This post has been a long time coming, but I wanted to wait a while for more people to see the movie. Before I go into what I thought about it, I want to make one thing clear. I believe that racism is still alive in America. I believe that the plight of African-Americans in this country is very real. From cultural appropriation to flat-out police brutality, African-Americans have every right to be afraid of being at the very least discriminated against and at the very most killed for no good reason. That being said, I think Get Out missed the mark when it came to addressing racism in America.
The movie can be summed up as follows: when a black man visits his white girlfriend’s home, he discovers that her family has been kidnapping and hypnotizing black people and replacing their brains for white people to live through their younger bodies. Among other things, it’s a vivid and incredibly clever representation of cultural appropriation.
The movie was incredibly entertaining and deliciously fun to watch. I genuinely enjoyed myself, related to it on many levels, and I have never wanted to be able to string obscenities together as much as I did watching Rod go off on Rose. But I’m not gonna go into all of the accurate depictions of racism because every other article online has already exhausted that.
There are 2 things I have against Get Out and 1 thing I’m grateful for…
- Every white person was a racist
Every single one of them. There was no white person in the movie who had even a drop of wokeness in them. They were all flat-out, shameless, hellbent racists. Although this might be how black people feel living in America today, it was unrealistic and in my opinion irresponsible storytelling. Before you accuse me of taking “the white man’s” side, of saying I’m missing the real issue or revoke my black card, indulge me in a quick history lesson…
Some of you may have heard of the documentary 13th on Netflix about how mass incarceration is the new slavery. This documentary mentions that in 1915, a silent film called The Birth of a Nation came out(not to be confused with the 2016 The Birth of a Nation). This movie was about post-Civil War America and portrayed all black men as beastly, animalistic rapists. As a result of this film, a new wave of fear and terror swept the country as people’s unspoken fears were given a dramatic display on screen. On top of that, the KKK was brought back to life and they started imitating the things that had been depicted in this movie.
As wild as it might sound, I think that in some ways, Get Out is doing to white women what The Birth of a Nation did to black men. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We’re living with the repercussions of exaggerated depictions of the opposite race that happened decades ago. Doing the same thing back now is just going to continue the cycle.
Some people have argued that it’s “just a movie” and we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. That would be fine and dandy if we lived in a society of woke people. But we don’t. Most young people spend more time watching cats playing the piano on YouTube than following world news. We can recite 151 pokémon, but can’t remember 10 U.S. presidents. As sad as it may be, we as a society aren’t woke enough to watch a movie like Get Out without letting it shape our view of white people. And yes, I’m trying to see how often I can use woke in this post.
- There was no resolution
All white people are racist and want to enslave black people. Black guy kills white bad guys then drives away with black friend. The end.
That’s the movie. So you’re left with two options: hate white people—especially white women—or laugh it all off and go about your day. What am I supposed to do with my white friends after this movie?
Some other kind of alternative could’ve been offered. Maybe one woke white person. That’s it. Malcolm X was the one who said that sincere white people don’t have to prove themselves among black victims, but in their own communities. That’s one way of fighting.
3. It pointed out my own “racism”
All this being said, there was one thing I didn’t expect to learn from this movie that I don’t think Jordan Peele even intended.
There’s a scene in the beginning where Rose’s father is telling Chris all these things to try to show that he’s really woke and not racist including:
“I would’ve voted for Obama a third term if I could.”
“I love experiencing other people’s cultures.”
“You’ll love this—it’s my Dad’s one claim to fame. When he lost to Jesse Owens.”
These are things that I’ve heard many white people say(except for the Jesse Owens part) who I thought were being sincere. But after the movie, I caught myself thinking, “Were they fooling me? Were they secretly being racist this whole time?” It makes me wonder what it must be like being white in racist America. It must be difficult to be genuinely interested in another person’s culture, but be afraid of saying anything for fear of sounding racist or being accused of cultural appropriation.
But what’s more, while most of us have been so busy worrying about the cultural appropriation white people have done to us and the insensitivity we’ve experienced, it opened my eyes to the insensitivity I’ve had to other cultures.
When white people tell a black person how many black friends they have, we internally roll our eyes and think, “Good for you. I don’t care.” But I wonder how many Indian people roll their eyes when I tell them my great-grandfather was Indian. Or how many Mexicans have I offended by telling them I have Mexican cousins? I’m genuinely fascinated by Indian culture and I love Spanish. But how do I communicate that without sounding like an ignorant American?
All of us are culturally insensitive to some degree, but we don’t seem to realize it.
In conclusion, don’t be quick to blanket everyone with a sheet of racism. At the end of the day, this movie helped me realize that we’re all in an ocean of culture. Some of us are drowning people, some of us are riding away from it all on speedboats, but none of us actually knows how to swim. In other words, none of us are really as woke as we think we are.