In the Movie Crash, did anyone in the movie learn prejudice through classical conditioning where negativie experiences were paired or associated with a certain ethnicity?
The entire film examines the consequences of prejudice based on past experiences (the "crash" of cultures), and its cure. The police in the opening sequence are looking for a stolen luxury vehicle, and upon seeing a black couple driving one, they make the leap that it must be stolen. Later, when the same policeman saves the woman’s life, we see another kind of pre-judgment: the woman is reluctant to let the policeman help her, because she has learned a distrust of police based on her past experience. She does not separate the policeman’s duties into kinds: law enforcement vs. public service. The final sequence, in which a policeman off-duty mistakes a statue for a weapon, is also steeped in pre-judgment. Even the burning of the car is a sign of police expectations, because they will probably assume the burning is a typical vandalism act in that neighborhood. Throughout the film’s development, the idea is explored that our prior experiences build automatic reactions for the next encounter with “otherness.”