The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
June 2005   

Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce�s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia�s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches�

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year�s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard


An Act of Faith
After a week of watching the Howard Government attempt to explain their vision of work relations we have a clearer picture of what the social safety net will be in the future � an act of faith


 Beattie Dares Job Vandals

 Broken Hill Confronts "Choice"

 BHP Faces Losses

 Howard Threatens Babies

 Working Between the Flags

 Hadgkiss Makes History

 Bob The Organiser

 Johnny Packs Toothbrush

 Security Blunders to the Max

 EDI Court Out

 Feds: Do As I Say �

 Soaring Mercury Sparks Walk Off

 Unions Offer to Play Libs

 Education Stands Up To Howard Assault

 Dodgy Bosses Get a Tick

 Weight Watchers Raise Scales

 Hyundai Showdown a Riot

 Activists' What's On!

 Patriot Doug
 Remembering Workers In Cairns
 Bad Law
 Fair Go For Injured Workers
 A Question Of Choice
 Galahs Up The Cross
 National Solution
 Bomber�s Classic
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Crash Course In Racism

Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

One of the stars in Paul Haggis' Crash has a theory. He believes that in the vehicle dominated western world, car crashes provide a vital opportunity for people to actually step outside their usual armour and collide for a while.

What is revealed in these 'heats of the moment' is far more real than the world views people wrap themselves in while in the safety of their cars, their homes, and everyday lives.

The theory fails to impress his partner, a fellow detective also on duty to investigate a car crash scene, but it goes on to form the basis of the movie.

Directed by the creator of Million Dollar Baby, Crash uses a collage of interwoven characters and subplots to reveal the range of people's experiences of these 'crashes' - each scenario building on the overarching theme of race relations. Or more specifically, racism.

A contentedly racist housewife, a struggling Persian storeowner, an in-denial rookie cop, and a harried Mexican locksmith are just a few of the characters to collide over the course of this movie's 36-hour timeframe.

Crash's star-laden line-up includes the likes of Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Brendan Fraser. The production is slick, the pace is intense, and the collisions are engrossing.

But while the crashes in this movie are the literal variety, the phenomenon in question rings just as true when it concerns surprising, shocking, and enraging experiences in daily life.

All of these have the opportunity to lift the veil for a while and expose what people really feel, whether they are comfortable with it or not.

Crash reveals the sad irony that one thing almost everybody shares in common is a sense of prejudice - whether it be race, sex, class, beauty, or even a severe aversion to an American accent.

Often this prejudice is so well subverted not even the possessor is aware of it until something like a serious accident brings emotions to a head.

It also shows that some of the most damaging acts can be conducted by people convinced they are free of the scourge.

How many people calling for aid and tourism to be withheld from Indonesia would identify themselves as racists and why, if not because of the cult of beauty, has there not been the equivalent outrage concerning David Hicks? His case contains just as much reasonable doubt.

For us who nod our heads knowingly, in what ways to we perpetuate prejudice in some way?

This movie brings with it many cringe inspiring moments. During several scenes outlining the extent of stereotyping it indulges in the very same crime itself.

It feels uncomfortable to watch yet the audience finds itself laughing along with the jokes.

We are safe to because this is actually a comment on racism, we assure ourselves, and sometimes racism from the outside does look so stupid as to be laughable. At other times it feels our boundaries have been breached to the point of no return.

But as the closing credits start rolling it dawns that if it has gone too far the effect is no less than to have proven its point. With honesty about the extent of prejudice and its impacts on society and individuals, comes the opportunity to take responsibility.

That Crash imparts this message free of preachy tones is a miracle in itself.


email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online