Summary: This clip from Crash begins after a woman (played by Sandra Bullock) was robbed and is now getting the locks on her house changed. Sandra Bullocks' character (an upper-middle class white woman) pulls her husband aside and demands to change the locks in their house a second time because she believes the man is going to sell their key to a “gang banger friend.” The man changing the locks is Hispanic, and Bullock describes him as "a gang member ... with a shaved head, pants around his ass, and a prison tattoo." When her husband dismisses her assumptions about the man, she says that they should follow her instincts about this because when the two were previously attacked, she said she knew it was going to happen based off of the way the two black men (who robbed her) looked. The wealthy white woman expressed both racial and class stereotypes based on the man's clothes, tattoos, hair style, and race. A stereotype is a an exaggerated or distorted generalization about an entire category of people that does not acknowledge individual variation, and often forms the basis for prejudice and discrimination. Bullock stereotypes him and assumes he would sell the key to her house, which is illegal and immoral, just to get more money. As she continues her loud rant in the presence of the Hispanic working-class man and African-American police agents, she exhibits her class and white privilege in which she can be so disrespectful without any real consequences. She clearly places him in a different category than her and as someone who is beneath her. This also illustrates Lamont's concept of boundary work, in which people draw boundaries between people like themselves and perceived others. At the end of the video when the Latino man and her make eye contact, it is very telling that he did not say anything, but he simply puts down both of the keys and leaves. This action suggests his awareness of his lack of power in the situation, and his discomfort in challenging the woman on her racist and classist beliefs. Viewers are encouraged to consider how people develop, draw upon, and challenge such stereotypes.
Submitted By: Bella Moore