Monday, May 08, 2006

"Crash", race & choosing a school

"Crash" surprised everyone this year when it came from behind and won the Best Picture Oscar.

I saw Crash and thought it was a brilliant movie - amazing acting, beautiful shooting, sharp writing, well paced direction.

I think one reason for the movie's success is that its interlocking stories of racism and prejudice ring true, because we know that deep in all our hearts, even in the most seemingly respectable of people, lies a fear and suspicion of people of another colour or culture. Black and White, Eastern and Western, all are guilty of fearing each other, and it's not just a simple story of the oppressed vs. the oppressor.

This bubbles to the surface when living in a multicultural city such as Sydney and it comes time to choose a school for your children. There are schools that people of Anglo background avoid. Why? Because, for example, 80% of the school might come from a particular ethnic background. When asked why that's a problem and why it matters if an Anglo kid goes to such a school, the typical response is, "Well it's OK if it's a mix of cultures, just not if there's one culture that dominates."

But isn't that what other kids have to endure at schools where the Anglo kids are in the majority? And don't we just expect them to "assimilate"? If it's good enough for "their" kids, why isn't it good enough for "our" kids, the "Australian" kids?

What is "Australian" anyway?

I don't say any of this in a judgmental way. It's easy to get on your politically correct moral high horse and argue the theory of all this, but when you're thinking about your own kid it's easy for the very same prejudices to bubble to the surface.

And that was exactly what was captured so well in "Crash". Whether it's LA or Sydney, you don't have to dig very deep to find an undercurrent of racism.


At 11:55 am, Blogger David said...

haven't seen it.
sounds like a good movie.

talking to a friend yesterday who was in canada during the cronulla riots. they saw it reported over there and the canadians were shocked because they didn't thing aussies were racist!

the cronulla riots is just scratching the surface!!
helpful reflections on where to send kids to school

At 12:07 pm, Blogger Andy M said...

I was at Cronulla beach only a few weeks ago. Someon had written in the sand in very large letters "Aussie Pride".

For "Aussie" read "white Anglo Saxon".


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