Saturday, July 09, 2005


Crash can only be described as a raw look at race dynamics in our nation's urban centers. In LA where the movie is based, it shows how 'in your face' interaction with people of other races can be. It also shows the great divides that exist in understanding between cultures and classes while at the same time, how our lives are so intertwined and mestizofied.

Crash reveals how non of us are exempt from stereotyping others, as well as from rising above even our own expectations to show real care and compassion towards others that are different than ourselves.

I went to see the movie with a friend who is African-American. On the way, we stopped at Wendy's to grab a bite, and as we stood in line together to order, the cashier woman assumed we were not together...Why would a Latino and an African-American be hanging out?

Living in a city where languages and cultures and races crash and clash on a regular basis, it is hard for me not to think about mestizaje. Can we crash and continue working through our misunderstandings and assumptions to ever experience real friendship and community, even in the church?

I have just started reading Nicholas Vaca's book, Presumed Alliance (recommended by Dr. Harold Recinos) that describes the assumed unity that Latinos and African-American supposedly should have in this country, being that we are both ethnic minorities that suffer similar injustices often because of the color of our skin. Vaca seeks to unmask that assumption, and to get real, or raw about the tension that exists as these two cultures seek to live through the shifting demographic tsunami that is occurring before our very eyes--the browning of America.

Like in the movie Crash, relating to others of a different race, religion, or class brings many unexpected twists and turns. Only this week, I have experienced a few real life examples that make the movie look tame by comparison. Also like the movie, I am hopeful that not every situation will end in tragedy. Crash was painful to watch, because it confirmed just how far we have to go in the church and in society from being united even while embracing our diversity.

Watching Crash was not necessarily fun, but it was emotionally and spiritually jolting, like you would expect a crash to be. (Not appropriate for children.)


At 11:13 PM, Blogger latinaliz said...

Hi. I am wondering if showing this video to my class on Culture & Communication would be a "good" jolt for them. We've been discussing race, white privilege, the various ways different cultures communicate and I thought this would be a good summary if you will of what we've discussed and maybe a little of what we haven't...what do you think? Good for adult students to watch?

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Noel Castellanos said...

Yes, though warn them of some disturbing footage. It is the kind of real exposure/dialogue starter that can lead to some deep discussion that is desperately needed.

Also, I will be in Miami Aug. 4-6 and would love to connect. Rudy has told me lots about you.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger latinaliz said...

Hi! I just got a call from Rick Sawyer about the dinner Sat nite so we can all meet. Looking forward to meeting you there!

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