ERIC Number: EJ776420
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Reference Count: 11
Symposium: "Crash": Rhetorically Wrecking Discourses of Race, Tolerance, and White Privilege
Nunley, Vorris L.
College English, v69 n4 p335-346 Mar 2007
From within the milieu of race and identity fatigue emerges "Crash." Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, "Crash" addresses how the fluidity of identity is pooled, ebbed, blocked, directed, dammed up. How identity and subjectivity are dammed up and mediated through the force of the anxieties, fears, and frustrations of people haunted by the interpellations, seductions, and requirements of everyday living. As a public pedagogy, "Crash" produces effects not limited to moviegoers or film aficionados. From chat rooms, newspapers, and classrooms to town hall meetings and Oprah, "Crash" tapped into a social reservoir that recognizes how race and ethnicity continue to scaffold and structure space, politics, passions, and life possibilities. In this article, the author first discusses the advantage of situating the movie as a form of public pedagogy, locating "Crash" as a multiple site that is simultaneously generative/productive on one register while being complicit in the very racism it critiques on another register. Such a gesture compels students to go beyond understanding film and other cultural productions as mere sites of pleasure that can be grasped through reductive like-dislike logic. Next, and more specifically, he analyzes how "Crash" productively registers heterogeneity within African American culture without denying the significance of race a la the creators of "Grey's Anatomy"; how it disrupts myopic and monolithic notions of race and ethnicity; and how it produces an ethos of tolerance, by excavating fears driving inter- and intraethnic conflict and by humanizing its primary antagonist and protagonist. The essay concludes with the implications of "Crash" for discourses and pedagogies of race and ethnicity.
Descriptors: African American Culture, Ethnicity, Films, Identification (Psychology), Social Influences, Racial Factors, Social Problems, Public Opinion, African Americans, Stereotypes, Consciousness Raising, Conflict, Social Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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