The Sociological Concept of Crash Sociology is the systemic study of human society and social interaction. Sociologists study human societies and their social interactions in order to develop theories of how human behavior is shaped by group life and how, in turn, group life is affected by individuals (Kendall, 4). The movie Crash (Haggis, 2005), is full of many sociological issues, such as race, social class, and gender. Crash makes you see how group life is affected by individuals and how human behavior is shaped by group life.

The main issue throughout the movie is racism and the perspectives on different cultures. The movie is set in Los Angeles, a city with a cultural mix of every nationality. The movie starts out at a scene of an accident. In the first line, Graham (Don Cheadle) says, “It’s the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L. A. , nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something”.

That line describes the movie of how everyone “crashes” into each other. As that happens, not everyone gets a nice feeling. The movie continually shows negative feelings people have towards each other. At the accident scene, Ria (Jennifer Esposito), whom is Latina, is involved in the accident. As she exits her vehicle, she approaches Kim Lee (Alexis Rhee), who is very upset and also involved in the accident. Kim, who is Asian, immediately makes a comment towards Ria about her being Mexican. Ria in return makes fun of the way Kim talks, due to Asians speech patterns.

The sociological concept that is shown is ethnocentrism. Each one of the women is judging the other person’s culture by their own. Crash is full of ethnocentrism. As the movie continues, so does the conflict between different nationalities. A Persian store owner and his daughter were attempting to purchase a gun for safety. The clerk, who is white, made several racist comments toward them. He called the family Arab and made several comments referring to the twin towers and planes. This scene is depicting the type of social conditions that America has after 9/11.

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It is a misconception that all Middle Eastern people are possible terrorists. Later on the movie, the Persian store owner needs his locks changed and shows hatred towards the Mexican locksmith because he was unable to fix the door. He makes the same type of negative and racists comments toward the locksmith just as they were made towards him at the gun store. The Persian store owner ends up getting broken in on. He believes that the locksmith did it. Towards the end of the movie, the store owner wants to confront the locksmith.

He sits in his car outside the locksmith’s home debating what to do. He is experiencing conflict between id and superego. He chooses to confront the locksmith and shot at him. To much surprise, the gun had a blank shot in it. This movie continues to show all different types of racism. In one scene, two black men were walking down the street complaining of how everyone is so racist. The district attorney, Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser), and his wife, Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock), were walking down the street. She was holding his arm and started to hold him closer because she was cold.

The two black men saw her and assumed that she was scared as they walked by them. Later on, the two black men steel a SUV at gun point. The passengers of the SUV just happen to be the district attorney and his wife. After having the vehicle stolen, Jean becomes markedly racist. She immediately wanted the locks changed on the house. The Mexican locksmith showed up and she instantly showed racism towards him. There are many more scenes throughout the movie that continues to show racism. At some point in the movie you see everyone being judged by their race, gender, or social class.

Crash shows all of these inequalities as unequal and unfair. The same people that makes judgment on others is some how affected by someone else. They end up “crashing” into whom they where judging and realizing that everyone is the same. One of the major theoretical perspectives in the movie Crash is the conflict perspective. Conflict perspectives are based on the assumption that social life is a continuous struggle (Kendall, 67). According to the sociologist K. Sue Jewell (1993), popular cultural images are often linked to negative stereotypes of people of color (Kendall, 68).

This movie shows how people have a negative stereotype of people of different color. There is continuous conflict during the movie Crash. Du Bois pointed out that although people in this country promote such values as democracy, freedom, and equality, they also accept racism and group discrimination. Towards the end, the characters are trying to show equality to the ones they discriminated against earlier. Social structure creates boundaries that define which persons or groups will be the “insiders and which will be the “outsiders. Conflict theorists maintain that there is more to social structure than is readily visible and that we must explore the deeper, underlying structures that determine social relations in a society (Kendall, 115). In this movie you can see the boundaries very clear. Watching this movie makes you more aware of exactly how bad the boundaries are. We live in a world that creates fear amongst people because of their nationalities. Negative cultural ideals about cultures other than our own are not uncommon in today’s society.

The different groups of people struggle with their everyday lives to live a normal life. After watching this movie, it made me more aware of how bad racism and discrimination is in our country. I had seen the movie before, but had never realized how the movie continuously showed discrimination against everyone. The movie made me feel that deep down inside that none of the characters wanted to be racist toward each other. It is like that is how they thought they should act. So many problems in the world have caused such hatred and negativism towards different nationalities, including America ourselves.

This movie opened my eyes to a different side of racism. From living in the south all of my life, you tend to think of blacks and whites when you mention racism, but this movie shows you that everyone can be a victim. Crash shows us many examples of discrimination. Until we, as a whole, attempt to stop discrimination, it will still continue. Works Cited 1. Haggis, P. (Director). (2005). Crash [Motion Picture]. United States: Lions Gate Entertainment. 2. Kendall, D. (2007). Sociology in our times (7th ed. ). Belmont: Wadsworth.


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