Living on a Dollar
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBjoQi1p21Q
The House I Live In
Prompt: The House Prompt
Prompt: The 13th Prompt
Video Link: Film is available on Netflix or please try this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krfcq5pF8u8
The True Cost
Prompt: True Cost Prompt
Prompt: Miss Representation Prompt
Prompt: White People
Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matters Movement
Prompt: Social Problem_Stay Woke Prompt
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIoYtKOqxeU
Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood and American Culture
Prompt: Tough_Guise 2
Video Link: https://elac.kanopy.com/video/tough-guise-2
Running head: SOCIOLOGICAL INSIGHT 1: CRASH 1
SOCIOLOGICAL INSIGHT 1: CRASH 7
Sociological Insight 1: Crash
Renato Jimenez, M.A.
Sociological Insight 1: Crash
People in modern society live in a racially diverse reality in which perspectives of other people are often skewed by learned attitudes and stereotypical representations of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. These pre-existing notions regarding the expected behavior of others influence the ways people act towards others and how they approach situations in which they interact with those from other cultural backgrounds that differ from their own (Cassidy, Sprout, Freeman, & Krendi, 2017). Pop culture provides a window into the real-life impacts that these prejudices have, with movies telling compelling stories that show these interactions in action. Crash, a 2004 film written and directed by Paul Haggis, dramatizes race relations to reflect the ways racial backgrounds shape the lives of people in modern American society. Although the film is a fictional account and does not report on actual occurrences, its adherence to depicting realistic interracial interactions makes it highly useful as a lens through which one can view racial relations in the USA. Overall, the movie shows how one’s racial background could not only influence his or her perspective of who one is but also inform the prejudices that one has when interacting with people of other races.
How the Film Demonstrates the Role of Race in Shaping Perceptions
Crash depicts its characters in different situations that reveal the impact race has on their perceptions of others. From a sociological perspective, conflict between different groups can exist whenever there is some potential for inequality (OpenStax College, 2012). In the movie, conflict remains the underlying theme that ties the characters together. For instance, Rick and Jean, a Caucasian couple, are apprehensive of Peter and Anthony, who are African Americans, and their fears are affirmed when the young men carjack the couple; ironically, Anthony laments racial prejudices and yet reaffirms them through his actions. Conversely, Daniel, a Hispanic locksmith, faces challenges since some of his customers fear he does his job to identify potential targets for burglaries. Ryan, a Caucasian policeman, has prejudices against African Americans because affirmative action destroyed his father’s business. In all these cases, pre-existing prejudices create conflicts between the characters. However, the film maintains a reconciliatory theme of structural functionalism, which prioritizes social integration (Singh, 2017). Cross-cultural exchanges lead to an appreciation of the value of other races, such as when Ryan saves Christine after assaulting her and her husband earlier in the story. Therefore, although racial prejudices may be part of everyday American experiences, experiences that require people to disregard race and cooperate are pivotal in ensuring the overall unity of American society.
The Most Compelling Relationships in the Film
The characters in Crash have different backgrounds that reflect the cultural diversity of the American population, and the film thereby focuses on their stories with relative equality rather than emphasizing a singular narrative. One of the most compelling representations is the relationship between Christine and Ryan. Ryan stops Christine and Cameron, who are African Americans, and sexually assaults the woman while requiring Cameron to choose between apologizing to Ryan or risk the couple spending the night in jail. The couple lives a sheltered life, and this run-in exposes them to the reality that many African Americans face today. However, Ryan risks his life to save Christine after she has an accident, which shatters their perceptions of each other. Cameron’s reaction to the humiliation Ryan caused him is the moment that helps to explain one of my friends’ avoidance of authority figures whenever he can. Among others, Cameron’s case showed me how racial prejudices rob African Americans of their agency, particularly due to long-standing conflicts between them and their Caucasian counterparts. Consequently, such episodes show how other people’s prejudices can influence one’s decisions, and although reconciliation remains a possibility, pre-existing race-related trauma will always hinder the creation of an unbiased society.
