Crash Goes the Worldview: Why Character Transformation Requires Changing Scripts

Part 4 of:  Hollywood and Higher Education: Teaching Worldview Through the Stories We Live By

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then we are constantly flattering the people and communities who have transmitted their “scripts” to us… for good or for ill.

by Gary David Stratton • Senior Editor

Crash, 2006 Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, provides a powerful metaphor for why worldview change is so difficult.Crash follows a stellar ensemble cast through multiple story lines, most of which explore deeper and deeper levels of worldview.It is one of my favorite films for helping students explore “memes” and the “inciting events” that evoke worldview transformation journeys. [1]

In 1961, literary critic extraordinaire René Girard first introduced the idea that we borrow most of our desires from other people rather than developing our personal desires from scratch. Girard developed his highly influential concept of memetic borrowing throughout his long career, branching out from literary theory into theology, philosophy, and psychology. (See René Girard: The Greatest Christian Intellectual You Never Heard of.) [2]

Then in 1976, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins made the idea of memetic borrowing more palpable when he coined the term meme (short for the Greek root of “imitate”) to convey the idea of a single “unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”(in the same way that a gene is a unit of biological transmission.)[3] In Dawkins’ memetic theory, memes jump from “brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation” (p. 192). Since Dawkins’ initial publication, the field of Memetics has grown both in influence (it helped birth the idea of “viral marketing”) as well as skepticism as to its value as a theory of cultural evolution.

Staying on Script

The concept of memes is a useful interpretive key for helping for understanding why our worldview is so resistant to change. As memetics proponent Susan Blackmore explains, “Everything that is passed from person to person (by imitation) is a meme. This includes all the words in your vocabulary, the stories you know, the skills and habits you have picked up from others, the games you like to play, the songs you sing and the rules you obey.” [4]

In other words, like actors in a screenplay, we all follow “scripts” provided for us largely from outside of our own self-awareness. (Think of the role of “Tradition” in Fiddler on the Roof.)  If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then we are constantly flattering the individuals and communities who have transmitted their “scripts” to us. Our worldview is so deeply rooted within us that we glide through thousands of “preconditioned” decisions each hour, following the cultural and philosophical scripts provided for us by the stories that have shaped us. We simply do what we do without giving a great deal thought as to why we do it. (See, Casablanca and the Four Levels of Worldview.)

These “scripts” exert such a powerful influence on our daily lives that it normally takes a significant  “crash” to reexamine them. These crashes—unexpected events or decisions, often called “inciting events”–are a common devise in nearly all (good) films, but they are particularly evident in Crash. Writer/Director Paul Haggis predicates Crash on the simple premise that no one in Los Angeles deviates from the script of their daily “commute” without a crash.

In the words of Crash’s narrator, Det. Graham Waters (Don Cheadle):

WATERS: 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.  .
 
Officer Dan Ryan’s racially-charged traffic stop ends horrifically for Cameron and Christine Thayer

Officer Ryan’s Scripts

One notable story line traces the interplay between LAPD Officer Dan Ryan (Matt Dillon), and socialite Christine Thayer (Thandie Newton). In one of the film’s early scenes, Officer Ryan gropes Christine in a racially motivated traffic stop.  Later, he heroically risks his own life to save Christine from a burning car.  In each case, he is unreflectively following “scripts” (memes) transmitted to him by the best and the worst of police culture. Only the “crash” of a life-and-death encounter with Christine jolts him into a completely new script of tolerance and understanding.

Ryan’s first “script” is rooted in the story of his father’s relationship with the African-American community. As a young man Ryan watched his father dare to treat his African-American employees with dignity only to lose his business to the city’s affirmative action policies. Now, his father suffers in agony from what Ryan fears is prostate cancer, and the one person standing between him and the specialist he needs is a no-nonsense African-American insurance adjustor named Shaniqua Johnson (Loretta Devine).

RYAN: I'm not asking you to help me. I'm asking that you
do this small thing for a man who lost everything so people
like yourself could reap the benefits. And do you know what
it's gonna cost you? Nothing. Just a flick of your pen.
SHANIQUA: Your father sounds like a good man. And if he'd
come in here today, I probably would've approved this request.
But he didn't come in. You did. And for his sake,
it's a real shame!
[To security guard.] Get him the hell outta my office!
 .
Ryan’s bitterness is no match for Shaniqua’s commitment to company policy

Dan’s frustration creates unstated presuppositions of injustice, anger and retaliation against all blacks that are only reinforced by the worst elements (memes) of LAPD culture. Dan never examines the cultural, philosophical, or mythical basis of his decision. He never asks how his father’s story, and the “racist meme” in LAPD culture shape his actions. He simply acts. With horrific brutality, he uses his power as a police officer to abuse Christine.

Click here to watch scene: Traffic Stop from Hell (Warning – Disturbing content)

In an instant, Christine’s life is shattered. Now part of Officer Ryan’s story of racism has deeply impacted Christine‘s story. His actions fill her with unspeakable anguish. Her personal life disintegrates in anger and confusion. Her relationship with her husband, Hollywood director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) begins to spiral out of control as she begins to act out a “reverse racism script” she barely understands, but which her husband knows all too well.

CAMERON: You need to calm down here.
CHRISTINE: No, what I need is a husband who won't just stand
there while I'm being molested!
CAMERON: They were cops!  They had guns!  Where do you think
you're living, with mommy and daddy in Greenwich?
CHRISTINE: --Go to hell.
 .
An unexpected crash brings Officer Ryan and Christine face-to-face in a fiery wreck

The Crash

Ryan and Christine’s new scripts begin with a crash (literally). Christine’s SUV crashes and flips. Gasoline spills everywhere. She is trapped in a burning car with a malfunctioning seatbelt and no hope of escape. No hope, that is, except Officer Dan Ryan. First to arrive on the scene, Ryan quickly springs into action following the hero script written for him (the meme transmitted to him) by the best of LAPD culture.

Then comes the real crash. Christine and Ryan face each other in an inferno that threatens both their lives.  Christine suddenly recognizes Ryan and responds according to the script provided by the personal, cultural, philosophical presuppositions of her story. Despite the approaching flames, she refuses Officer Ryan’s frantic attempts to help her.

RYAN: Lady! I’m trying to help you!
CHRISTINE: #&$% you!  Not you! Not you! 
Somebody else! Not you!

.

Transformed by their encounter (at least for a moment) Officer Ryan pulls Christine to safety

Momentarily confused, Dan suddenly recognizes Christine, not just what she is, but who she is, that she too has a story separate from his. The screenplay reads, “Ryan looks into her face and sees her pain and humiliation, and knows he was the cause of it.” His worldview begins to shift.

Full of shame, he begins to treat Christine with the dignity and respect he never afforded her in the ill-fated traffic stop. But to no avail. As the flames envelope the car, it is obvious that there is nothing to be done for Christine.  Ryan’s partner begins to pull him to safety before it’s too late. The secret that could ruin Ryan’s life will die with Christine.

Suddenly, against all odds, Ryan completely rejects his racist script (meme) and fully embraces his heroic script. Kicking off his partner he dives back into the burning car, risking his life to save the same woman whose life he so carelessly degraded just a few days earlier.

Against even greater odds, Christine rejects her hatred script and accepts help from the man she has hated with archetypal passion. Her worldview shifts as she accepts his now dignified help and heroic rescue. Everything they thought about one another is changed in an instant; everything they thought about themselves is changing as well. As they weep together in a rescuers embrace both characters hover at the edge of transformation.

Click here to watch Unwanted Rescue scene. (Warning: explicit language.)
CHRISTINE throws one look back over her shoulder –
hate filled with fear and gratitude.
RYAN watches her, equally confused, overwhelmed
and embarrassed by his feelings.

 

As the scene ends it is clear that Ryan and Christine have each entered a new story–a story that will alter their future value and belief system,  personal practices, and decisions. Their scripts (memes) change because they crashed into each other’s stories with sufficient force to jolt them out of their culturally transmitted roles. Christine returns home to reconciliation with Cameron (who has been in his own transformation journey).  Ryan returns home and begins to treat his father with a new tenderness and dignity.

Snowfall in L.A.

Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) watches flames rise to meet a once-a-century snowfall

Paul Haggis’ masterpiece, concludes with the most unlikely crash of all—a once-a-century snowfall in Los Angeles. The snow is as unimaginable as a worldview shift.  It is also symbolic. For decades, snowfall has served as a favorite Hollywood metaphor for “something is changing.”

