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By Nate Mezmer, counterpunch.org
Last night at the Academy Awards "Crash" took home the Oscar for best picture. The film starring Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow) has been acredited with deconstructing the race issue in America by exposing the human frailties of its multi-racial cast of characters.
Indeed at first glance this collision course of incredible coincidence seems to push the limits by painting a provocative and ground breaking picture of race relations in the city of Los Angeles. However when everything is said and done, "Crash" is nearly as safe a flick as "Gone With The Wind."
Just as it has been done for years in Hollywood, the roll of the black male in this movie is quickly reduced to that of weakness and ignorance. At every turn, the black man is portrayed as either powerless or out of control (Howard) while the white man gets away with murder, and more specifically in Dillon's case, saves the day (that is, saves the life of a black women he initially harasses both racially and sexually).
Furthermore Dillon's cop character is classic American myth!
Although it is established early on that he is deeply flawed, it is ultimately suggested that his sins are to be forgiven due to his heroics. Because Dillon's character is never held accountable for his repugnance and moreover in the end romanticized, "Crash" does more to uphold the subconscious structures of white supremacy than destroy them.
If you have seen "Crash" and disagree with this synopsis I challenge you to watch it again and re-analyze what is so different about this movie in regards to race? It may not be as traditional an approach as the "Legend of Bagger Vance," but it does not do much to actually test the underlying themes of racism in hollywood nor America.
In the end, acceptance and accolades for such a cinematic statement could be very harmful if left unchecked.
Think about it.
Nate Mezmer is a hip-hop artist. His debut album "Kill the Precedent" was released on Mad 7 Records in 2005. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Average Score: 4.5|
|Re: A Second Look at 'Crash' (Score: 1)|
by Ayinde on Tuesday, March 07 @ 10:13:26 UTC
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|Immediately after viewing the movie 'Crash' I told some people that the movie was crap, and it appears that Blacks who find it is a good movie are not really dark-skinned Black African sensitive. |
The movie reinforces negative stereotypes about Black Africans and actually makes more sensible Black Africans appear to be quite foolish. Early on in the movie, there was this scene with two Black African guys who were outdoors walking and one of them observed how a white female held tightly to her male upon seeing them. He relayed this to his partner about how the couple reacted upon seeing Blacks, and they reasoned this a bit. This aspect showed more insightful Black Africans who were actually thinking and reasoning. But immediately following that rap session they showed these same two Black guys robbing the same White couple, reinforcing the negative White stereotypical portrayal of Black Africans.
The movie "Crash" was crap. I did not publicly comment on it sooner for several reasons, but I specifically did not want to appear to be "challenging" you, suspecting you would get defensive over a silly movie that did not warrant any defense.
Any serious Black African comments about that movie should highlight the obvious reinforcement of negative stereotypes about Black Africans.
|Re: A Second Look at 'Crash' (Score: 1)|
by nzegwhua on Wednesday, March 08 @ 23:30:28 UTC
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|I'm a little shocked, frankly.|
Shocked that any politically aware person (black or otherwise) would
consider this movie noteworthy, analysis worthy (never mind academy
worthy) etc. i am in awe of the knowledgeable people who frequently
post news and comments on this site. i don't want to come off as
condescending at all (esp since i'm new here) but this film was so
shallow! after the first 10m i realized it was manipulative garbage
masquerading as weighty and relevant; and so spent the rest of the time
in quiet appreciation of Terrence Howard whenever he was on screen
(which was not often enough).
So, in closing, my comment which is almost as vapid as the film... is
really just saying Crash stinks. don't see it once. definitely do NOT
see it twice, cuz if you have any awareness at all you will see through
all the contrivances and get very bored, very irritated, very quickly.
|'Crash' and the Self-Indulgence of White America (Score: 1)|
by Ayinde on Wednesday, March 22 @ 09:09:31 UTC
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|by Robert Jensen and Robert Wosnitzer |
"Crash" is a white-supremacist movie.
The Oscar-winning best picture -- widely heralded, especially by white liberals, for advancing an honest discussion of race in the United States -- is, in fact, a setback in the crucial project of forcing white America to come to terms the reality of race and racism, white supremacy and white privilege.