How the Film Reflects American Society
Although the events in Crash mirror real-life interracial interactions, some of its depictions are a bit far-fetched and outright fictional. Its overall take on racial relations is reasonably accurate, whereby it shows how living in a bubble of prejudice, whether as a perpetrator or as a victim, determines the way one expresses one’s racial identity. The story depicts racial tensions as circumstantial and dependent on historical personal and group interactions with other races. However, Craig and Richeson (2016,) maintain that conflict and shared experiences have an overriding influence on people’s prejudices. Realistically, the aggression that Cameron showed to police officers after his humiliating encounter with Ryan would have ended with him dead had it occurred in real life. The reality is that racial tensions lie underneath the veneer of political correctness, and placing a person in a disagreeable situation exposes the person’s perspective of racial constructs (Singh, 2017). Civility ties American society together, and people expect decorum from others in attempts to achieve equality and unity in a multiracial nation. However, this functionalist milestone remains unachieved since, in real life, being on the receiving end of discrimination and power imbalances linked to one’s racial identity strengthens the in-group mentality that fuels racial conflict.
Personal Experience with Racial Prejudices
Living in a society in which race constantly features as a topic of conversation has led me to understand the impact of stereotypes on people’s behavior and attitude towards individuals from other cultural and racial backgrounds. For instance, people always expect individuals of Asian descent to have exceptional academic skills while Caucasian people from southern states such as Alabama are expected to have no problem expressing their racial prejudices openly. However, I have found that interacting with people is the only way to develop a good understanding of their character. Prejudices and presuppositions are part of how we assume other people’s nature to guide our decisions (Cassidy et al., 2017). In my case, I used to believe that Native Americans would be boring to spend time with due to pop culture depictions of their traditionalism and negative attitudes towards Caucasians. This illusion was shattered when a Native American family moved into our neighborhood. My friends and I ran into one of the younger family members skating, and aside from having a funny second name, Joshua liked many of the same things we did, and the friendship we developed remains strong today. This was among the formative interactions that made me question my prejudices and endeavor to rise above them when interacting with others.
Racial tensions are inevitable in a racially diverse society, which is a reality that applies to the racial conflict in the USA. Crash brings the issue of race to the fore by relaying stories about the difficulties that people face when navigating American life, and the film succeeds because it shows how prejudices shape self-identity and one’s perceptions of other people. The symbolic-functionalist perspective best describes the relationships between the characters, with conflict theory explaining the choices they make in encounters that touch upon or require the expression of their racial identities. The film shows how sustained prejudice, such as the misconceptions that place African Americans and authorities on opposing sides, perpetuate racial conflict and invalidate the narrative of civility that modern society espouses. In the film, as in reality, interracial interactions remain the only effective way to help people to overcome their racial prejudices and mitigate the risk that sustained conflict has on social cohesion. Therefore, although Crash is a fictional account of racial relations in the USA, its depictions are very accurate and point to the need to discuss and overcome racial prejudices rather than hiding these divisive presuppositions under a veneer of political correctness.
Cassidy, B. S., Sprout, G. T., Freeman, J. B., & Krendl, A. C. (2017). Looking the part (to me): effects of racial prototypicality on race perception vary by prejudice. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(4), 685-694.
Cheadle, D. (Producer), Harris, M. R. (Producer), Moresco, B. (Producer), Schulman, C. (Producer), Yari, B. (Producer), & Haggis, P. (Director). (2004). Crash [Motion Picture]. United States: Lionsgate Films.
Craig, M. A., & Richeson, J. A. (2016). Stigma-based solidarity: Understanding the psychological foundations of conflict and coalition among members of different stigmatized groups. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(1), 21-27.
OpenStax College. (2012). Introduction to sociology. Houston, TX: Rice University.
Singh, V. (2017). Race, the condition of neo-liberalism. Social Sciences, 6(3), 84-99.