As the audience considers this final image, they are challenged with the questions:“Will we continue gliding through the thousands of “preconditioned” decisions we make each day, or will the “Crash” of this movie cause us to reexamine them deeper levels? Will we dare to change?

And as we rise we see the twisted chaos of the intersection,
the cars and people and the (now freed) Illegals disappearing into the maw of the churning city.
And it starts to snow.
FADE OUT
 .

Next post in the series: It’s a Wonderful Worldview: Frank Capra’s Theistic Masterpiece

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See also:

Hollywood and Higher Education: Teaching Worldview Through Academy Award-winning Films

Casablanca and the Four Levels of Worldview: Why Everyone Meets at Rick’s 

Fiddler on the Roof: Worldview Change and the Journey to Life-Interpreting Story

Bungee-Jumping to Eternity: The Existential Angst of Dead Poets Society

Deep Culture: Is Winning an Oscar a Reliable Indicator of a Truly Great Film?

If you Live it, They Will Come: The Blind Side and Better Faith-Based Filmmaking

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Related Posts:

Using Zombie Movies to Teach Politics, by Daniel W. Drezner

The Joker Is Satan, and So Are We: René Girard and The Dark Knight, by Charles Bellinger

Echoes of René Girard in the Films of Martin Scorsese: Scapegoats and Redemption on Shutter Island, by Cari Myers

Hitchcock and the Scapegoat: René Girard, Violence and Victimization in The Wrong Man, by David Humbert

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Notes

[1] Paul Haggis, Cathy Schulman, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, and Brendan Fraser. Crash. (Santa Monica, Calif: Lions Gate Entertainment, 2005). All quotations from, Crash. Story by Paul Haggis; Screenplay by Paul Haggis, and Robert Moresco. (Bob Yari Productions, Bull’s Eye Productions, Blackfriar’s Bridge & the Harris Company, 2004).

[2] René Girard, Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press). See also, Cynthia Haven’s excellent mini-bio in the Stanford Alumni magazine, “History is a Test: Mankind is Failing it.” See also, Michael Kirwan, Discovering Girard (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2004), The Girard Reader, James G. Williams, Ed. (New York: Crossroad, 1996),  Mimesis and theory : essays on literature and criticism, 1953-2005 (Stanford University Press, 2008.)

[3] Richard Dawkins, The selfish gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976). See also, Robert Aunger, Darwinizing culture: the status of memetics as a science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Kate Distin, The selfish meme: a critical reassessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson, The Origin and Evolution of Cultures (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

[4] Susan J. Blackmore, The meme machine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 16. “So, for example, whenever you drive on the left (or the right!), eat curry with lager or pizza and coke, whistle the theme tune from Neighbours or even shake hands, you are dealing in memes. Each of these memes has evolved in its own unique way with its own history, but each of them is using your behaviour to get itself copied” (p. 16).

168 Replies to “Crash Goes the Worldview: Why Character Transformation Requires Changing Scripts”

  1. This was the third time that I’ve seen this film, and I think that I was better able to notice some of the subtleties while they happen vs. recalling them after the fact. The two that caught my attention the most were the carjacking and the hitchhiker, with Ryan Philippe’s character being the most reveling to me. He tries the hardest throughout the film to see through others perspectives, but reverts back to unconscious thoughts in the end when he kills Don Chile’s brother. Exposing me to others and getting out of my comfort zone is something that I’ve done to get a better understanding of different viewpoints. I’ve utilized the food as the central theme in my sharing in different cultures and viewpoints, as it helps give everyone a good starting point to jump off from.

  2. So I watched this movie once before and only made it about half way through it. See I have a problem with racism and racist people even if it is “only a movie”, and this movie was full of it. I am not saying that racism still doesn’t exist, but I think this movie might go a little over the top. Everybody hates everybody I this movie. I do like the pyridine shift in Officer Ryan’s worldview. I feel that even though he starts to change his view when he helps Christine, but I think it is a little too late. I don’t think I could ever watch this movie again as it goes against everything I was both taught and believe in.

  3. The Blind Side:

    After watching The Blind Side, I learned that my own story is really falling short. I have a rather selfish lifestyle. In the movie mother, Mrs. Tooie, does not hesitate to take action and do what she knows is best. She may realize there is some risk to taking Michael into her home, but she does so regardless. In my own life, my circumstances are somewhat similar to Mrs. Tooie. I work FT, have a couple of kids, have a house large enough for more people, etc. However, I would simply never take in another person unless I was intimately involved. Sadly, I am not sure that I am at a point in my life that I am would consider a change. In fact, I know that I would not. I have gone to pretty far extremes to help animals that need a home, etc. Mrs. Tooie was heroic to take in Michael and help in all the ways that she did. Then again, maybe if life brought such a circumstance to me, I may have a change of heart. It is hard to say how one would react until faced with the challenge/opportunity.

    1. Yes, and she did have more of a personal relationship with Mike before she invited him into her home than the movie explores.

  4. I think this movie was an amplified attempt to reflect our society and I think they did an entertaining job. The movie portrayed things I'm sure we wouldn't say out loud, but like most of you already commented we all have a little bias in us. The value in this is to reflect on our life daily so we don't have to constantly wait for a "crash" moment to change and understand different world views.

  5. What I learned from the movie Crash was it takes major events in our lives to change our cultural MEME. We will imitate what we have been taught by our cultural upbringing until a crash in our life causes us to reexamine our worldview. We make judgments based on these meme’s without even knowing we are doing it. Crash has multiple story lines that have very diverse points of reference which caused people in the movie to respond to one another in a very stereotypical manner. My real take away from this movie is let’s not wait until we have a crash to reexamine our meme, start by asking “ do I know this to be real or am I arriving at this conclusion based on my cultural environment”. Then we will be open to finding out where other people’s life stories have brought them.
    We make hundreds if not thousands of judgment calls every minute and I now find myself asking, “is this my story or the prerecorded version making the calls?” It is very interesting to track a decision back to where you first remember the topic coming up in our life and then weighing it against what we believe to be true today. Sometimes for me it is hard to understand how I arrived at what seems to be a flawed or inconsistent believe. For me, it all seems to come down to reaching out to people so crash in not needed.

  6. I thought Crash was a beautiful portrait of shifting/crashing worldviews from multiple perspectives. I’d seen it before, several years ago, but I don’t think I fully appreciated what was happening. It illustrates many different people, all going through the motions of their lives with worldviews provided to them by society's stereotypes, and how those worldviews are not challenged until there is a 'crash' that causes them to reevaluate. One of the things I found most interesting is how the movie tells us that we are all connected, and uses that concept in the ways that the characters 'crash' into each other and are changed, as with Christine and Ryan illustrated above. I think that is so true – we often accept the stereotypes or generalizations that society gives us into our worldview until a situation, or person, that doesn't fit into that mold 'crashes' into our lives – but sometimes it's more subtle than that.

  7. Part II
    The movie had many different stories that related to each other in unusual ways, every story was set with their own worldview, The Rich family, the ever devoted husband with a very unhappy wife, demanding from everyone and everything, nothing seem to be right or enough. The locksmith working class, loving dad, and responsible husband judged by his tattoos and Latino looks. The police officer upset at the situation he faced with his father and the lady that would not offer his dad any help and the transformation he is forced into by the “crash”
    My favorite Story is Anthony’s he lived in a world were steeling was a way of living and an acceptable career…but he was given a chance by Cameron, that changed his heart otherwise he had taken the money offered to him for the immigrants, but he decided to give them a change, the opportunity to change their destiny.

    1. Anthony was my favorite protagonist also. I see that hypocrisy all the time – preaching your philosophy (in this case on discrimination and racism) and then living the opposite values. The scenes where he took the bus and then let the trafficked humans go despite a possible financial gain completed his character arc and it was rewarding to see the change in him because of his 'crashing' worldview.

    2. Cameron's crash caused him to look at this differently and when he did, he found an opportunity help someone else. In this part of the movie it seems that the crash between Cameron and the "would be" carjacker starts a chain reaction of collisions much like that of interstate 405 in L.A. Anthony then goes on to have a worldview shift and a way to help others which in turn could only have a positive effect on the people in the van.

