Thursday, September 07, 2006


When H & I saw the movie 'Crash' we got into this discussion about whether there is a difference between racism and 'racial profiling' done by the cops.

A black guy roaming around in a white neighbourhood in the US looking into houses according to statistics is most likely to be a robber. But what if he really is a everyday man looking to buy a house and checking out the neighbourhood?

An Asian guy at an airport perspiring a lot and looking repeatedly at his watch is most likely to be a suicide bomber. But what if he is just an everyday guy getting anxious about being on time for a business meeting?

Is it fair for a guy to be scrutinized by law simply for belonging to a particular race? Certainly not.

On the other hand, for the security guard at the airport whose job is to spot the terrorist amongst the thousands of travellers everyday, is it wrong to use statistical data for creating a 'profile' of the suspect he is looking for? I don't know.


Himanshu said...

Who decides what's right and what's not? The human ability to make humane decisions is waning and the need to have a superioir authority with a guiding light seems to be the need of the hour. But who will show them the light? The answers all lie withing and we need to renew the most important judge...objectively.

Anonymous said...

look at all the asian passengers who are harrassed on international flights....its definitely racist...

clickable said...

While Asian passengers being harrassed is definitely racism, it is still statistically true that most terrorist plots have been perpetrated by South Asian young men. Isn't it better to scrutinize this set rather than Caucasians/Blacks?

It's unfortunately the price to pay for coming from that part of the continent these days.

Radha said...

Hey Anonymous, I agree that its sad that Asian passengers should get harassed. Maybe even racist.

Clickable, agree with you too that its better to be safe than sorry in such matters. Maybe I feel sad because now I actually do have close friends who carry a 'green' passport and I do hear their stories abt how other passengers dont want to stand next to them in immigration queues the moment they see their nationality on their passports! Its not the profiling but the prejudices that are horrible.

Himanshu, u're absolutely right...its not abt 'right' or 'wrong'...its about being sensitive to others.

Suveer said...

hmmm, Crash is an amazing film. not only is the script a 100% tight (i enjoy great storytelling), the casting director has pulled off a coup.
this discussion about racist behaviour/profiling is interesting, but let's understand that crash isn't about that. the subject is only a medium to convey our interconnectedness to each other. most things that really matter really don't make any logical sense. (so radha, don't fret whe himmu says that you can't think logically. take it as a compliment).

as far as racial profiling goes, if that's what you wanna talk about...the issue is very much real and millions of people have to face it on a daily basis, at work, while travelling or under any circumstance where cultures collide.
i'm hopeful instead of being angry or disappointed (anger is an understandable reaction though). i'm hopeful because the fact that we're talking about it means that we can see the bigger picture. we can take into account a deeper understanding of the issues involved before we 'react' inappropriately when faced with a similar situation.
those involved with racial profiling must do is the same. be a little more sensitive. it goes a longer way than being objective i feel. most people are smart. they understand why they're being discriminated against. what they can't stand is that you already assume them to be guilty.
that's my $0.02's worth.

lalunadiosa said...

You know the best take on racial profiling happens in the beginning of the movie....when Sandra Bullock's character walks closer to her husband when she sees the two black men walking towards them and then one of the boys makes a snide comment about it, only to end up hijacking their car!!!!

Radha said...

Lalunadiosa...what I thought was the best take on racism, was when the seemingly broad-minded young cop pulls the trigger in his car because the prejudices against blacks are so deep-rooted in his mind, even he doesn't know they exist!

Suveer, your $0.02 are much appreciated :) This blog entry was not a movie review on 'Crash'. It was about a discussion that came up after we saw the movie. Although I agree that the movie was wasnt just abt racial prejudices, it was abt inter-connectedness, it was abt human conflicts of all sorts. However I dont quite get why you're 'hopeful' when people are more prejudiced than sensitive these days.