoyable, and not nearly as disturbing as I thought it would be.
So, relationship to TOK. Well, I'll first begin with perception in the movie itself. Each character of the movie has a certain viewpoint on other characters, bad example "Black people are thugs". This idea has been perpetuated by their perception: They see movies where Black people are thugs, thus black people must be thugs. They read about violent gang crimes every day: Black people are thugs. Not only this, but they process the information given to them (via the televised news, the newpaper, movies, etc.) to justify this belief that was put into their heads long ago (either by a parent or a disney film).
From here, perception in the movie extends outward toward the audience. We are given these character: The racist cop, the "good" cop, the two thugs, the DA, the detective, the TV show producer, The Persian shopkeeper, etc. At the begining of the movie, we set these characters into positions, based on our previous experience in movies (suspenful music is playing when we see him, he must be evil. Or, in the case of most blacks in movies before 1977: That man is black, therefore he must be pure evil or the comic relief). Thus we say: The racist cop is the villain. However, as the movie progresses (sorry to ruin it for those of you who haven't seen it, but you can still quit reading) we find out that, no, the racist cop is not the villain; most every character in the movie could be considered a villain in some way or another. The racist cop is simply acting out his perception, as is the persian shokeeper.

So, I hope I've either explained the role of perception in the movie, terribly confused you, or all three.

N Dauth said...

I first watched Crash about three months ago with my grandpa and aunt. Instead of discussing my reaction, I would like to tell about theirs. From the start, I could tell they were feeling fidgety with he topics; racism, sexuality, vulgarity, etc. I was afraid that they were going to walk out on me when the lines of the characters became purely swear words. They did sit through the entire movie, but probably against their will, which was confirmed when they discussed how “awful” of a choice the movie was. I can’t help but feel that the meaning of the movie was completely overlooked because of the diction and context. But then again, isn’t it the diction and context that make it more meaningful?

All that I wanted to say in posting this, is that not everyone who watches Crash walks away with a stronger awareness about these class/racial/gender issues.

I haven’t told either of them that were “studying” Crash in class yet. But when I do I’ll probably get some more insight on why they reacted so negatively.

chelser said...

What I found fascinating was that each of the groups in this movie fit some stereotype or another. They were orginally that way (the two black men at the beginning of the movie) or they became that way because of a certain order of events. What this movie did, which makes it so great, was put each of these racial groups in their certain kind of stereotype and made the onlooker view certain consequences of the characters' choices

Wolf Man Jack said...

My own perception of the "theme" is that: Yes, we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but we do, and will, and we cant stop it. So we may as well get used to the fact we do, and try to limit the harm that comes from it.
The only way to do this, is to realize that the distinctions aren't based on race at all, it's class. We just chalk it up to race because that is easier, and society loves scapegoats.

Katherine said...

i really enjoyed the movie although it plays on some pretty common stereotypes that could be a bit predictable.

I think the movie does an excellent job of showing more than one side to every issue that comes up.
For example, it illustrates how stereotypes must come from somewhere (i would argue that most have some base in truth). this is shown when ludacris, after complaining about being stereotyped as a thug, hijacks sandra bullock's car. He is feeding into and perpetuating his own stereotype and discrediting himself all at the same time.

however, Cameron, the black TV director, does not fit this thug stereotype; he is wealthy and successful and does not steal. when ludacris attempts to hijack cameron's car cameron tells him "you embarrass me. you embarrass yourself."
I thought this showed really well that you cannot judge a person based on stereotypes but that they undeniably come from somewhere and are perpetuated by some people, and even if these people are the minority they have the power to affect the opinion of an entire society.

A. Koss said...

People are always saying that stereotypes are bad, untrue, hurtful-- always. However, I would like to ask this question: if stereotypes aren't true, where do they come from in the first place? While clearly not all individuals in a certain group fit a stereotype, some or many of them must or else we wouldn't have stereotypes. Any responses?

kchristman said...