  8. One thing that I learned from the movie crash is that people have worldviews very different than mine and there are many things that I have not experience but that does not mean those things are not happening to others. I also learned that those worldviews can be change by watching others around us, by our own will or when we are forced to change them by “crashes”, unexpected events that force our perspectives to change.

    1. Good point about people having different worldviews about things that you have not experienced. It's so easy for us to judge other people having never walked in their shoes. I also found it interesting how two people in the film who most likely had similar experiences, Anthony and the brother of Det Waters, had completely different worldviews.

  9. Crash is one of my favorite movies. The film takes the viewer through a rollercoaster of cultural stereotypes demonstrating not only how these stereotypes affect us but also how they affect other people's lives. Every time I watch this movie, it makes me reconsider past situations where I could have reacted differently. It is easy to judge others when we do not know their story. This movie, uncomfortable to watch some times, is more than a movie. It actually displays real life situations that unfortunately are very common.

    1. It is so much easier to watch "escapist" entertainment than "confrontist" art. (Not that I don't like a good movie escape now and then.) Movies like Transformers 3 have their place, but they'll change us like Crash.

    2. Andres,
      You are right! "It's easy to judge others when we don't know their story "This movie takes the viewers in a personal journey with every character to see what their lives are like on a daily basis, their values and personal experiences. After this movie my worldview changed I understand that just because I have not experience it does not mean it’s not happening.

    3. You are so right in saying it is hard to know where people are coming from. An expectable behavior in one community may not fly in another. The people in the Midwest can easily isolate themselves from unfamiliar behavior or worldviews of others. In cities like New York, Boston, or L.A. it is not as easy to distance oneself from the crashes of others. This is one of the reasons I enjoy exploring the culture in large cities and other countries as well.

  10. What I learned from Crash and the idea of memes is the difficulty in changing the worldview of a society. In crash we saw all of the turmoil and tragedy that was experienced only to change a few worldviews. Then at the end of the movie we see the same, original worldviews being played out in a different character, Shaniqua Johnson. To think that the vat majority of people have a lot of the same views because they are imitating people and spreading those worldviews to one another coupled with the idea that it takes a major "crash" to change the worldview is daunting. As people imitate one another their behavior becomes accepted and normal; whether or not it is moral. This also helps point out the importance of always doing the right thing. It would be easier for people to imitate your good, moral actions rather than having to experience a "crash" in order to come a better worldview.

    1. Great point. It is is better to live a live worthy of others following than just a live. This is very instructional because we do affect others very much. A kind word or action to a stranger may not change the world but it may change that persons worldview just a little. They may think there is hope again when that feeling has been lost. I don't think changing your worldview always requires a "crash" but I know for some people it does.

      1. Yes, agreed.
        "It's better to live a life worthy of others to follow than just a life"
        Drifting each day and following the "memes" been part of the daily routine without thinking why we do this the way we do; does not seem like fully living to me and yet, I’m part of if every day. Change is difficult and for that change consciousness has to be reawakened.

    2. I think it's especially more difficult to change worldviews that are created by imitation because people don't realize that they are flawed or that this is the story they are living. I have known people in my life that have spouted a racist comment or attitude, yet professed not to be racist. They may not every truly evaluate or question their worldview until a 'crash' challenges it.

    3. I wonder how many times we look at people's actions and see only the actions which differ from our own. It seems that the actions which make us different are what cause us to study others. These differences become what we are drawn to. For me, this is hard to not focus on. I need to be cautious to not emulate the behavior of those who I do not share the same worldview with.

  11. I saw Crash when it first came out and it waas good to see it again. It's interesting to see the extremes of racism in this movie. I went to a tiny school up north that was full of white Scandinavian kids, needless to say racism wasn't really an issue because there was no one to be racist towards. It's hard to believe there are people out there who can have so much hatred towards a person just because of their skin color. I'm glad that in the end Christine and Ryan were able to change their worldviews for the better. It's too bad it took such a dramatic event to do so.

    1. I grew up in a similar situation where there wasn't anyone to be racist towards so it wasn't prevelant, and that does make it hard to see the way some people act. I wonder if people like you and I would change our worldview if we had a negative "crash" that would make us think differntly about racism much like Christine and Ryan did in a positive manner.

    2. In some of the cases, I don't know if I think it is as simple as hatred toward another race, as much as it is the acceptance of a stereotyped worldview that was never challenged. Most of these people found, when challenged by a 'crash' that they did not truly have hatred in their hearts. In a sheltered society, such as the one you were raised in, the worldviews we are taught on subjects like racism are rarely challenged….and in cities like LA, the stereotypes seem to be often perpetuated. I agree that it is unfortunate that it takes a 'crash' to challenge this worldview, but that is so often the case.

  12. I love this movie. After I watched it for the first time I decided to purchase it. I have watched it several times since and each time I enjoy it more and more. I think it does a fantastic job at portraying how real racism and prejuduce actually still exhist in daily life.

  13. Like many others, I had not watched the movie since it originally came out. There was definitely a clear message on prejudices that exist and influence people’s decisions and lives. I was most impacted by the stories of Officer Ryan (Matt Dillon) and Officer Hansen (Ryan Phillippe). Early in the movie, it seemed obvious who were the prejudiced and the morally upstanding characters. I guess from my point of view, both of these characters did not change their worldviews as much as they revealed their true worldview during the inciting events. That said, I agree their worldviews were forever changed by the events they experienced and can relate to that on a personal level.

  14. What I learned from Crash about how hard it is for worldview/story to change. Every character in this movie had some level of racism. I don't think some of the characters where even aware that they were racist, in fact it seems that some of the characters that were racist saw themselves as being above such an act. Racism is something that is learned from those around us at a very early age and is therefore very difficult to change as an adult. If racism is part of a child's upbringing, it takes a conscious effort by that child to overcome racism as an adult. One thing I found interesting about this movie is the characters that changed from villain to protagonist and from protagonist to villain. Crash leaves the viewer really thinking about the world around them and the role that racism plays in their life.

  15. The worldview change that was the most interesting for me to watch was that of Matt Dillon's. He was portrayed as a racist, but as his story and background was explained it was easy to understand how he ended up that way. Watching him transform into someone who would risk his life for another that he thought so little of in the beginning was pretty powerful. His worldview shift was so clear to see in the look exchanged between he and Thandie Newton as she was helped away from her burning vehicle. I know my worldview is constantly evolving based on my experiences and because of those experiences I am becoming more tolerant of the differences in everyone I encounter.

    1. I agree, i think that may worldview is constantly evolving. i think that you have to be constantly evolving in today's world, if you don't i don't think you would make it very far.

    2. I agree that Matt Dillon's story was one of the most interesting to watch. Even though we didn't directly experience his childhood upbringing, I imagine he was a much less cynical person earlier in life. I kind of thought his change was more like Rick's from Casablanca, where he got back on track.

    3. Great point Jessica, it was refreshing to see how Dillon's character showed that he had a heart during the car accident scene by saving Newton's character and risking his life while doing it.

    4. In the end, Officer Ryan was able to do the right thing. He was able to put his racism and stereotypes away in order to save a life. Change happens rapidly in the movie but real life is another story. Our experiences are key to the development of our worldview and our tolerance towards others and other cultures.

  16. You almost need to watch this movie a few times to catch all the intertwined stories. The movie would lead you to think the two black boys in the beginning had been sterotyped and treated as if they were criminals and they up and pull out a gun and steal a car. This movie had more tragic stories than good stories although there were some like Bullucks and Dillions charactors were a shift in the right direction.
    It is not as much about black or white or about rich or poor, as it is about good or evil. Evil are no bias and color doesn't matter.

    1. Great comment, one of the things that I like about this movie is that they show stereotypes and racism from different angles. Evil thoughts do not have cultural boundaries.

  17. I saw this movie when i first came out a really liked it, but had not seen it since. I had forgotten how good of a movie it was. While the message of the movie is about racism and and prejudice, i thought there was an underlying message of the movie. That we can be so blinded by our worldview and our ideas that we often forget or are insensitive to others worldviews. I think the movie shows people that our actions, whether good or bad can affect people lives in ways that we never think of.

    1. I agree, I thought there was a message on how our actions/decisions affect so many others. Kind of reminded me of dropping stones in a body of water. You have the outward ripple effect of the stones…with the different rings eventually overlapping and meeting, some ripples cancel others out, while some join and increase the effect.

