Black Man’s Nightmare

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It was opening weekend for the much anticipated movie “Get Out” directed by first time director and long-time comedian Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya. This movie got a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and reeled in $11 million just on Friday. It is what critics are calling a “social-thriller” as it played on racial implications as they relate to privilege.

Verge offered an in-depth review of the film calling it the “horror movie for the post-Obama age”. This review offered some key racial takeaways that Peele strategically inserted in the film. I want to share the takeaways that also really resonated with me as well, without spoiling the ending.

For a little background, the movie is about a Black man who goes to visit his White girlfriend’s family and is met there by a few other Black people who are acting very odd and her mother who is constantly trying to hypnotize him as she is a psychiatrist. He ends up being hypnotized and falling into the control of the family who tries to sell him to their White friends and neighbors.

The film opened up with a Black man walking in a predominately White suburb, on the phone because he is lost. He is followed by a white car, and eventually kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of the car by the driver after trying to walk in the other direction to get away from the car. This mirrors the setting of where Trayvon Martin was killed. He was walking in a White suburb before he was ultimately profiled due to his race and killed. In the film the man made mention of how unsafe he felt in the White neighborhood and  was followed and taken specifically because he was Black.

Another take away that resonated with me was the amount or privilege that surfaced in the movie and links to chattel slavery. In the movie the Black people, the main character in particular, were auctioned off to White the friends and neighbors of his girlfriend’s family. The friends and family bought Black individuals specifically for their bodies, in particular for their strong physical make up. This was something that slave masters looked for in the purchase of their slaves; a slave that was very strong and able to work long days in the fields.

The last takeaway I will offer looks at the evolution of slavery. In this film the family of his girlfriend were hypnotizing Black people and selling off their bodies to other white people. This speaks to the evolution of slavery that our country has gone through. While we no longer have traditional chattel slavery where White plantation owners owned Black slaves against their will to do manual labor, slavery has taken a new form. Today Black and Brown people are enslave to the criminal justice system through mass incarceration and over-policing. This is a concept that is explore in the Netflix documentary 13th. “Get Out” further explores the concept of slavery based upon race and shows the ways it has been modified and disguised throughout history.

This is a film I would recommend for everyone, as it triggers a lot of critical thought on race relations in our nation. While it does have horror aspects to it, it is not an overwhelmingly scary film. I am personally not a scary movie person and will be seeing this film a second and third time.

 

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