"The majority of whites are probably genuinely convinced that America is a color-blind society, and that equal opportunity is a reality."
Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes about Crash, the Oscar winner for Best Movie, and contends that it deserved to win because it forces both blacks and whites to confront our racial stereotypes. He claims what makes the picture unique is the black perceptions of the stereotypes. He says:
If many whites think racial equality is a reality, that's more proof to many blacks that whites are in deliberate racial denial. But many whites don't claim blacks are treated equally simply to mask their racial hostility to blacks. They no longer see "Whites only" signs and redneck Southern cops unleashing police dogs, turning fire hoses on and beating hapless black demonstrators. Whites turn on their TVs and see legions of black newscasters and talk show hosts, topped by TV's richest and most popular celebrity, Oprah Winfrey.
He expands on this with more descriptions of black successes and then offers an alternate view of the world of white people:
On the other hand, many blacks erroneously assume that whites live an Ozzie-and-Harriet life of bliss and are immune to personal and social angst. They are puzzled when middle-class whites shoot up their suburban schools, and neighborhoods, bludgeon their children in their homes, use and deal drugs, have high suicide rates and commit bizarre anti-social acts. They don't hear and see whites' pain.
While I understand he is writing solely about the complexity of black-white relations, Hutchinson does leave out the Latino and Asian characters in the film who also are victims of racial stereotyping and conflict. He doesn't actually come out and say it, but my conclusion is that whites and blacks, along with Latinos and Asians --poor, low income, and middle class -- are both being subjected to common pressures by a world that is not very generous to them, a corporate and political world that inflicts pain on them in ways that ought to unite them.
A mix of economic slippage, political cynicism and personal alienation, not blind racial hatred drives much of white anger toward blacks. An equal mix of personal alienation, false perception and distrust drives much of black anger toward whites. That's the not-so-subtle message of "Crash."
There is a compelling interest for the ruling corporatocracy to keep us divided, preserving as many racial, social and religious divisions as possible. As long as we are not united in our opposition to corporate economic and political hegemony, we will be fighting the wrong battles.