      1. Earnie, your analogy of the positive and negative amplification of the ripples is great. All of us react differently, positive or negative, but it also creates an environment that can be very difficult to understand as we are not watching just one rock being thrown and reacted too.

    2. I agree with your comment. Sometimes we do not realize how powerful our actions are. A gesture, a facial expression, and our words carry meaning and this meaning can have a great impact (positive or negative) in other people’s lives.

    3. I agree with your comment. We have to first be reflective and responsible for our own thinking and actions because it will impact someone. The silent affects we have on people is so powerful and we have to be mindful. This movie was a great reminder.

    4. Well put Nate. In some ways Crash and It's a Wonderful Life are similar in that aspect – they reflect the actions and reactions that our life choices have on the people around us. Intended or not.

  18. This was the first time I had ever seen this movie. I thought it was somewhat confusing in the beginning, because there were so many different story lines to follow. It was very disturbing to watch, as it seemed all too real. I know there are stereotypes embedded in all of us, and I believe it has to do with our experiences and how we were raised. I thought the storyline between Officer Ryan and Christine was a true portrayal of how your worldviews/ stories can change. My truck was broken into yesterday and my purse was stolen. My story changed drastically, as I originally was pretty trusting and would not worry about someone breaking into my car. It was locked, and my personal belongings were hidden. After this happened, found myself watching everyone that walked by and suspecting each of them. Although I found it difficult to watch, I also found it to be a very valuable movie. There were so many lessons that could be learned about the way we handle our stereotypes, and deal with our feelings in certain situations. I found myself wondering how I would have reacted if I was in the same situations these characters.

  19. The movie, Crash, for me was difficult to watch because of the foul language and extreme racism. I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota where I rarely saw a colored person or a person of a different race. To see this movie, it is hard to believe people really treat each other like this. There was so much disrespect in the movie. I found the movie hard to follow at times, it skipped around with many characters. My prayer is that this world will change and we can learn to accept each other for the way God made us.

    1. I am just like you Linda, I grew up in a tiny town where there were no colored people. It's so disappointing to think there are people out there who have just ill will towards people just because they have a different skin color. Jesus showed us that we should be accepting of all people no matter what race, color, occupation, etc. I think we all need to remember this in our daily lives.

  20. What I've learned from the Movie Crash is that it is hard to change your perspective if you've been brought up a certain way or the environment you are in. Experiences in life can also alter perspective. As played out in the movie Crash, it took some life altering event for one character to have a paradigm shift that contrasted their character's original perception. Some of the scenes in the Movie seemed a bit extreme for someone who grew up in a bubble in "Minnesota Nice" society but I know people tend to act defensive or offensive based on their own experiences. I can relate to some of the racism that I have seen personally but just not to the extent that was portrayed in the film. I really enjoyed the movie because it was able to tell the story of many different people and still tie it up at the end when we realize that the murder victim Peter was Detective Water's brother. Awesome film!!!

    1. Mao,

      You mention how we are brought up. I think it is interesting, when I was a teenager, I was very outspoken with my grandfather. He was a white person living in North Minneapolis and was faced with daily images of mostly black people that he perceived as "good for nothing." I would argue with him about prejudice and grouping people into stereotypes.

      Then, as I grew into a thirties something, I could see myself becoming more and more judgmental. Now that I'm forty something I feel pretty good about my perceptions and openness to diversity. It's funny though, I have a boy that is 17….he is so strongly opinionated that people are people and everyone should be treated the same. He reminds me of myself at that age. I hope he can hang onto his strong sense of judging people only for their character and nothing else.

    2. I can say I did not think this movie was awesome. It was unsettling for me with all the foul language and racism. I did grow up in an environment where I did not see racism and therefore it was hard to watch the disrespect and extreme racism in this movie. Our background and culture have so much to do with the way we respond to different movies.

    3. Mao,
      I agree with you, I too think as "Minnesota nice" in a sort of bubble, not tamed by the "memes" of racism portrayed in the movie.
      Crash was a great movie, yet it was hard for me to watch, but after the movie was done I realized my worldview was so different from every other character of the movie… and with that new realization it help opened my mind to the stories behind each character.

  21. The very first time I saw Crash I was blown away when it came full circle at the end of the film. It was a very dramatic closing where deep reflection of each charachter was on full display. The very last scene when the brother is in the car with the cop and reaching for a religious saint to display on the dashboard was a difficult scene to watch. I knew what was going to happen because in a police officers lens they always see danger in situations such as this scene. The other heartbreaking moment for me was the little girl running out in front of a gun because in her mind she was taught that she had a magic cape that would protect her, and she wanted to protect her dad. It was the innocence of children in an unfriendly world.

    1. I too found it very difficult to watch both of these scenes as well. I hadn't realized that the bullets were blanks, as I didn't catch that at the beginning of the movie. Too often in situations like that, they aren't blanks, and anger causes accidents or "crashes" for no reason at all. He didn't bother to find out who had caused the vandalism. He had his mind set as to who it was, and let the anger control him. In the situation where the cop killed the brother, you are right it is a cops instinct to protect themselveswhen someone reaches for their pocket. I don't know if it mattered what race he was in that situation.

    2. The scene where the little girl ran out to her father was heartwarming. The innocence she possesses is prieless and untimately saved her father.

    3. The plethora of worldviews in this movie is amazing. What's even more amazing is how they put them all together. This is such a powerful movie in so many ways!

    4. I had the same reaction when I first saw this film years ago. I couldn't believe someone had the guts to portray our society this way, but after really thinking about it, I was sad that our society was like the movie. OK, maybe not as amplified but they did get the culture and racial bias somewhat correct, even if we don't want to admit it. This movie wouldn't have had a script had our society not written it.

  22. Crash is one of those films that is difficult to watch and even more difficult to accept as reality. Accepting the fact that we are all following our “scripts” and are largely unaware of the “lines” we are acting out is very disheartening. The fact is, we are all caught up in our own world, we see things through our own eyes, and unless there is an inciting event or a crash, we just do what comes naturally. I have found that it is indeed very hard to change my worldview. However, I have come to realize that judging others will get me (and society) nowhere. I have tried very hard not to dismiss others for what may be a pre-judged thought or lack of understanding. The phrase about walking in another man’s shoes rings very true when we think about worldviews. We will never understand another person’s worldview unless we have lived it. Therefore, we must FORCE ourselves to be respectful and compassionate with others. After all, life could have dealt each one of us something other than what we have now.

    1. "We will never understand another person’s worldview unless we have lived it." Well said! Somewhere I'll bet Paul Haggis (the screenwriter) is smiling!

    2. Colleen, I am much like you that although I am aware of others it is very natural for me to stay in my own worldview! This is particularly happening in my own work world right now, although I keep forcing myself to look beyond my own interests or my own script and consider the organization as a whole, I am stubborn to let go. Eventually I, and others, will have to accept reality as it is and I will have to walk a new script that someone else has chosen for me. Difficult lesson, but certainly a doable task.

    3. ok , I was in the middle of posting on your comment and my computer went crazy!!. I agree we should not pass judgment on others as we have no idea of what life has been dealt to them. People are like onions with layers of skin. Under all those layers of skin is a heart that is often broken. So many of us are caught up with ourselves. I actually was so caught up in myself that I decided a few years back to walk in the light of someone that was living in a very dark world. It is scary out there and there are a lot of hurting people. Through a very dramatic experience with people that hold very different beliefs and values I recognized that passing judgment is not right nor my place.

    4. I agree with your comment. Our personal "scripts" have such strong holds on us that we don't realize our actions. If we change our daily scripts to include compassion, understanding, even tolerance we wouldn't need so many "crash" moments to change us.

  23. It was touching to see the worldviews of individuals shift through the encounters they had with others. Sandra Bullock recognized after falling down the stairs, that her so called friends were not true friends that would be there and support her. Instead, the house keeper ended up being there for Sandra; an individual whose relationship Sandra had taken for granted. I learned through this film that crashes not only create prejudice and bias but can also remove the prejudice and bias that once existed. Some of the principles, beliefs and values that I formed growing up have shifted because of my relationship with Christ and certain individuals I have crashed into. I remind myself that we are all created equal, have fallen and through mercy and grace are forgiven. This world is filled with broken people, like many of the individuals we saw in the film CRASH. Take advantage of the moments and crashes you have with others and create a great story. Life is short and can change in a blink of an eye. Live in the moments you have left on earth.

