Good Example Of Essay On Cultural Tension In The Movie “Crash.”

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture, Crime, Police, Tension, People, Wife, Family, Women

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/03


Cultural tension refers to the feeling of anxiety and mistrust of each other between members of two different cultures. Cultural tension is usually due to stereotypes people attach to members of other cultures (Warren 216). A lot of these stereotypes are usually due to ignorance of the other people’s culture, leading to misunderstanding between cultures. Many people usually do not bother understanding other people, regarding them as inferior or unworthy, and most stereotypes are usually very negative, demeaning and mostly not true. These stereotypes form the basis on which people became prejudiced and discriminated against with cases of racism occurring. Cultural tension in a society affects members of the community in different ways and results in a number of unforeseen and interconnected consequences that ripple through the entire community.
The movie “Crash” is based upon these cultural tensions with Paul Haggis using different characters from different cultures to portray cultural tension occurs in society and how different people react due to those situations. He explores different ways in which members from different races stereotype each other and discriminate against each other and how the cultural tension due to these actions affect them and the people around them (Howard 46). In the movie, Cameron, played by Terrence Howard, experiences cultural tension due to several reasons that make him react by taking certain actions. These actions that he takpact upon not his life a family but also upon the lives of various people around him.


Cameron, a black man, falls victim of racism that causes him to feel cultural tension. While driving with his wife, Cameron’s vehicle is stopped by a police car with two police officers, LAPD officers John Ryan and his partner Tom Hansen, both white. The officers are on the lookout for a car that was hijacked from a couple earlier on in the movie. Cameron’s car is similar to the one that was stolen but it’s obviously not the one, but they are stopped either way. The officers are unnecessarily rough on Cameron and his wife. This is suggested to be because the couple is black, and the police officers are working under the assumption that black people in such an expensive car are more likely to have stolen it, and that is why they were stopped.
The officers force them out of their vehicle, Cameron remains silent and complies whereas his wife Christine argues with the officers. Christine’s argument angers Ryan who proceeds to molest her in the pretext of conducting a pat-down search. Christine cries to Cameron to do something, but he is intimidated and does not say a word to stop the officer. Cameron later on while arguing about it with his wife after being let go said that at the moment and given the situation was the right thing to do. This shows Cameron’s fear of police officers as a black man due to racial profiling (Goyette 34).
In another scene, Cameron is held at gunpoint by two black guys who want to carjack him. Cameron refuses to let them have his car and drives away with one of the carjackers, a young black man, with him in the car. This shows tension between members of the same culture, but who occupy different socio-economic levels in the society. The two young men who tried to carjack him debated carjacking him, wondering if it was right doing that to another black man. Cameron later tells Anthony that as a black man he is embarrassed by him.
This instance of cultural tension resulted in Cameron taking various actions. During the incident with the police officers, Cameron’s deep fear of the police and his knowledge of what the police tendency to racially profile people could cause them to do him intimidated him. This tension caused Cameron to be submissive to the police officers. He said nothing even though he was being unnecessarily and unlawfully subjected to a stop and search. He couldn’t react or move to protect his wife his wife from being harassed and molested because he felt it was better to say nothing but come out of the situation alive than to protest and be killed in the process. Cameron’s interaction with the carjackers was a confrontational situation. He did not give up easily and did not give them up to the police instead dropped Anthony off at the bus stop.


The aggressive actions of the police officer caused Cameron to be fearful and not react against their unlawful conduct. Cameron’s inability to act to defend his wife from assault led to tension between him and his wife. They got into a fight afterward, and it is clear that his wife lost a lot of respect for him due to this incident, questioning his manhood and ability to protect her. This certainly put a big dent in their relationship, possibly affecting their marriage and the dynamics within their relationship.
The fight with his wife and the humiliation caused by the police have a great psychological effect on him. This is evident when tired of being stepped on after the incident, Cameron ends up reacting in an erratic and reckless manner when confronted by the carjackers. This put him in danger of being shot by not only the thieves but also by the police when he went on a rampage and wanted to pull a gun on the police officers. It also had a positive side to it in that it made Cameron realize that it was time he stood up for himself. Cameron’s inability to defend his wife causes her to have a deep fear of the police especially Officer Ryan, so much so she nearly put her life in danger when she turned down his help when he tried pulling her from the car wreck.


The movie, as shown by the actions of Cameron, serves to show the causes and effect of cultural tensions. A lot of the discrimination and stereotyping is done by the same people who claim to be discriminated upon and by the rest of the community. The society as it is now is a melting pot of various different and diverse cultures and it is only natural that the differences will lead to animosity and tension. The movie effectively shows scenarios where instances of subconscious racism and lack of intercultural communication causes cultural tensions that result in various taking actions that lead to a large variety of effects (Budd 24).
The actions of one character results in a ripple effects in the life of another character who then in turn makes an action that goes on to affect characters unrelated to the initial incident. It is a reflection of how things are in the real society and a very good portrayal of cause-effect in culture and how tension occurs between people from different cultures. The movie tries to educate the viewer on the ways in which many people in society without realizing it claim they are being discriminated upon but in turn end up discriminating against others creating an endless cycle of cultural tension.

Works Cited

Budd, David H. Culture Meets Culture in the Movies: An Analysis--East, West, North, and South, with Filmographies. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2010. Print.
Goyette, Tori. "White Power: An Analysis of Racial Tensions in Crash." 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Mar. 2015. <>.
Howard, Philip S. S. Crash Politics and Antiracism: Interrogations of Liberal Race Discourse. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.
Warren, John T., and Deanna L. Fassett. Communication: A Critical/cultural Introduction. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2011. Print.

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"Good Example Of Essay On Cultural Tension In The Movie “Crash.”," Free Essay Examples -, 03-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25-May-2022].
Good Example Of Essay On Cultural Tension In The Movie “Crash.”. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 03, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2022.

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