So I felt obliged to watch Crash last night, and I did. It’s an undeniably powerful movie, with some great scenes and ingenious plotting. And in many respects it is decidedly un-p.c. The white males get some good lines, maybe even the best lines, and the people of color do not always act nobly. The trouble is, though, that the movie does fully embrace the Great Liberal Racial Premise: We are a race-obsessed society, frequently racist, with race very much determining who we are, how we live, and how we relate to one another. I don’t think so–or, at least, I think that race today determines maybe 5 percent of our destinies, not the 95 percent that Crash would suggest.
Much more hopeful, if less powerful, is the black chick-flick Something New. A black superachieving accountant falls in love with her white landscaper, and must decide whether to follow her heart or her friends and family, who see interracial romance as betrayal. The racial issues were, I thought, dealt with pretty intelligently, and there did seem to me to be a politically incorrect and refreshingly subversive subtext: After all, the black woman outranks her guy socioeconomically, and it is African Americans who are reluctant to accept a white, rather than vice versa. Also, the details of the black upper class are spot on; see Lawrence Otis Graham’s fascinating 1999 book, Our Kind of People.