    1. Sandra Bullock played such a mean spirited role in this movie, it's almost shocking! She overlooked the fact that the man changing the locks was a person with a family and when she needed someone, it wasn't her "friends" but the friendship of her house keeper!!! I love crashing into others, it can really deviate one's life plan. Much like when I crashed into you for the first time! I am glad that we chatted and you worked hard to join our cohort and we developed a friendship that will be lifelong. What an inspiring moment.

      1. Noelle, I am so glad I ran into you the day I was taking my Dante test. If I hadn't met you I would not have even started school yet. You inspired me to give it my all and test out of 8 courses so we can be in a cohort together. You are an amazing person and I am so glad I crashed into you at Bethel =) Without our encounter, I would have one less awesome friend!

    2. This world is certainly filled with broken people. I too have to remind myself that we are all created equal in God's eyes. God loves us no matter who we are. Thank you for reminding me to take advantage of the moments and crashes I have with others to create my life story.

  24. part 2…It's almost as if you could see the remorse in his embrace for treating Christine as he did in the beginning of the film. The movie is also effective at enabling the viewer to see what lengths it takes sometimes to change ones worldview/story. The movie challenged me to observe the behavior in my life that may need to change. I would like to think that it won't take such a severe inciting event to cause me to change, that watching the movie in and of itself can be an inciting event.

    1. Tricia,

      I'm glad you were so honest with your response. Your example was classic in showing how people's world view can change. If society have the knowledge or interest in going outside of their own comfort zone, there would be less resistance to try and relate to others.

    2. The movie was really an inciting event for me as it made me think and analyze my own worldview. I realized that I had some of my own bias in life that I needed to overcome. I need to appreciate those individuals in my life that have stuck by me through the good and bad times. Just like Sandra, I recognized as I I was going through a very difficult time in my life that I really only have a few true friends.

  25. When I first saw this movie, I didn't like it at all. 1) I have an extreme aversion to foul language, 2) I thought everyone in the movie was out for themselves and didn't care about anyone else (which is mostly true until their worldviews change) and 3) I didn't see the profound artistic value in it. Watching it again through the lens of worldviews drastically changes the movie's message and meaning. Sgt. Dan Ryan's character was developed in the best way to really drive home the point that inciting events really do have a way of changing one's worldview. That's what I learned from Crash. The embrace he gives Christine after he rescues her from her burning vehicle is symbolic of him coming full circle to realizing that she's human, just like he is and she deserves rescuing as anyone else would.

    1. Tricia, I too did not care for the movie when I saw it a few years ago. The language did not bother me too much, but the difficult message was just hard to swallow. I remembered telling a friend that is was a "good" movie but that I did not recommend it. I guess, in a small way, this movie is an inciting event for us. It would be pretty hard to watch the movie and not sit back for a few minutes to think about the charachter's views….every actor in the film showed us how their worldview affected their actions.

      1. Colleen-

        I can see why you would not have enjoyed it. As someone who is fairly insulated in life, the language and situations are very jarring. I agree with your analysis of Dan Ryan's change. There are many situations where, if I stop and allow the Holy Spirit to show me my own words and actions, I've treated other people as less-than-human. It's small, and maybe even not noticed–a sneer, rolled eyes or saying "what else can you expect from a ______", but it slowly chips away at how I view others.

        I've glossed over Jesus' words from the sermon on the mount, when He said "Do not judge others, or you too will be judged," and when He says that "as we forgive, so shall we be forgiven." I had always approached those teachings as mere transactions. One teacher helped me understand it better when he compared it to a snorkel. We need to breathe in (receiving God's grace), but it only works when we can also breathe out (giving grace to others.)

    2. I would agree the language was a turn off but it made the movie more realistic. Without the language the movie would not truly portray the inner city life. The movie would not have come alive without it. The shift in Sgt Ryans character after he was in the middle of a life and death situation with Christine was amazing. I often wonder how many people on their death bed that do not know Christ, change their worldview and realize they are lost. I wonder how many have cried out to God on their death bed and asked God to save them?

  26. Crash was all over the place. It was a marathon of prejudices. We all have a lens we see life through. I think changing how you see through your lens is not just about getting information. After we become aware, we have to make a conscious choice to change. Growing up in a small town in Iowa I had prejudices simply because that was all I knew. I never really hated any one, that was my worldview at the time. On a micro level I think my worldview continues to change. It is your core beliefs(worldview) that help you make corrections or enforce your prejudices. For me becoming a follower of Jesus made a big difference how I see through my lens – grace and mercy!

    1. Very well said Jerry! I definitely agree that growing in my relationship with Jesus teaches me to change my character (worldview) and, with His grace, increases my ability to have grace sufficient for other people and the circumstances in my life. Without an outside force guiding you (or, if you choose to only change whence circumstances force you to change), I really think that we as a human race wouldn't have the impetus to drive any real change.

    2. I agree. The prejudices you learn as a child stay with you for life unless you make a conscious effort to change them. I was lucky to be raised in a home that taught us that everyone is equal and that racism is not acceptable. There are of course the influences from those close to you outside your home which helps build stereotypes. I think stereotypes are much more difficult to overcome.

  27. A “crash” is mainly unwelcome when it’s unexpected. In the context of this movie, “crash” is synonymous with “interruption.” In a similar way, God interrupts, or crashes into, lives all of the time. Most of the time, this occurs when we have experienced something that takes us to the end of our resources and options. At the time, it feels like an impact, but in retrospect, we realize that He was catching us to prevent us from falling into a worse fate.

    1. Tom,

      Thanks for enlightening me with your perspective. I never thought of it that way. That makes perfect sense. Sometimes, we all need something to crash to get our attention. God stepping in with a crash in our lives to open up our eyes.

    2. I believe this is a great way to look at a "crash." I also believe that God is helping to cause these interruptions to help us to grow. Some situations can be more painful than others. We are still able to gain strength and become who we are and who God wants us to be.

    3. Tom, I would agree that interruptions as you say can be a "crash". It sometimes takes along time to realize that it kept us from a worse fate.

    4. Great analogy! From now on when I "crash" I will think of this and know that this "crash" is preventing me from falling further. I like it!

    5. I agree with you to a certain extent Tom. I think God intervenes, but only to a certain extent. That extent would be to give us a way out, whenever we have a tough decision to make. We can either follow the worldly way (sin) or we can rise above and follow the way that God has put in front of us.

  28. I have seen this movie a while back but did not pay that much attention to it. Now that I know a little bit more about worldviews, the movie makes more sense. This is a great movie that challenges stereotypes and hopefully makes people think twice about how they judge each other. Each scene brought me different emotions and shows how stereotyping lead us make not so good decisions. I truly believe or perhaps hope that anyone seeing this movie is likely to be moved to have a litte more sympathy toward people not like themselves.

    1. I don't know how anyone could watch this movie and not be moved to be more sympathetic to those that are different than themselves. The movie so clearly makes the point that it's not ok to treat people with prejudice and bigotry. Identifying the bigotry in others lives should make it easier to see the prejudices in our own hearts, but I'm aware that it doesn't always work like that. A lot of times it takes a powerful, inciting event for people to be introspective enough to examine their own hearts and behaviors.

    2. Deborah, you are totally right. This movie develops those stereotypes and makes them so real that it naturally breaks down that pattern in our own lives. It is so hurtful to tear someone apart for being different. Of course it is a movie, but it certainly happens outside of Hollywood in every day life.

    3. This was a powerful movie and it did a good job at showing many different worldviews and stories. Unfortunatey there are sad truths revealed that are hard to watch and a bit haunting.

    4. I couldn't agree more with you about the movie making more sense the second time around with the new knowledge about worldviews I now have. I like how you said this movie makes people think twice about how they judge one another. I think we don't always realize what we say or how we act to certain people. It may not even be a concious effort, but it's what we're used to. This is a very powerful movie that we can all benefit from watching.

  29. Have you notice in centering around two car accidents, a carjacking, vicious workplace vandalism, and the suspicious shooting death of one police officer by another, the drama is set against the backdrop of a racist LAPD and Los Angeles justice system. Drama at the highest level!!! Do anyone see a hero or protangist or villian in this…please help me.