Crash captures the fears and perhaps hesitations that people have about others that simply are not communicated in society because people begin to be afraid of the ways others will percieve them. In my mind this fear escalates to affect everybody and I really appreciated how the movie showed a span of races and incorporated the way both genders interpet different situations. However, I cant help but ask the question to what extent is this movie going to change people? Yes I agree that it is eye opening and will challenge people to become more aware of the prejudice issue, but when it boils down to it, individuals change themselves, so will the film have a snowball affect or just shake off a few leaves?

Vvyynn said...

Well A and kchristman, I have something to say to your posts (Me? Posting? HOW DIFFERENT!).
1: Stereotypes are created by popular culture. This popular culture is created by peoples perception. Case in point: The stereotype (hopefully now long since gone) that black people are idiots who can't comprehend the masterfulness that is the white protestant male. This stereotype was created by us, the white people, in order to make us feel better and justify our actions toward the black people (i.e enslaving them, taking them away from their homeland, brainwashing them, raping them, etc.). This stereotype was perpetuated by mass media, through newspapers, essays, and later through movies and diseny shows (remember Jim Crow the disney character? That should speak for itself). Thus, since this is constantly being bombarded at us, we take this falsity and create it into our own little truth. And that's when the KKK comes in.
2: Do I think that this movie will do anything? Well, me the pessimist (whom I usually listen to) says "No, People are complete idiots, and they won't take this film seriously, They'll simply say 'well, that was nice. Let's go home and jide our latin-american housekeeper' and continue being racist and forget all about the movie". Then that lousy idealist me says "Yes, people will take this movie and destroy racism and make everything better!".
Thus, I have to say that for some this movie will create a big impact, and others will dismiss it. It all depends on wether or not you are willing to see yourself as racist, as wrong, as a terrible person. My assumption: Most people won't want to do this, and will either straight out not see the movie/dismiss it's message, or will kid themselves into thinking they've actually done soemthing.

Well, that's all from me for now. Good Bye.

ELanciotti said...

Crash had a huge affect on me personally. I feel as if I was changed walking out of that movie, I literally was shocked at some of the things they addressed. Unfortunetly I am afraid that others with miss this about the movie. The movie has now changed the way I perceive the world, I am constantly checking myself and making sure that I am not being judgemental to others or victimizing others. Like Katie said it all comes down to what others want to see or if they will be willing to change something about themselves. Knowing as well that the movie has been out long enough to have received the best picture award I think that alot of people missed it. Since this was the first time I saw it and found out what it was about I am going to spread the word, but I am saddened that maybe the movie did not have as much of an affect as I would have liked to see.

I got from the movie the fact that we need to be aware of how we are victims of some situations and how we should be careful not to go and do the same thing (hypocritically).

I am very glad though that I saw it and am telling everyone around me to see it....I'm going to buy it!

Dmitriy Polyakov said...

This is the second time that I have watched Crash. However, the second time I understood the movie a lot better. It really made me realize, that even if people are of totally opposite cultures, they are still very connected with each other. The main message I got from this movie was that people, in fear of each other, do awful things to one another. And that racism is not the core issue, it is simply the fact that ignorance leads people to fear, to hate, and worst or all, to hateful actions. People dont always get along with each other, but the fact remains that they are all human, and each human being is responsible for his/her actions, be they good or bad.

the braden said...

I found Crash to be absolutely amazing. Crash not only dissected humans as a whole, but showed how what we percieve to be true, may not necessarily be correct. An example of this is in the movie, when Bullok's character believes the hispanic man to be a thief. However as shown in the movie, the man if a loving father and husband who is most certainly not a thief. Like Mr. Malone was talking about his "Crash" moment, I had a very similiar one the other day. I walked into 7/11 and a hispanic man with tatoos and piercings walked in with a hand in his pocket. I immediately associated the man as being dangerous and possibly carrying a was just my initial reaction. I percieved the man to be dangerous due to his tattoos and overall appeal. It seems as if tatoo's and piercings provide a response and judgment upon individuals who necessarily aren't "bad ass" or "dangerous". All of these little quirks in humans are always based upon judgements, and most of the time these first judgements some how have an impact on the way we percieve an individual. Crash was so great in the way that the director (Haggis) showed that when it comes down to it, we as humans are judgemental to EVERYONE, including those of our own nationality or race. Crash just proves that in the end, everything comes around full circle.

