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Crash: A Modern Reimagining of the Merchant of Venice

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Crash: A Modern Reimagining of The Merchant of Venice

Race is a short word with a long history in the United States of America. It is an enduring concept that has molded our nations economy, laws and social institutions. Many of the ideas that are now associated with race, originated during the European era of exploration. With Europeans like Christopher Columbus, traveled and then colonized and conquered peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas, who looked, talked, and acted much differently than them. Christopher Columbus can be associated with the first signs of racism in the United States but the origin of this behavior can be traced 200 years prior to these events. In 1215, racism took its nasty toll when Pope Innocent III decreed Jewish people to not being able to hold office, they would also wear different clothing than Christians and during the Holy Week (Easter week), and Jewish people were not allowed to appear in public. It was not until 1509 that Jews were allowed to live in Venice. Then in 1516, the Jewish Ghettos were put into action for the Jewish people to live in, these ghettos were gated off and isolated from the rest of the world and as stated earlier different garb was to be worn by the people living in the ghettos. Fast-forward 800 years, how far have we come? Many people would answer the question with "pretty damn far," but in reality, that would be a lie. Racism appears all around us and without acknowledgment too. It will forever be a burden hanging over the heads of the world and something that will never fully die off. The Merchant of Venice which was set in Venice during the time in which Jews were frowned upon and were not considered equal, versus Crash which was set in modern day, displayed racism of all types of races. So how far have we come? Have we moved backwards? Crash symbolized a modern reimagining of the The Merchant of Venice through the display of anti - Semitism and bigotry in both productions, also the portraying of a "perfect race" better helped the comparison.

The events that unfolded during Crash were tragedies, one after another. All of them were meant to touch the viewer and make them think in a different light. Every story that was shown although very unique and different, all shared the same type of events. The chain started with a racist action being done upon them and then that anger from the previous action resulted in them being racist themselves. This continues to happen over and over again until someone finally rises above it all. Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, who played Anthony, was an example of this. After a long streak of racism, which he not only endured but spread as well, he was presented an option. Sell several Chinese people to a shop owner where they can be enslaved or set them free. He chose the right option and overcame all of the prejudices in order to do the right thing. Jean and Rick Cabot, played by Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser, were portrayed as the perfect couple and perfect race. These two were very similar to Portia and Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice. Both set of characters believe that they are better than everyone else and that they are the ideal couple. During the movie Crash, Sandra Bullock becomes on edge when her and her husband get held at gunpoint and robbed of their car. She retaliates with her words, saying that when she saw the two black people that stole their car, she wanted to walk in the other direction but refused to do so because it would be considered racist. Sandra Bullock also racially profiles the worker on her lock, Michael Pena who is Latino and plays Daniel. These actions done by Sandra Bullock are in a direct comparison to the ones done by Portia. Portia is known for throughout the book



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