    1. There are many protagonists in this movie because it has so many stories intertwined. The problem is there is not much charactor development for obvious time constraints of a couple hour film. Don Cheadles charactor is arguably the charactor that links all the stories together. Dillons charactor is also one. Ryans charactor is a little easier to see the charactor arc.

    2. Hero's, in my opinion no one stood out. Villian I would have to say is not a person but society, culture or prejudices.

    3. I found it very difficult to answer the questions. The movie was all over the place. I just picked someone, and it was the Police Officer. Sometimes you just gotta guess!

  30. I did not pick this movie as my choice this week. I have seen it a few times and after reading Gary's worldview article I have a different opinion. This movie made my heart and mind confused as to why we have to have these issues. I liked how Gary spoke of Scripts passed on by others and we have to crash in order to understand why we see the word as we do. We will continue through the thousands of pre-conditioned decisions we make everyday or crash. My transformation currently is more understandable for me because of these movies and our study of worldview. Wow how we all have such a tough time because of our scripts. Sometimes I wish my parents would have had this type of education so they could have taught me more about the world. I guess since we have this opportunity it could be the time God is calling us to teach our youth about this issue and bring His way into our decison making.

  31. Although I did not care much for this movie I believe it did do a good job bringing up the topic. As Andre stated before me wether you admit it or not racism is a part of all of us. It may not be portayed like Sgt. Ryan often times it is more of an uncomfortable feeling usually based on a sterotype created by society as seen in Bullocks charactor and reaffirmed by Ludacris charactor. The movie did a good job spreading the resposibility among all groups not just demonizing one (50 year old bald white men) as so many do. I thought this was interesting because as I have several asian friends and they do not have to kind of words about other groups of asians just as cheadles squeeze didnt care for being called mexican in the movie. It showed racism as more of a cultural issue rather than a color issue.

    1. Hey Rich – I didn't care for the movie much either, but you're right that it does a good job at portraying prejudice against all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. I feel the same way that a lot of times movies (and the media in general) focus on the discrimination against black people by white people. But, this movie enlightens us to other aspects of discrimination. I think that's a powerful tool this movie draws upon to help people of all race/genders identify with it.

    2. Richard,

      I can kind of relate to some of your Asian friends. I'm not sure why I am not offended if someone was to call me a Japanese or Chinese (I'm Hmong), but perhaps my world view allows me to believe that it could be a common mistake. I'm sure most Minnesotans of European decedent would not be offended if someone thought they were Norwegian. I could be wrong but my world view allows me to see the good in people and believe that simple mistakes were not intended in malice.

    3. I agree, we all have some form of bias or racism and it has to do with society and the way we were raised. Growing up, my parents sheltered me and kept me away from other cultures and people of other races. I have come to realize that because of their actions I naturally formed a bias and a certain kind of discrimination. It has taken some time as an adult to change my worldview of people that have a different background or race. Now that I have 2 children of my own, I make sure to expose them to many different cultures and races as I do not want them to unintentionally form a bias or discriminate as I did growing up.

    4. You are so right on, in America we think of racism as white against some minority but racism and even prejedices is world wide. This movie did a good job of showing how peoples worldviews were influenced by their family views for example Sgt. Ryans was partly due to his experiences and his history.

  32. I learned from Crash that we all can take time to reflect on our own actions and interactions with others to determine if we are living out what we would like to. This movie reflected a great deal of racism which isn't always something we in Minnesota tend to think about but is a good topic for introspection. How do my actions reveal what I truly believe? Even though I believe I am completely neutral, what prejudices have creeped into my worldview over time? How often do I think like "Jean" or react like "Officer Ryan"? Experiences that get me out of my everyday routine help me to push these areas and change any misconceptions I might have about others. Expand your worldview!

    1. Well said Brianna – Expanding our worldview makes us realize that not everything is always as it seems.The locksmith's character shows this pretty well in the movie.

    2. I wish it were as easy as spreading the word for people to expand their worldviews. Know what I mean? I wish it didn't have to take inciting events such as accidents, life threatening illnesses, etc…to motivate people to change. People should want to do the "right" thing and want to treat people with the golden rule – do unto others…instead, we often need life changing events to knock some sense into us.

    3. Brianna,

      The questions that you ask yourself are proof that you are aware that we are at risk of becoming something that we do not want to be. And yes, in many areas of Minnesota there is not much diversity and therefore not much of an opportunity to see other's in their worldviews. A change in our map could really do us some good.

    4. I feel the same. Even though I see myself as being a neutral, non-racist party, I am sure there are times when I say things that stereotype people and perhaps even things that could be construed as racism. Being fair and just to all is something that all humans need to work on continually.

    5. Great observation on challenging your worldviews by breaking our everyday routines. It's easy to become blind to our prejudices or other shortcomings if we only interact with a limited number of people or follow the same routines.

    6. Well said, Brianna. Very few people want to believe that they are prejudiced, but I believe that most are. It may not be acted upon, and it may not be against *all* other people groups, but I think it's there to some degree or another. At some point, we all encounter someone from a group about which we have preconceived beliefs. It takes courage to look at what we honestly believe, and then choose not to act on it.

      Does anyone have a story about intentionally engaging a group about which you have prejudices, but you chose to put those aside? I'm hoping at some point this year to participate in leading worship in a prison. I tend to rest in the belief that "those people" belong "in there," instead of looking at them as fellow image-bearers.

  33. My experience of watching the movie "Crash" felt rather like going through a cyclone. The twirl of drama, relationships, and worldviews left my thoughts spinning and all a-jumble by the end of the movie. I find myself sorting things out and trying to put the pieces of the experience in perspective today. I was challenged by the intensity of relationships and circumstances which worked through the plot of the movie. Seeing clear depiction of prejudices and biases, as well as the subtleties of worldviews which influenced the characters in conflict was a bit shocking at times. That said, I also appreciated the attempt of the film-makers to touch upon so many influential perspectives which are part of the human experience. That we could see the influence of race/ethnicity, gender bias, communication, generational or relational conflict, economics, crime, family, and political or power imbalances (to mention a few) which set the stage for interpersonal or worldview conflicts betwene the characters was key. The movie provided opportunity to not only see the characters struggling through their circumstances, but also modeled transformation as several characters acted out their willingness to reconsider or change their views and responses. In particular, the characters Dan Ryan and Christine Thayer were prime examples of this. I so appreciated the comment in the article "Crash Goes the Worldview…" which speaks to this transformation: "Ryan and Christine each enter a new story, a story with different principles, and practices, and decisions. Their scripts (memes) change because they "crashed" into each other with sufficient force to jolt them out of their culturally transmitted roles". In a manner of interpretation and application, I think that is an excellent way to explain what happens to any of us who go through a significant change in our thinking, responses, or worldviews. It takes a "crash" of some sort to force a change in our relationships, our values, or or life-principles. This movie offered many opportunities to not only watch the intense dialogue between characters but to also do some personal introspection about values, biases, "scripts" (or memes) which influence my response to life. In essence, because I typically would not have chosen to watch this movie–it provided an example of a "crash" for me–because it took me way past my comfort level–to a new understanding of many struggles people face living in this complicated world. I also came face to face with the reality of my worldviews and life-experiences which may need some adjusting (or radical transformation) so as to more realistically and compassionately relate to people in all situations.

    1. Jelimb,
      You provided a good amount of honesty in your post and I think that is the first step for the adjusting or radical transformation you speak about, I am excited for you.
      You are right there is a twirl of drama and worldviews. I did not like the movie when I watched it a few years back because It made my heart ache and my head hurt, for I was challenged with the idea and need to ask myself: what can we do, what can be done, and why is this such a hard thing for people? All these questions contributed to my interest in Christian Ministries because I believe without Christ the possibility of understanding each other as equal brother and sisters in Christ on earth here will be impossible.
      Thanks for sharing your personal journey.
      Amy

    2. Hi Jelimb,
      Well written! I felt the same way too. Yet, I wonder, how posssible? But it's true! The hidden part of life has now come to the big screen that involves all walks of life, and those that never knew about it, has now come into reality. Many have had personal stories in connection with the examples in this movie. This is great on one hand (The transformation) but sad on the other (The radical lifestyle).

