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Sociological Perspectives in the Movie Crash

Introduction and Thesis

In diverse perspectives, what are the arguments for and against societal orientations toward race, class, family, and gender? Regarding differing interpretations of these concepts, several social theories are discussed. Crash (2004) is a drama about race, gender, class, and family in Los Angeles. The narrative of the film focuses on elucidating and clarifying various aspects of bias, stereotypes, and the perceptions of various individuals. The most intrusive topic that governs the narrative is the attributions and perceptions of various individuals and studies the issue of racial relations in America in a way that previous works have not done. Crash examines the social fabric of the United States and the impact and ramifications of racism on society. Crash raises difficult issues about racism in America and challenges popular perceptions of the issue and is rich in societal issues. The study examines many scenes from the film and analyses how they portray some of the society’s most crucial elements as well as the social theory or model that they perpetuate. The film Crash appears to show that racism is due to misinterpretation and ignorance, instead of hateful dispositions, as is commonly assumed. The film covers a range of sociological viewpoints from a social stance, including social conflict, symbolic interactions, and stigma theory to highlight how ignorance and misunderstanding may lead to racist behaviour.

Theories and Concepts

W.E.B DuBois-Race Conflict Theory

The race conflict theory is one of the sociological ideas that is popular in the film Crash. DuBois’s Race Conflict Theory focuses on racial inequality and conflict as a method to understand disparity and tension among different racial and ethnic groups (Appelrouth and Edles 2021). The best way to understand human social behaviour is to look at tensions between various groups over topics like power and resource distribution, such as money, housing, political representation, and access to services The tensions between diverse individuals belonging to diverse social groupings lead them into conflict and, on occasion, dependency positions, as depicted in the film (Bobo 1999). Anthony and Pete are proponents of this notion. The social conflict perspective may be viewed as generating a scenario in which those with fewer material resources in society are obliged to participate in criminal activity. Anthony and Peter rob a white couple’s automobile at the start of the movie. These two characters’ social interactions suggest that they are lacking in some resources in their life, which ultimately compels them to engage in this immoral activity. The two think that stealing from white people is the only way they can make up for their lack of resources.

Dubois attributes this factors to several factors such as double consciousness; the concept of being exposed to racialized oppression and discredit in a white-dominated society. Basing on the actions of the white majority towards the minority characters in the movie, double consciousness can be used to explain these issues. According to Dubois, the concept of color line is based on the immediate outcomes of abolition of slavery over the Black Americans. This facet is enhanced in the movie plot through the strictness of class and associations that are brought out. In the movie, all the White individuals are assuming lives that do not conform to “lower class”. The lack of Black individuals in various sectors of the society covered by the movie prove that the White race in the movie rules over the black individuals. The prejudice that Anthony faces from the White lady for instance, regardless of the fact that he finally stole the car, present a realistic need for the colored people in the movie to experience double consciousness. The Latino guy who works for the White lady also has to go through macroaggressions because of his identity, ethnicity, and the physical appearance (tattoos).

Anthony appears to have a bad attitude toward white people, and it’s easy to presume that he grew up in an area where the black race was treated as second-class citizens. As a result, he has a profound loathing for white people, viewing them as racists who deserve to be treated badly. When he sees the white woman, he believes she is racist and attempts to persuade his partner to share his opinion. He also considers the fact that a coffee shop server did not give him coffee to be a racist act, even though he does not drink coffee. The economic endowment differences between these two factions makes it possible for the individuals to be suspected, stereotyped, and associated with proletariat viewpoints. Throughout the film, there is constant tension. Although citizens in this country advocate principles like democracy, freedom, and equality, they equally accept racism and group prejudice, according to Du Bois (Appelrouth and Edles 2021). Towards the conclusion, the characters attempt to exhibit equality to those whom they had previously discriminated against.

Max Weber-Symbolic Interaction Theory

Several disclosures in the film live the arguments of symbolic interaction, much as Weber’s initial theory on the prevalence of social classes and the development of a social link made up of like-minded individuals did. Throughout the film, many elements and events are scattered about to demonstrate the tight link between social strata and specific economic standing. Class, according to Weber (2021), is seeded in bureaucracy whereby it is inherently determined by the corresponding outcomes in individual economic standing (Appelrouth and Edles 2021). The diverse interactions that the many races experience in the film are based on the drive to achieve a position and authority to dominate others and instil reasoning among the minority races. Mexicans, for example, are employed to undertake informal work since they come from a lower socioeconomic class. This factor can also be used to explain Weber’s argument on employment based on qualifications. However, in the society depicted in the movie, racial and ethnicity outcomes happen to be vital qualification necessities. Here, Mexicans are for instance, not considered for any formal employment because they have not been granted equal opportunities to access the services that can extend them the necessary qualifications. Besides, the police officers who earn the jobs out of this societal outcomes, aggravate the situation by further abusing and profiling victims. They go ahead to even kill some of the individuals. This also represents utter impersonality that is inherent in a department that should be fronting for human rights. According to Weber, the basis of bureaucracy dictate that all individuals are supposed to be equally treated. However, the incidents that conform to the Whites-only restaurant for instance reveal a bureaucracy setting that is adjusted to serve the Whites alone. Besides, Weber fronts that predictability within any bureaucratic system makes an individual to receive a constant treatment no matter the location. The minority races in the movie receive the same treatment from the Whites regardless of where they happen to be, and the reasons behind their presence.