The central theme of the film is simple: Everyone is prejudiced -- black, white, Asian, Iranian and, we assume, anyone from any other racial or ethnic group. We all carry around racial/ethnic baggage that's packed with unfair stereotypes, long-stewing grievances, raw anger, and crazy fears. Even when we think we have made progress, we find ourselves caught in frustratingly complex racial webs from which we can't seem to get untangled.
For most people -- including the two of us -- that's painfully true; such untangling is a life's work in which we can make progress but never feel finished. But that can obscure a more fundamental and important point: This state of affairs is the product of the actions of us white people. In the modern world, white elites invented race and racism to protect their power, and white people in general have accepted the privileges they get from the system and helped maintain it. The problem doesn't spring from the individual prejudices that exist in various ways in all groups but from white supremacy, which is expressed not only by individuals but in systemic and institutional ways. There's little hint of such understanding in the film, which makes it especially dangerous in a white-dominant society in which white people are eager to avoid confronting our privilege.
So, "Crash" is white supremacist because it minimizes the reality of white supremacy. Its faux humanism and simplistic message of tolerance directs attention away from a white-supremacist system and undermines white accountability for the maintenance of that system. We have no way of knowing whether this is the conscious intention of writer/director Paul Haggis, but it's emerges as the film's dominant message.
While viewing "Crash" may make some people, especially white people, uncomfortable during and immediately after viewing, the film seems designed, at a deeper level, to make white people feel better. As the film asks us to confront personal prejudices, it allows us white folk to evade our collective responsibility for white supremacy. In "Crash," emotion trumps analysis, and psychology is more important than politics. The result: White people are off the hook.
The first step in putting white people back on the hook is pressing the case that the United States in 2006 is a white-supremacist society. Even with the elimination of formal apartheid and the lessening of the worst of the overt racism of the past, the term is still appropriate, in ideological and material terms.
The United States was founded, of course, on an ideology of the inherent superiority of white Europeans over non-whites that was used to justify the holocausts against indigenous people and Africans, which created the nation and propelled the U.S. economy into the industrial world. That ideology also has justified legal and extralegal exploitation of every non-white immigrant group.
Today, polite white folks renounce such claims of superiority. But scratch below that surface politeness and the multicultural rhetoric of most white people, and one finds that the assumptions about the superiority of the art, music, culture, politics, and philosophy rooted in white Europe are still very much alive. No poll can document these kinds of covert opinions, but one hears it in the angry and defensive reaction of white America when non-white people dare to point out that whites have unearned privilege. Watch the resistance from white America when any serious attempt
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|Re: A Second Look at 'Crash' (Score: 1)|
by Tyehimba on Sunday, March 19 @ 01:30:37 UTC
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|This is an excerpt from another good analysis of the movie:|
The failures of Crash as a rigorous anti-racism text have, arguably, allowed it to become a successful Hollywood picture. Despite all the commentary suggesting that the movie is "hard-hitting" and "daring," Crash too-often reinforces conservative thinking about race and fails to challenge racist narratives that are deep-seated in the American imagination. While it may be unrealistic to expect any Hollywood product to mount a truly radical critique of race-thinking in America, there should be room for such a critique in the conversation that has been stoked by the limited audacity of the Crash project.
Unfortunately, the film itself encourages audiences to dismiss thinking that is revolutionary in its distrust of conventional social narratives. Anthony, the carjacker, is the movie's paranoid black man. He thinks that white, corporate America may stand to benefit from the rampant use of the word "nigga" in contemporary hip-hop; he wonders why the names of black revolutionaries have been lost to history; and, although he's a thief, he doesn't want to steal from his own people. These are thought provoking ideas. Yet almost as soon as they are uttered, Crash makes them laughable. The politicized commentary of the paranoid black man is framed in such a way that it ends up becoming the movie's most consistent source of comic levity.
Of course, the true comedy is somewhat tragic, and it registers, not in the movie itself, but in the congratulatory hoopla that deems Crash a radical achievement in high-principled American cinema. The discussions that are prompted by Crash, fortunately, have the opportunity to move beyond the limits of the film. As these dialogues find their way into our classrooms, we need to sort through the movie's wreckage, seeking those tools that will help us to build a challenge to the problem of racism that is more trenchant and sincere than the one mounted in Crash.