Study Guide

Crash Principles

Principles

CHRISTINE: Don't you "ma'am" me. Who the hell do you think you're talking to? […] You keep your filthy f***ing hands off me! You motherf***ing pig!

Even before Officer Ryan sexual assaults Christine, she does not appreciate the way he treats her. Is she right to defend herself?

CHRISTINE: You thought you saw a white woman blowin' a Black man. That drove your cracker ass crazy.

Cameron wants Christine to shut up and submit to the white cop, but she won't do it. Cameron says nothing while she is being groped, and he apologies to the cop even though he did nothing wrong. If Cameron has principles, he sets them aside when he's cornered by the cops. Why does he do this? Is he right or wrong to do it? Why?

CHRISTINE: Do you have any idea how that felt? To have that pig's hands all over me? And you just stood there! And then you apologized to him?

Why does it bother Christine so much that Cameron apologized to the cops? Why are her principles more important to her than their safety? We all know what would probably have happened to Cameron if he had tried to stand up for himself. Was his apology necessary, though? Christine doesn't seem to think so. Why not?

ANTHONY: But you have never seen me steal from a Black person ever in your life.

This line is a bit of ironic foreshadowing, because Anthony will later accidentally compromise his principles when he carjacks Cameron. That leads Cameron to tell Anthony that he should be embarrassed with himself—and that statement causes Anthony to reform. Maybe compromising your principles can be a good thing, if your principles are wrong?

ANTHONY: You have no idea, do you? You have no idea why they put them great big windows on the sides of buses, do you? One reason only. To humiliate the people of color who are reduced to ridin' on 'em.

Anthony's principles are a little…weird. Does anything he say have an element of truth?

CHRISTINE: I can't believe you let him do that, baby. Look, I know what you did was the right thing. Okay? But I was humiliated! For you. I just couldn't stand to see that man take away your dignity.

Why is dignity so important to Christine? Is it worth Cameron risking his life for it? Is it fair of her to criticize Cameron, knowing that if he had spoken up, he might have lost his life, when hers was probably not at stake?

FARHAD: This store is all we have.

Farhad's store is his entire livelihood. He feels that if he doesn't defend it, then he has nothing to live for. What he doesn't see is that his own prejudice—against his Latino locksmith—has kept him from doing just that. Then, when his store is vandalized, he tries to take it out on the only person he can—again, the locksmith.

FLANAGAN: The D.A.'s squad loses its lead investigator next month. Rick is quite adamant that his replacement be a person of color. It's a high-profile position, and he wants to send the right message to the community.

WATERS: And the right message is, "Look at this Black boy I just bought?" Well f*** you very much, but thanks for thinking of me.

Waters allows himself to be bought, but at the cost of trying to save his brother's life. Does he do the right thing? Why or why not? What other choice could he have made?

ANTHONY: Shoot this motherf***er, man!

Anthony says that Black people shouldn't steal from other Black people, but later he has no problem ordering his friend to shoot and kill another Black man. Is he a hypocrite?