PFlynn said...

I think that racism is a natural reaction that stems from a period of time when the human race was fighting for survival in the wilderness. In order to survive profiling was used in order to make quick decitions when there is not enough time to look at the situation critically (which distiguishes us from the rest of the animal world). However im am not using this to justifye racism in any way, I am simply providing a possible explination for why we have such a difficult time over comeing these barriers and why they may not be over come. If racism is irradicated from our culture would simply turn to another way to make "snap judgements" based on other aspects of individuality in our society? I think that we should try to limit the racism that complicates many situations and is many times unjustifyed and sense less.

pchaffey said...

I would agree that racism is a natural response to people that we percieve as different. I would also agree that it is impossible to completely eliminate, as it is an ingrained part of human nature. However, I think that we can limit its effects on our day to day lives by striving to be as non-racist as possible. Of course, there is a point that is representative of being far too unracist. Therefore, ideally, a happy medium must be reached.

Jgreene101 said...

this movie really tied in to perception in soooo many ways! the interesting thing however is that it was alot of very subconcious stuff goin on in everyones head. although people may not necesarily believe in a prejudice, it is human nature to wonder, and therefore we cannot help but start to wonder, is that guy, because he looks hispanic, is he in a gang. or is that african american guy over there, going to try to pull somthin? we as people in this class, are not generaly racist. we are not going to go out and limit others rights because of our own beliefs. we simply start to wonder, because we are fed steriotypes from the day we are born. this same tactic is used in political elections right now. each party says somthing about the other party that may or may not be true, but because of human nature, and human curriosity, we cannot help but wonder if what the other person has said is true. even if we dont want to believe what the other person said about our favored canidate, and we "know" that what they said is not true, we cannot help but wonder, which is exactly what crash is making people realize as they watch it.

Vvyynn said...

Okay, I'd like to post another "Crash moment", because I feel like it and it's soemtwhat related to the topic of discussion. Many times I've been treated differently when I've been all decked out in funny costumes. I shouldn't say many times, however, because only one time comes to mind right now. If you all will go back in time a few years, you'll remember that one of the spirit days was "Bling Bling Day", and thus I was decked out in all sorts of "Gangsta'" clothing. Well, when I was riding my bike to school that morning, people were giving me really odd looks, and a good deal of cars cut in front of me that morning. Wether it was because I looked "gagnsta" or wether they were just jerks, I don't know. However, overall, cars don't respond well to different people. Well, I hope this has at least sparked interest.

devin said...

I think "Crash" is one of the most depressing and uptlifting movies ever made. It is uplifting in the sense that it portrays these characters who are horrible at the outset, change into at least semi-respectable human beings. It is incredibly depressing to me, however, to see how hopeless we are as a species. No matter how hard we try to keep the stereotypes and judgments based on physical appearance to ourselves and treat others as if those judgments don't exist, they do, and the attempt to hide them fails miserably, EVERY TIME, without fail. Look at the last scene with the latino locksmith, he is looking out of his daughter's window, almost afraid something else is going to happen because of the earlier incident. Look at the scene when the racist cop goes into the hospital to attempt to get medical help for his father. There are many, many scenes like these that show this utter hopelessness, but yet, the movie still tries to keep a lighter tone and there are scenes that support that as well. I love the movie and am going to buy it at some point, and this is one of the main reasons I love it as much as I do: it's meaning is unclear, due to the multitudes of messages it portrays through an amazing cast of characters.