The acts of the Whites in the movie crash were motivated by logic and efficiency rather than the desire to uphold morals, as revealed by Weber’s concept in terms of logic (Appelrouth and Edles 2021). For example, the white restaurant has a reputation of serving exclusively white clients, and any African American customers who happen to visit the establishment are automatically rejected. The principles of morality and prudence are absent in this situation, with white consumers enjoying preferential treatment. The management of such establishments (in this example, the white restaurant) is centred only on whites, with whites having a clear advantage in choosing the results that occur in the diner. In the film, the white majority makes the decisions that determine what is good and what is wrong. Additionally, Weber argues that rationalization and specific qualifications form the basis for discrimination at the workplaces that conform to these societies. In the movie, racial basis is the first exclusionary factor that puts non-White employees away from, for instance, the Whites-only restaurant.

Erving Goffman-Dramaturgy

According to Goffman (2021), dramaturgy is the idea that life is like a never-ending play, and everyone are actors. In the movie crash there are characters who have characteristics that are publicly despised and rejected by society for being just who they are. Because of this they would fall under Goffman’s commonly known term Front “When an actor takes on an established social role, usually he finds that a particular front has already been established” (Appelrouth and Edles 2021). Goffman goes on to say that the liberation of this concept leads to the deterioration of people’s identity. Dramaturgy is used in practically every part of the film to authentically depict the comprehension of this idea. Pre-existing American race stereotypes are broken down into day-to-day happenings in Los Angeles, and in the characters of various races.

The emergence of dramaturgy is placed in the interaction storyline of the movie, where the discriminating officer and his partner confront numerous challenges that will bring their prejudice to the surface (Bobo 1999). The black auto thieves who steal from the district attorney and his white wife, Jean, are introduced. The narrative of the film can highlight this viewpoint with the sexist police detective due to the interaction and choosing of these characters. Thayer is another character who is unfazed about having a high-maintenance wife. Essentially, the film follows the socially conscious theatre dramaturgy of the 1930s and 1940s in the United States. Furthermore, it is impossible to distinguish between the characters’ true selves and their public personas. Ryan, for example, humiliates Christine, forcing her husband to support the wickedness. Ryan, for example, humiliates Christine, forcing her husband to support the wickedness. After that, Ryan is portrayed as a flawed character that serves as a protagonist for the other characters.

The movie clearly exposes the higher understanding of the oversimplified stereotypes in the U.S. The movie is carefully set on the specific actions of the individuals through its performance. Such goes deep into creating the said characters say for instance the police officer pair. While making sure that the on-screen actions represented the inherent racial differences, the movie also keenly accounts for the dress code and the private lives of the police officers. The officer behaves more worse when dealing with his victims than when in company of his partner. These factors are clearly brought out through dramaturgy. Besides, supporting sections of the movie such as the cinematography and cinematic effects make it possible to see the extents of segregation that the individuals face.


All the interconnected stories in this film revolve on one central theme: how people react when presented with stressful situations like crime, shootings, and car accidents. The film does a fantastic job of interweaving other storylines into the main plot. “Crash” asks a basic yet important question: in our society, how can we differentiate between good and evil? Everyone reacts differently to different situations, and we all have a negative side that manifests itself at trying times (Ferrare and Phillippo 2020). Crash also confronts challenging topics of racism in America and contradicts conventional notions of racism by revealing that prejudice is created by misunderstanding and ignorance, rather than by bitter individuals, as is usually believed. As can be seen, the movie incorporates a wide range of societal topics and ideas. These don’t just pertain to race; they also apply to gender, social status, ethnicity, and age. In this approach, the film efficiently penetrates the core of the American social fabric and displays its most conspicuous characteristics and attributes. To summarize, we all rely on one another, and our actions are influenced by the actions of others. Communication between people of diverse cultures is quite difficult. Diversity encourages mistrust, antagonism, uncertainty, and hatred. Because of fear and ignorance, this results in xenophobia and racism (Ferrare and Phillippo 2020). After all the anticipation, the film leaves the audience with a sense of reflection and hope that social involvement not only heals but also educates, encouraging the viewers to be a better person.


Appelrouth, Scott and Laura Desfor Edles. 2021. Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory: Text and Readings. Los Angeles, Ca: SAGE.

Bobo, Lawrence D. 1999. “Prejudice as Group Position: Micro foundations of a Sociological Approach to Racism and Race Relations.” Journal of Social Issues 55(3):445–72.

Ferrare, Joseph J. and Kate Phillippo. 2021. “Conflict Theory, Extended: A Framework for Understanding Contemporary Struggles Over Education Policy.” Educational Policy 089590482110425.

Whelan, Joe. 2020. “Specters of Goffman: Impression Management in the Irish Welfare Space.” Journal of Applied Social Science 15(1):47–65.


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