Well I finally saw Crash this Thanksgiving weekend, and despite the doctored story I really liked it. It has joined Heat and Collateral as one of those movies that just gets L.A. right, the people, the weather, the electric dawn when the unfinished business of the previous day, still adrenal from a wide-eyed night, crashes into the beginning of the next day, proving that in the city of angels, 24 hours is not enough.
More to point, the depiction of racial tension in the movie was spot on. Sandra Bullock gives a great line:
"I just had a gun pointed in my face… and it was my fault because I knew it was gonna happen. But if a white person sees two black men walking towards her and she turns and walks away, she's a racist, right? Well I got scared and I didn't do anything and ten seconds later I had a gun in my face. Now I am telling you, your amigo in there is going to sell our key to one of his homes and this time it would be really fucking great if you acted like you gave a shit!"
In all the other states ('cept Nevada but that's special) I've been in, racism exists, but quietly so, waiting for the day to die. I've been stared at, I've been passed up for service, but only in Cali do you really hear pure vitriol like "he doesn't speak English." The war against racism in one of the most racially diverse layer cakes of the world has pushed our need to hate into such a corner that we can't even keep track of what we're hating about which race anymore, captured perfectly in Crash.
I'm not a racist, but I'm unashamedly prejudiced. The difference? I don't think all Thai food inherently tastes like shit, I've live among bad Thai restaurants. But you'd be a fool to, for the sake of being open-minded, turn a blind eye to a black man in Oakland. I've had more altercations with blacks in Oakland than I can count, and we'll ignore the fact that they all give you attitude as they jaywalk slowly across busy intersections or talk 20dB louder than anyone nearby.
I want to champion UCB linguistics Prof. John McWhorter as a voice of sanity in the self-perpetuating poverty and social suicide by black culture, who's tendency to blame outside factors, right or wrong, is a leash to his people's very status. I want to champion comic Dave Chappelle, who's brand of humor takes the fears of whites and blacks both and makes us face them together. I want to champion his character the blind, negro KKK activist who sums up how silly it is for fear of "hill-billy" racism as the boogyman keeping our real feelings suppressed instead of letting conversation turn honest.
But I can't. Because the mere mention of any opinions from outside the oh-so liberal-minded state of California always engenders comments about how the rest of the country is a pit of corrupt rednecks. Is that so? Is that why the gerrymandering in California is so bad? Particularly in the Bay Area? Look at the current situation of the state and you'll know why I don't vote. It just really, really doesn't matter. The only thing that matters in these days of closer yet closer elections is who is more corrupt. Which is tough when both sides lie unabashedly.