The year 2004 brought us an extraordinary film written and directed by Paul Haggis. Crash won three Academy Awards, Best Picture one of them. The film deals with every shade of the complex human experience of race in America. It is on my mind as we wrestle with the reality of George Floyd’s murder. The film calls me as a white person to see the truth straight on, ask the hard questions and work toward conversion and acts of justice. It calls every race to do that by holding a mirror to the consequences if we continue to ignore our inner work. Two scenes contain the seed of the whole film.
The first scene, “Pat Down by the Police” will ask you to be brave. It is not for the faint of heart, containing violent language and action toward a woman of color. Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) stops a car taking Hollywood director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) home after an awards event. Its truth is stark and powerful.
The second scene, “Car Fire,” turns the previous scene upside down and we are forced to examine the meaning of trust and vulnerability.
I invite us to gather in living rooms as adults and older teens to view this film for the first time or again. Open a discussion of how it relates to George Floyd’s death and how we each carry the seeds of racism buried deep or edging to the surface. Spirituality is to be born in acts of justice. We must not hoard it for self-gazing.