by Izzy Kalman (January 2006)Racism is a major concern of mine, and in regards this subject, I’d like to recommend the movie Crash (2005; careful, there is another recent film with the same name), directed by Paul Haggis. It is one of the most thought-provoking films I have seen about prejudice. And it is an ideal movie to use in educational programs about tolerance.
Crash interweaves a number of stories dealing with racism. It is easy to criticize the stories as being too stereotypical and relying on unlikely coincidences. However, I don’t think the movie was meant to be a perfect representation of reality. The coincidences are simply tools to make points. And the stereotypical thinking of the characters, I must say, is awfully close to the way people do, in fact, think about members of other groups.
Crash goes beyond the typical “evil racist – poor innocent victimized minority” mentality that pervades many print and film representations of prejudice. Every story is different, and the endings are unpredictable (at least to my limited mind). Taken as a whole, the vignettes demonstrate how difficult it is to be free of racial prejudice. Minority members are just as blinded by their prejudices as are members of the majority. Even those who attempt to fight against prejudice by overcompensating end up committing injustices.
From the perspective of my Bullies to Buddies philosophy, the important thing about the movie is that every character who acts despicably feels, not like a bully, but like a victim! Some may seem to us like bullies, but they act from the motivation of being victims. As I keep on insisting, if we want to make the world a better place, we need to end our crusade against bullies and start teaching people how to stop thinking like victims.