  34. Well…these are all good points, but to me this is how society really is. Much as I don't like to talk about race. This is how it is unfortunately. Crash show us that EVERYONE has a little racism in us. I was like that, especially since I moved to the Mid-West. I was shocked when I seen so much mix couples. In Philadelphia it was a dime to a dozen. If you see an black and white or any different races together it wasn't natural. Crash so us how racist we can be. Now as Christians are we bias like in the movie Crash? Somoe are and some aren't. We live in a world that religion isn't to get people tp Christ. It's lke the "word' is here, or my pastor brings the 'word' every Sunday. Or come to my Churchand hear the 'true word'. So who church is better that the other??

    1. Andre,
      Raciam is different for each indivudual and area, as you share. Good point to relate this topic to our duty as a Christ follower. Some people do not even realize the behave in a way that is racist to different people and cultures. Fear takes over and change is hard to handle for some. Jesus was the perfect example when He challenged the Pharasies. They did not like the change and maybe this could be similar to the way others react to culture differences. Jesus was able to show the true meaning of living through His Father and in the hearts of us all not just the perfect practicing important people or the perfect blood line. Thanks for sharing
      Amy

    2. Andre – I couldn't agree more with the your line of thinking – as Christians, how are we called to be different – in all ways, but also in the area of prejudiceness and bias. I think some Christians use the Bible as an excuse to judge those that are different from them. I think Christians are often guilty of judging people who are overweight, people with different lifestyles than their own, people with tattoos, etc…I think it's especially important as Christians to examine our hearts and lives and make sure we are treating people as Christ treated them – as people that need a redeemer. Christians shouldn't feel as if they are better people than those that are not saved.

  35. What I learned from "Crash" is that even though people may come from the same part of the country or have the same color skin, they each have their own stories which give them a different worldview. For example, Cameron and Christine even though they are married, don't realize what each other really thinks about authority, the police, or being black. I thought it was troubling that Ryan's supervisor was aware of his bias and his behavior and did not disapprove or do anything to stop it. I like to think that thoughtful people do not let the memes control them and can overcome their influences. I guess sometimes it has to be an event that changes us, like in Officer Ryan's case. Officer Graham and his brother turned out differently unfortunately. This movie has reminded me that I should be more patient and caring toward people, I do not know their stories.

    1. Hi Becky,
      You are right. Eventhough we may all come form the same place, our stories are completely different. We learn to grow from our own personal stories. Nobody undrestands our stories better than we ourselves. What we hope for is that our personal stories can make a difference in the world.

      1. It is difficult to watch this type of movie, because i think to a certain extent everyone can relate to the way the characters are feeling. It is sad that people act the way they expect people to believe they are going to act. The example of Cameron and Christine that you pointed out Becky, was a great example of that. There isn't a certain way that you should act based on your race or status, you are who you are. Cameron chose to be himself, and not let stereotypes take over his life.

  36. What I learned is that everyone comes with some form of a baggage, the sooner we realize that the sooner our life will be better. We never know if the person sitting behind us is getting a promotion or being laid off. We don't know if they are doing fine or just lost everything important in their life. We pass judgement too quickly and sometimes it's not even our place to do such thing. I heard of people who see a middle age father and his 5 year old son going through the checkout line using EBT card and people would make comments of why doesn't he get a job. Years later and I see those very same people now using EBT cards. When you asked them, "remember that father you question for using EBT". The would be speechless.

    1. Exactly Chong, we have no idea what is happening in someones life, nor do we have the right to judge others. I continue to work on this. But having come from very meager means to where we are today – living in the suburbs and "middle class" – it can all go away with a sustained job loss or major medical issue. I am thankful and do not take anything for granted.

    2. You have some good points. We do not know what is happening in people's lives. They always say you really don't know what someone is like until you live with them as in the case of the husand and wife and their response to each other when they were pulled over. We should not pass judgement on others because of their color or race. We should treat others and we would wanted to be treated just as the Lord commands us to do.

    3. Great illustration. It's easy to believe the what we see (i.e., someone using an EBT card, or acting in a way that we don't approve) is the sum of a person. However, unless we've taken the time to get to know a person, all we see is a snapshot. In reality, there were millions of choices that brought that person to that situation. Not just personal choices, but choices of everyone around us.

      I believe that's why God instructs us over & over again in scripture to decide *this day* what we will choose, life or death.

      1. Tom, I like your reference to the EBT card, as that happened to my wife and I after we adopted her two sisters and brother. It starts at the office of economic assistance, and continues to every establishment we used the card at. After only three months, we stopped using the program mostly due to the way we were treated. It did not matter that we were both gainfully employed and were keeping my wife’s siblings out of a dangerous environment. It is hard to gain acceptance from the “public”.

  37. The one scene that gets me every time is when the Persian Dad goes to seek revenge on the young Hispanic man and his daughter jumps in his arms just as the gun fired. I had forgotten that scene, and immediately started crying.

    1. Right! I saw it when it first came out and forgot about it…as soon as I remembered that "something" was going to happen I got nervous. Thank goodness for blank bullets! He was so stubborn and it was very frustrating to watch his inability to understand that he needed a new door. Such a small change would have made such a big difference…..but then in reality, if he had changed the door there would not be anything to write about.

    2. I had also forgotten this part of the movie and thought that he had killed the young girl. It is hard to believe that such small things like a door being broken can escalate due to a misunderstanding. Communication and a better insurance company would have helped alot in this story.

    3. I too started crying when I saw the Persian dad walking toward the young man. I instantely knew that something terrible was about to happen but thank God for blank bullets!!

    4. Yes, that scene is intense. If that were a real situation, it would be hard to argue that God was not in charge. The Persian man was given a lucky break and hopefully (again if this were real) learned something about himself and others.

    5. That scene is hard for me as well…but so are many scenes in the movie. I love how strong the locksmith is that despite how he is treated (by Sandra Bullock's character and by the Persian dad) he remains a strong person and a positive role model for his daughter.

  38. This was my 3rd viewing of this film. It is a great movie, but difficult to watch. Crash deals in a very realistic way, with the "isms" that are a part of our meme. We have all seen, heard or felt the effects of classism, racism and ageism on our worldview. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have biases about groups other than ourselves. For most of us, it will take an inciting event to make the necessary changes,to transform our thoughts and actions. I watched a reality TV show a couple of weeks ago, about people from different cultures staying at one another's homes to get a better understanding of each others culture. It was a black man from New York going to a small town with 0% black population. The gun-toting, Dad knew lots of "black facts", inspite of never meeting a black person in his life. He and his young adult son, were self described, rednecks. The bottom line of it is, these two men came together and learned about one another and respected one another. Their worldview was changed, thus their families were changed in the process. How fabulous is that?

    1. Kim,

      Wow–I am impressed with your succinct summary–particularly in your use of the words, "classism, racism, and ageism" which factor into our worldview. Many of the relational scenes in "Crash" portrayed elements of bias and the need for change in perspective and responses to relationships and circumstances. I found it interesting that my personal perspectives were influential in what I was expecting in the way of outcomes for the characters in the drama–and since I was wrong about a few things, I sensed a shift of my views by the time the story concluded.
      In general, I am finding that it is important to be willing to acknowledge that I struggle with some of the same issues of bias as what were portrayed in the movie–and to think about possible changes in my worldview and responses to relationships and circumstances.
      Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

    2. I was thinking about my biases and really thought I don't have any. Then I realized that I don't think that I am all that biased against people of color, but I really have some against people that have tattoos and funky hair and hair color and those that have lots of piercing. Yet from some of these people I have seen such acts of kindness and generosity. I work downtown Minneapolis so I see all kinds of people, but I seen "those" people give money to the people with their signs saying they have no job or whatever and their hands out, Folks that I just ignore walk by. They are often the first to open a door or show some other courtesy to me. I am being shown that I need to let go of biases and treat people as I would want to be treated.

    3. Hi Kim,
      How wonderful! This story leaves me speechless. It's a beautiful thing to actually see all of God's children seeing themselves in one another. Love is the key. When we learn to love as Christ did, we would never have this problem because God is love and He created us in His own image. Who are we to judge what others look like? When we get to know each other, then we learn from each other, that's how we build a strong community.

  39. After reading this article I thought about how I became who I was and what has enabled the changes in my life today. The word “imitation” is used in this post to help understand the definition of a meme, everything that is passed from person to person (by imitation). This process of memetics, giving birth to the “script” we follow, unconsciously influences our decisions in living out our story. Memes resists change. Sin resists change. Being so, I pray that we do not imitate what is evil but what is good. I pray that our Worldview becomes a Christ view with our journey’s goal being to “imitate” Jesus Christ and not the world.