Point Total: 48-50
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: Clearly addresses all topics and responds effectively and thoroughly to all aspects of the assignment
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: explores the issues showing thorough reflection and understanding of connections between personal experience, course content and film’s theme; effectively seeks to understand concepts and course material by critically examining possible relationships between material and film content
Use of Film Details/Examples: Rich supporting details relating film content to course that enhance the effectiveness of communication; ideas supported by apt evidence/examples; is coherently and logically organized
Organization: Is coherently and logically organized (i.e. stays on target with the topic); expresses logical progression between ideas; careful and effective transitions
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: Is generally free from errors in mechanics, usage, and sentence structure Paper meets length requirements & material needing citation is appropriately cited
Point Total: 45-47:
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: Clearly addresses all topics, by may respond to some aspects of the assignment more effectively and thoroughly than others, but still demonstrates a clear understanding of requirements.
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: demonstrates depth and complexity in exploring the issues while showing some reflection and understanding of connections between personal experience, course content and film’s theme, but may be somewhat limited; response shows evidence of synthesis and sociological/theoretical knowledge, but it is somewhat limited
Use of Film Details/Examples: Details are specific and relevant to course material, while also enhancing the effectiveness of communication. Use of appropriate reasoning and examples is present, but limited.
Organization: Is well organized; relationships among ideas is assisted by transitions and logical progression of ideas
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: May have a few errors in mechanics, usage, and sentence structure; Paper meets length requirements & material needing citation is appropriately cited
Point Total: 40-44:
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: Clearly addresses all topics, but may respond to some aspects of the assignment more effectively and thoroughly than others
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: may treat the topic simplistically or repetitively, but still demonstrates sufficient and/or deep reflection and/or analysis; seeks to under concepts by examining relationships in simplistic (unidirectional) ways.
Use of Film Details/Examples: Details are adequate and relevant; claims and observations are mostly supported with reasons and adequate examples, but may be limited in their application.
Organization: is adequately organized; relationships among ideas are mostly clear, but may be conveyed inconsistently at times.
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: May have some errors in mechanics, usage, and sentence structure, but generally demonstrates control of all; Paper may only meet either length requirements or citation of material/references.
Point Total: 35-39:
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: indicates some confusion about the topics or neglects important aspects of the assignment; doesn’t answer all questions and slights some aspects of the assignment
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: clearly lacks some focus and demonstrates confused or simplistic thinking; may fail to communicate ideas effectively; response shows little evidence of synthesis or personalization of ideas, insights gained or hoped for as a result of watching the film are unclear or limited.
Use of Film Details/Examples: Details may lack elaboration and are not clearly related to course material; important details and support in the form of examples are underdeveloped.
Organization: May be poorly organized and points jump around-lacks logical presentation; relationships between ideas is presented.
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: May be marred by an accumulation of errors in mechanics, usage and sentence structure; paper may only meet either the required length or citations of references.
Point Total: 30-34:
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: indicates confusion about the topics or neglects important aspects of the assignment
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: clearly lacks focus, demonstrates confused or simplistic thinking or fails to communicate ideas effectively; response shows little to no evidence of synthesis or personalization of ideas, insights gained or hoped for as a result of watching the film are unclear or limited.
Use of Film Details/Examples: Details lack elaboration and are not clearly related to course material; important details and support in the form of examples are underdeveloped.
Organization: May be poorly organized and points jump around-lacks logical presentation; relationships between ideas is presented.
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: Is marred by an accumulation of errors in mechanics, usage and sentence structure; paper may only meet either the required length or citations of references.
Point Total: 29 and Below:
Responsiveness to Topics and Questions: Suggests an inability to comprehend the assignment or to respond meaningfully to the topics.
Sociological/Theoretical analysis and Reflection: Is superficial, demonstrates no reflection, shows no relevant analysis. Response shows no evidence of synthesis or personalization of ideas presented and insights gained throughout the film or course content.
Use of Film Details/Examples: Few relevant, course-related details are present; examples and evidence is absent.
Organization: Ideas are presented in an unrelated, illogical way; difficult to follow author’s thought process
Control of Mechanics, Paper Length and Proper References: Has serious and persistent
errors in word choice, mechanics, usage, and sentence structure Paper does not meet length and is missing necessary citations
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