The thriller and horror genre has pretty much been drained of all originality. However, Get Out strikes out to bring a new twist to the genre; we are calling this ‘Racism Horror”. Get Out is about an interracial couple going to ‘meet the parents’ for the first time. However, the Black boyfriend is confronted with more than just some ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” level of racial tensions. He becomes trapped in a town that seemingly has a more sinister agenda towards young black men. The film is directed by Jordan Peele from the Key and Peele show.
Get out has actually received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so far: Click here to read some of the reviews
With that said, there has been even more shock and social media outrage by a section of the white community and probably a minority of Black people who do not ‘get’ the trailer either. Namely, both of those whom are not or choose not to be aware of the history of racism in America. Yet, there are also some who are aware of the somewhat sensational point this horror film is making. Watch the trailer so you can gauge where their outrage or misunderstanding may have been born from.
The trailer ends with a one-liner that will no doubt be filling meme across the internet before and after people are glued to their seats fearfully watching this thriller
If there is too many white people I get nervous– Get Out
As expected this line and the general premise of the film has produced complaints from some people. Some people have been shocked by the trailer and others have said it portrays the genuine fears that black people sometimes have.
But remember, the old adage, it’s ok to be quasi-racist as long as you have a member of the opposite race as a close friend. Jordan Peele is already Black, so he can’t say “my best friend is black”. On the other hand, Peele has more than a best friend whom is white, he is married to a White woman ie he has a super best friend. But, in all seriousness, it can be argued that the film portrays the fear that Peele subconsciously had when he first met his wife’s parents. Are those fears only limited to interracial couples? Are those fears valid or invalid? Probably not! If we look at history we can see how these fears may have manifested over time.
The question becomes, just how far from reality are the themes of this racially charged thriller? Well, here are some examples from history of the mistreatment Black people have faced by sections of the White community; all after the end of slavery.
- In 1919, in the wake of World War I, Black sharecroppers unionized in Arkansas, unleashing a wave of white vigilantism and mass murder that left 237 Black people dead after mass lynchings.
- Race Riots: In 1919, the U.S. Department of Labor, produced a report on that year’s racial violence. It catalogued 26 separate riots on the part of whites attacking blacks in widely scattered communities.
In 1921 and 1923, there were two separate incidents of Black towns being burnt to the ground and Black people murdered by neighbouring white communities.
1. a- Rosewood, a white woman said she was raped by a Black man, despite her claim widely being known as false, a riot and mob killed approx 150 black people and burnt down the mainly Black town of Rosewood.
1.b Tulsa Race riot: two teenagers shared an elevator ride, one a White woman and the other a Black man. The black man was accused of touching the white woman’s arm. The White teenager was questioned on the matter and later chose not to press any charges. However, this accusation and the subsequent rumours led to at least 300 black men and women being lynched and murdered. During the attack, it has been reported that planes even dropped bombs onto the prosperous Black business district. All of this was perpetrated by a mob of White people who had the backing of the City government. This attack led to the destruction of Greenwood which is now dubbed “Black Wall Street”. It was dubbed this because Greenwood was an affluent predominately Black town. It had 100s of black-owned businesses from cinemas, hospitals and a plane. Here’s CNN’s quick video on the terrible incident.
It was later said that
“The Tulsa race riot of 1921 was rarely mentioned in history books, classrooms or even in private. Blacks and whites alike grew into middle age unaware of what had taken place.”
- In 1955, 14-year-old Emmet Till was brutally tortured and murder after he was accused of whistling at a White woman. It was the brutal nature of his death and the subsequent acquittal of his killers that motivated Rosa Parks to increase her activism.
- After the American Civil War, lynchings became a popular way of resolving some of the anger that white people had in relation to the ‘free’ Black Americans. From 1882-1968, at least 3,446 black people were lynched. However, racism in America did not end in 1968. ‘Insert’ all of the other racially motivated murders, mass shootings, lynchings, rapes and beatings black people have faced. From perpetrators like Dylan Roof to victims like Stephen Lawrence; along with the many victims whom have never had justice.
- Insert the names of the countless Black people that have been murdered by the police since the end of slavery up to and beyond today’s date. #BlackLivesMatters
This was only a brief overview of the history of mistreatment, racism, rape, murder and subjugation that Black people have faced throughout history. Therefore, if you are angry at a fictional trailer, you should read a history book or do your own research on just how fictional the many incidents of racism Black people have faced. Those real life accounts of racism should compel people to be outraged, rather than a new twist on the fictional horror genre.
Or maybe people’s outrage is the subconscious knowledge that the film is only fiction but the themes it represents are very much reality from history and in contemporary society. Therefore, instead of being angry or questioning the film, people should be conversing with black people to ask why they hold these ‘nervous’ feelings and how society can help to combat them.
In short, movies like this expose the subconscious fears of the subjugated minority and highlight a lack of awareness from the other members of the same society. Get Out it is basically the horror version of Guess who’s coming to dinner. If people have a basic knowledge of history then they shouldn’t be shocked by this film. It only shows racism from a horror perspective. Therefore, if art is supposed to imitate life, this film is merely a reflection of an aspect of life. Thus, people should find society’s racism more shocking than this film that for the first time depicts an aspect of life from a horror perspective. So, yes it is sensational but that ‘Horror’; people need to discuss the issues it raises- rather than simply complaining for the sake of it.
FYI if they are mad about “Get Out” they probably won’t want to watch Birth Of A Nation: the true story of Nat Turner the leader of a Slave rebellion.
Get Out Stars: Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), Milton “Lil Rel” Howery (The Carmichael Show), Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year), Marcus Henderson(Pete’s Dragon), and Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton) also feature in Get Out, set for theaters in February.
Here’s our latest video on another topic around diversity and the media…
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