    1. Bob,
      "Sin resists change." great observation. Change is difficult and most often painful, but usually a neccessary first step to moving forward.

      1. I agree with you Kim. Pealing every layer off the onion is difficult or painful but each layer must come off. Can't change a worldview while being dominated by the old self.

    2. Hi Bob,

      I loved your comment on what we imitate. I have seen so many people who go through bad events or even just bad luck in life and because those around them refuse to help, they turn around and become worst than those people. For example I have seen people move form rags to riches and when they have money, they refuse to help those in need because they feel no one help them so people need to learn just like they did. I love your comment, great point.
      -Chong

  40. I enjoyed this movie, yet it was very disturbing to watch. One character that I thought was profoundly damaged was Jean – (Sandra Bullock) when she needed help no one was there for her. All of her relationships and "friends" were superficial and it was hard for her to come to that realization. The only one there for her was the housekeeper and she was paid to be there.

    1. I agree with you Jeannie. Parts of this movie were disturbing. This process of change we all go through can be tough at times affecting our sensitivity to life. I noticed differences into the way people reacted to their changes in CRASH. Jean seemed to be much more sensitive and was reaching out for help and forgiveness (focusing on the past) while Anthony prided himself in what he has already accomplished as a man affected by change (focused on the present). Change affects people in different ways and at different speeds. What disturbed me the most was watching Hanson lack the power and courage to make the right decision after shooting Anthony. Doing the right thing isn't always easy and can cause some to CRASH. Life can be disturbing but at the same time God can turn us around and get us going into the right direction making life enjoyable.

      1. HI Bob, I agree with the Hanson aspect…very powerful and disturbing! He was so jaded at that point that he thought there was no way that a black man would be in to country music, or appreciate St. Christopher….then to over react and kill him when he was just trying to show that they had so many things in common was very sad.

        1. This was the most disturbing part of the movie for me as well. Without his badge Ryan was very timid, considering how he acted earlier in the day with Terrance Howard.

      2. I found that incident very disturbing to, for a cop to be so quick with the gun to shoot and kill someone and then cover it up. Another crash. these two young men did have a lot of things in common and a lot of the same likes and yet the one with the most power and the most to loose, really lost his soul in this incident. That is character, what you do when no one is looking.

        1. Yes this scene was disturbing and Ryan, his partner along with the previous events that took place in the movie made an impact on the situation that took place. That being said the man was a police officer and the guy was acting hostile wether he started it or not and was reaching into his pocket. I think that instinct had a part to play in this as much as race. Cops like to see your hands at all times and unfortunatley this is a result of the shots being fired in the other direction. Dont pick up strangers.

    2. Jeannie,
      I found that to be sad, too. Money can't buy everything and social status does not mean you will have lots of friends.

    3. Hi Jeannie,

      I agree with you and even then she didn't even treat the maid very well either. Those are people that I feel only knows you because they feel they have to. Personally, I want people around me who wants to be around me, not because they feel they have to.

      -Chong

    4. Jeannie, Yes, I agree that this movie was "disturbing to watch". I did not know what to expect–and I found that the intensity was a bit much to absorb. That said, I feel I may need to watch it again–perhaps a little more objectively rather than getting caught up in the drama of it all, and so that I can gain a better understanding of what was happening with the characters. I was also interested to see Jean in her "lonely hour" of need. I wondered if both she and the housekeeper had to change their worldview and perspective as they experienced a powerful human connection which seemed to transcend previous boundaries. (seeing the hug that wouldn't let go) Perhaps the universal "human need" for connection is something we all wrestle with in some manner or another. Thanks for your post.

    5. This movie was disturbing to watch. Jean was so self absorbed and her friends were just like her. It took her own "crash" to the bottom of the steps to start to realize what her "friends" really were. That she considered her housekeeper her best friend is very sad. I wonder how many people are like? I know at least one person that doesn't really have any friends, he has lots of money like Jean but no friends. Life is not all about me.

    6. You are right! Jean's character really learned this the hard way. Sometimes we under-looked people that are truly there for us and care about us just because of their status.

    7. as unfortunate as it can be some times it take something bad to happen in your life to show you who your really friends really are. Sometime they are the one's you least expect

    8. Jeannie, Ii is sad how superficial people can be, but what I found out is you real freinds come out
      when you go through a crisis. It might turn out to be only one or two people, but that is all you need. I think families should be the primary support system, but that doesn't always work out either.

    9. I agree that fact that Sandra's character had no one to turn to despite the fact that she seems to "have it all." Money and status doesn't give you happiness.

      1. During that scene, all I could think of was the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, when the whole town come out in support of George Baily. Very impactful when you put it into context of how each of them lived their lives.

  41. What I learned from this movie is that people sometimes don't see things through the same lens as others until they actually live through a similar circumstance. I also believe that a true charactor of a person unveils when that person is faced with a stressful situation and is forced to react under pressure when nobody else is watching or knows what's going on. To me the racist cop (Officer Ryan) turned out to be somebody completely different, which brought him to a point where he saw his father through a new set of eyes ( i.e. his father's pain) that enabled him to be a new man towards his father.

    1. My perception of a person tends to be shallow minded at times especially when I don't know the person very well. In this movie, being just a trailer of each person's entire journey, the more time the producer let a character be exposed the less critical I tended to be of that person. God knows us pretty good. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Knowing God gives me hope to stand on and the compassion to treat others like he treats me. God was at work in this movie. Something I questioned myself about was how permanent or temporary the changes were in these people who CRASHED in the movie. I saw racism being used as a representation of sin. People get shocked into behavioral change but I look back at how I have CRASHED and the changes I went through were only temporary. Getting so sick and tired of CRASHING brought me before the Lord. Before I took up Christ's yoke, after the shock waves of CRASHING subsided I always returned to doing things the way my old self dictated. What I did get was a foretaste and hunger for change and the sensation of the Lord's presence. My redundant experiences convinced me I could not change on my own. Thank God for the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Your post got me thinking, Ronelle. I had to write it down.

      1. I think that is one of the key points Paul Haggis (writer-director) is trying to make. If we really knew each other's situations would be a lot more compassionate.

        1. I would also agree. In the past if someone was not working or laid of you wondered what was wrong with the person or maybe they were just lazy. Well recent economic conditions have shown alot of people this situation. Its a real eye opener when your the one in that situation. But on the brightside I am getting alot of homework done today, hopefully have work tommorow.

        2. That statement, "If we really knew each other's situations we would be a lot more compassionate" is so logical and obvious, but this movie did such a tremendous job of pointing out how so many of us don't think like that on a regular basis. I saw myself in a few of the character's actions and was ashamed knowing that I may react as they did in some of the situations. Following the characters makes me rethink my tendency to make snap judgements based on a person's appearance without really getting to know their individual situation. Although it is a hard movie to watch (even the 3rd time) I know I learn something about myself every time I see it.

          1. everyone is guilty of making snap judgments about others based on our experiences, whether right or wrong. But i think the important things is for us to see these preconceived judgments that we make and learn from them to become better individuals, not only to ourselves but to others.

    2. His transformation seemed to soften his heart. Seeing the effects of his actions, the woman he assaulted would rather stay in a burning car than risk being assaulted again by him, she didn't see him as a person there to help, but someone she could not trust.

    3. Hi Ronelle,

      I agree with you about going through similar circumstances however, I would challenge the issue that we are to show each other with love and respect. I understand the frustration Office Ryan was going through however, that does not give him the right to abuse his power. I tell alot of teens that just because people were racist to you does not mean that you stop caring and stop respecting people. But you are right, once he saw it then his perception and life completely changed.

      -Chong

    4. Ronelle, I liked your mention of the "lens" through which we see things–and how this influences our worldviews and responses to situations we experience. How true! It is easy to have an element of tunnel vision–and not be able to comprehend the broader view of a circumstance. We also can easily make snap judgements or respond to difficulties in a manner which isn't the result of a clear view of the situation. Our worldview and past experiences certainly factor into how we navigate difficult circumstances. The movie "Crash" was full of examples of characters struggling with their perspectives and responses to relationships and difficult circumstances. Thanks for your insight!

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