Paul Haggis’ movie, Crash, depicts racism in modern society, which is both intentional and unintentional among its perpetrators. This essay with seek to explain how this movie represents racism as individual prejudice and also how the movie makes invisible the structural and institutional dimensions of racism. Finally, this essay will determine whether this depiction of racism promotes an inclusive democracy.
First of all, this movie is not centered on one main character. Instead, the film director Paul Haggis opts to interweave different characters so as to relay his key message of racism being both institutionalized and also the fact that racism is an individual prejudice. Beginning with racism as being institutionalized, it is evident that there exist stereotypes and beliefs that are within the society in context. It is clear that these stereotypes to a great existent shape the relationships and perceptions between interracial interactions in Los Angeles. Racism as an institutional entity is evident in the case whereby a Caucasian woman is carjacked by two men of black descent (DiMare 110). Haggis brings out the idea that the woman prior to be carjacked had preconceived notions about black people. However, the stereotypes that she did not necessary agree with prior to being carjacked were ascertained and affirmed after the carjacking incidence. This is a clear indication that this society already has stereotypes that have been institutionalized. The different individual incidences that happen within this society, for example in the case of carjacking, affirm these stereotypes because the incidences can fit in into the social constructions models about different races that has been created by this society.
Individual prejudice being a key source of racism appears to be the central idea upon which the movie crash is based. In this movie, Paul Haggis brings out the idea that individual prejudice is not only evident in the daily interracial interactions but has also been spread into government institutions. For example, the movie uses a character who is a district attorney. This district attorney is Caucasian. Considering that it is conventionally expected that district attorney are impartial, this is not the case with this district attorney. The attorney uses races in his decisions. This means that he is biased towards minority races such as blacks with Los Angeles. This creates the idea that the penetration of racism into government institution is disastrous to the socio-economic and political growth of a given society. Individual prejudice in the part of this district attorney illustrates that all people are not equal in the eyes of the law. This is not the foundation on which the United States. The United States was established on the basis of individual rights and freedoms stipulated in both the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment.
Individual prejudice in the office of the district attorney poses the question of whether racism promotes an inclusive democracy. Democracy seeks to provide equal opportunities for all (Giroux 113). However, as is evident from the movie racism in government institutions such as the office of the district attorney favors given races to the peril of others. This organization of events is not democracy but racial tyranny. Therefore, racism derails democracy by breeching the concept of equity and equality in both governance and provision of services.
DiMare, Philip C. Movies in American history an encyclopedia. Volume 1. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print.
Giroux, Henry A. The abandoned generation: democracy beyond the culture of fear. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.