Believing that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race is know as racism. This phenomenon in the sociological area is defined as a system of group privilege. In Portraits of White Racism, David Wellman has defined racism as “culturally sanctioned beliefs, which, regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages whites have because of the subordinated position of racial minorities”.
Sociologists Noel A. Cazenave and Darlene Alvarez Maddern define racism as “... a highly organized system of 'race'-based group privilege that operates at every level of society and is held together by a sophisticated ideology of color/'race' supremacy. ” Sociologist and former American Sociological Association president Joe Feagin argues that the United States can be characterized as a "total racist society, a statement that can be clearly proved in the film Crash.
In United States, people tend to be judgmental and learn to develop a very deep fear towards other cultures. American citizens are know by their extremely nationalist attitude, which lead them to build a rejection when they are being raised, to foreign human beings. Following this further, although throughout the years this country has had many important leaders battling against racism, nowadays the expressions of it keep being rougher as we can see in the movie. This film differs from many other films about racism in its rather impartial approach to the issue.
Rather than separating the characters into victims and offenders, victims of racism are often shown to be racist themselves in different contexts and situations. Also, racist remarks and actions are often shown to stem from ignorance and misconception rather than a malicious personality. The film shows us many stereotypes and racism’s expressions that are seen in the American everyday life. The fear to black people, the generalization towards Latin people and the misconception of white people being always the heroes and good guys, are just some of the stereotypes that we can detect on the movie.
I am going to point out first the stereotype towards Latin people living in the States. Because of the poor condition that most Latins have when getting to the United States, and all the stories about the border issues and the deaths and assassinations that occurs there, most Americans think Latin people have the need to be robbing or becoming part of gangs or smugglers groups, in order to look for ways of having how to live. False, false, false.
Although it is true that there are a lot of cases that can have these characteristics, there are more Latin people that work hard everyday and look for jobs in order to maintain their dignity for achieving their goals, for accomplishing the American dream. Actually, in the film we can see a situation related to what I just explained above at the Carbot house. After Jean having been carjacked, she complains that without getting over that trauma she needs to endure a heavily tattooed Hispanic with a shaved head changing their locks, because she is sure he is going to leave and give copies of the new keys to "his other gang members. This is a clear expression of racism, where we can see how the Crash’s director twists the real feelings of white people towards this culture, and shows how Daniel Ruiz is characterized through a noble Latin person who works for making a living, confirming that this stereotype is not always true. In the same order, the second stereotype rounds towards black people. Perhaps the most prominent and notable form of American racism began with the institution of slavery, during which Africans were enslaved and treated as property.
Prior to the institution of slavery, early African and non-white immigrants to the Colonies had been regarded with equal status, serving as sharecroppers alongside whites. After the institution of slavery the status of Africans was stigmatized, and this stigma was the basis for the more virulent anti-African racism that persisted until the present. African Americans were treated like second-class citizens. They were denied defense-industry jobs, and when the US entered World War II, they could only serve in segregated units. Racism to black people can be seen in the studio scene, where Cameron works.
In this scene, a white producer called Fred suggests that a black actor isn't acting "black" enough, as he was using proper grammar. Cameron had been satisfied with the take just completed, but Fred strongly suggests that another take be done, with the black actor speaking more "black. " Here, by demanding a black man to talk, as a “black man” should, the director is violating the actor’s dignity and showing strong signals of racism. The twist here resides in the fact that, the black actor uses a proper grammar actually, which demonstrates clearly that there are always exceptions to the rule and we should not generalize.
In conclusion, I do not have an answer to or a cure for racism, I just can say that our society needs more education and values in order to become more tolerable towards different cultures. Diversity is what makes our world rich, so we need to embrace it and enjoy it, instead of creating barriers and making judgments without truly knowing a community. In order to live in a world in peace, it is necessary to leave all the stereotypes behind and accept that we are part of the same world, and in a way or another, we are united in this journey called life.