Race and Ethnicity Essay

Crash is extremely equivocal in the word picture of multiculturalism in American society. Almost all the ethnicities depicted in Crash inquiry the perceptual experience others have their peculiar group. but at the same clip affirm the different stereotypes environing their cultural group. For illustration. one of the black characters ( ‘Anthony’ ) comments that they should be afraid in a white vicinity. due to their group’s association with offense. Following this intelligent observation. he and his friend ( ‘Peter’ ) proceed to steal a auto from a white twosome ( Rick and Jean Cabot ) . confirming the stereotype Whites have of them.

Another illustration would be the Persian-American male parent. who is accused by a gun-store proprietor to be a danger to society. The male parent denies this fact. but ends up hiting a kid. This equivocal portraiture shows us one of the quandary of Multiculturalism in American society. While it strives to admit diverseness. it besides promotes colour consciousness by rejecting colour-blind solutions. To cite Gordon and Newfield “Multiculturalism in the 1980’s sponsored renewed protests against white racism and yet it appeared to replace the accent on race and racism with an accent on cultural diverseness.

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Multiculturalism rejected racial subordination but seemed sometimes to back up it“ . While Gordon and Newfield besides attest that “multiculturalism frequently avoided race. It designated cultures” . but multiculturalism in Crash inexorably comes down to race and ethnicity. The characters in Crash think in footings of race or ethnicity. non civilization. Despite the fact that every major character is culturally ‘American’ . race is the unequivocal factor in finding individuality. The upper-class Afro-american Cameron is accused of non being ‘black’ plenty.

The Persian-American male parent is angered that he is mistaken for being an Arab ( traditionally considered to be portion of the Hamitic race ) . while both ethnicities can be considered portion of Muslim civilization. The Asian-American characters and the Kampuchean immigrants are first and first ‘Asian’ and no effort is made to separate them culturally. This can clearly be seen at the terminal of the film ; Anthony drops the Cambodians off in Chinatown. an ‘Asian’ vicinity. inhabited by Chinese-Americans whose civilization and linguistic communication is wholly foreign to the Cambodians.

Furthermore everyone from South-American is labeled as Latin american or Hispanic. despite the fact that Brazilians are culturally and linguistically Lusitanian and that Argentina is more ‘white’ than the United States. Detective Ria is called Mexican ( the most common Hispanic group in Los Angeles ) multiple times in the film. despite holding a shared Puerto Rican and El-Salvadorian background. One must understand that there is a racial divide or a sensed racial divide in American society. non merely between the white American bulk and minority groups but between different minority groups every bit good.

This is best seen during Crash’s opening scene. where a ‘native’ Asian-American adult female ( Kim Lee ) accuses the ‘native’ Hispanic Ria of being an illegal immigrant in broken English. Another illustration would be the privileged Afro-american Cameron. After an attempted carjacking. he is mistaken for one of the carjackers. due to his aggressive attitude and encounters a racial divide that wholly nullifies his privileged place.

In other words. his upper-class occupation gave him a grade of ‘whiteness’ . which dissipates when he is mistaken for a ‘black’ hood. The racial divide is best described by Ronald Takaki. a Japanese-American and a professor on multicultural American during an brush with a cab driver. The cab driver asked how long he had been in the US ; Takaki interpreted his inquiry in footings of race: “Somehow I did non look ‘American’ to him ; my eyes and skin color looked foreign. Suddenly we both became cognizant of a racial divide between us” .

For the cab driver. an Asiatic adult male talking good English was someway singular and likely made his remark without any racialist intensions. For the Japanese-American Takaki. it was a reminder that the impression of ‘Americaness’ was still closely related to race. Another Academic. Schlesinger notes that “The bonds of coherence in our society are sufficiently delicate. or so it seems to me. that it makes no sense to strive them by promoting and lauding cultural and lingual apartheid.

The American individuality will ne’er be fixed and concluding ; it will ever be in the making” . Despite being an assimilationist. Schlesinger has a valid statement. at least with this quotation mark. ‘American’ is non a fixed individuality ; it means different things to different minority groups. For the Asian-American adult female. talking broken English raised no inquiries sing her Asian-American individuality. while the Hispanic Ria was dumbfounded by the fact that the adult females accused her of being an illegal in broken English.

Schlesinger right notes how delicate the bonds between the different cultural groups are. This returns in Crash. where about every ‘multicultural’ interaction is the consequence of a clang or struggle. As Gordon and Newfield point out in their essay. multiculturalism might hold placed the accent on cultural diverseness. instead than race or racism. but it has done small to cover with the underlying racial divide that exists in American society.

Bibliography “Argentina Demographics Profile 2010” . Index Mundi. accessed 10-3-2010. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. indexmundi. com/argentina/demographics_profile. html Avery Gordon and Christopher Newfield. Maping Multiculturalism ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1996 ) . 3-4 Schlesinger. Arthur M. . The Disuniting of America: Contemplations on a Multicultural Society ( New York: Norton. 1992 ) 137-138 Takaki. Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America ( New York: Back Bay Books. 1993 ) 1-2.

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