Power In "Crash"

Essay by Crisis93A-, September 2014

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Jamal Gittens Cohen

Eng 101 9 April 2014

In the critically acclaimed "Crash", Paul Haggis sought above all else to tap into contemporary America's racial dynamic through contrarian analysis of our own prejudices (Haggis "Paul Haggis on Crash".). Crash relies heavily on themes of racism and above all, power; nowhere is this more evident than in the profound dialogue between Cameron and Anthony. Though the two are on opposite ends of the spectrum in life, Cameron gives Anthony an alternative outlook on himself and the effect of his actions. Cameron's power originates from an antiquated feeling of inferiority and subservience exacerbated by several key events within the narrative. Cameron's power is exerted upon Anthony in the form of an almost paradoxical diatribe aimed at a group of police officers and later, Anthony himself. This guides Anthony's hand in decisions later on and sets the backdrop for the expletive-laden finale.

On the surface, Cameron Thayer stands as a testament to the assertion that we live in a post racial America, that racial dichotomy and prejudice are obsolete social constructs that went the way of Jim Crow. Thayer lives in Studio City, Los Angeles, is gainfully employed as a TV director and is happily married, the beginning of his story has him cruising down Ventura Boulevard in a luxury SUV. Cameron's opening segment plays out much like a piece of early antebellum literature. Cameron, a black man, is pulled over and ordered out of his vehicle by two armed white policemen, humiliated in the street before his wife. The traffic stop takes a grotesque turn when one of the officers begin to molest Cameron's wife, Christine, in front of him. Cameron puts up no fight, fearing that he'll be arrested, or worse, killed. In Cameron it gives birth to,