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Reaction Paper on Crash

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Race, discrimination, prejudice, institutional racism and institutional discrimination are all problems in today’s society. It is something that is impossible to avoid. We are all victim’s of this matter along with all being guilty. We all believe something of ours is better than anybody else’s. We judge people when we first see them. Judging people by the cover is something we as humans automatically do, even if we do not ever say our thoughts out loud it does happen.

Race is physical characteristics that allow individuals or groups to be singled out, often for differential treatment(Roberts and Ballentine). Discrimination is differential treatment of and harmful actions against minorities(Roberts and Ballentine). Prejudice is when attitude the prejudge a group, usually negative and not based on facts(Roberts and Ballentine). Institutional racism involves discrimination that is hidden within the system, and symbolic racism allows it to remain in place(Roberts and Ballentine). Institutional discrimination is a normal or routine part of the way an organization operates(Roberts and Ballentine).

In the movie Crash Officer John Ryan is a Caucasian middle aged man. Ryan lives at home with his sick father. He is trying to help out his father. He is a police officer for the Los Angeles police department. He is not married. He has no kids. In this movie Ryan has no other family that is known of.

Officer John Ryan is rasicst to all who is not white. Ryan’s father hired many African American people to work for him so Ryan believes that he is above all African Americans. When two African Americans are driving down the street Ryan decides to pull them over. Ryan interrogates them both then ask them to get out of the car. He searches the male first. While searching the women he reaches up he skirt and touches her in sexual ways, forcing her husband to watch.

Later on in the movie there is a car accident with a car upside down leaking gas and the other car is on fire. Ryan arrives at the scene and runs to the car to help the lady out of her car that is upside down. The lady realizes it was the cop that touched her sexually and started screaming “NO. NO. ANYONE ELSE, PLEASE! ANYONE ELSE!” Ryan realizes who she is and there is an instant look of guilt on his face. He tells her he is going to help her. At this point the gas from her car is moving toward the car that is on fire. The other people around realize this and start pulling Ryan out of the car. While they are trying to get him out he is fighting them. When they finally get him out he runs back in the car, grabs the women and runs back out with her. I believe he realized that even if you are not white you deserve to live.

During this movie Ryan’s father has been sick for a month. Ryan calls his fathers insurance company to try and figure things out. When he finds out that the insurance lady is of African decent it turns into a race matter. He explains to the lady that his father should be treated better because when he ran his business he hired blacks. The insurance lady is not interested in who his father hired. She try’s to explain to Ryan that there is nothing she can do. Ryan shows up at the insurance office and is still demanding better insurance. I was impressed on how the insurance lady did not care about the racial things he was saying.

Throughout the movie Officer John Ryan learns a lot of lessons. He learns that he is not above anyone. He learns that everyone has feelings. If I could tell Officer John Ryan anything it would be that it took him to long to realize everyone is equal. Also, that I am glad he did it on his own, because some people never realize it. It takes strength and courage to change your opinion on something so powering in this country. He may have made poor decisions in the beginning of the movie but at the end of the movie he proves that he wants to change his ways.


Ballantine, J.H. & Roberts, K.A. (2010). Our social world: condensed version. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press. Haggis, Paul & Yari, Bob. 2004. Crash. United States: Lions Gate Films.

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