So I’ve seen Get Out twice and read like a million different reviews and think pieces on it and now I’m officially over it. I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve written and deleted and rewritten and published this post because I honestly don’t know where to start with this doggone movie.
What I do know is that there are some people out there who didn’t fully grasp the film’s message. A friend of mine said as she was walking out of the theater she heard this one couple say, “So they (the Armitages) weren’t actually racists; they were just f—ked up people who saw the attributes they desired (in black people).” Ummm….
In my calmest, most terrifying Georgina voice, No. No. No. Nonononononono. *insert creepy wide-eyed smile here*
The Armitages were definitely some effed up people, but ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY PERCENT of their effed-upness was solely due to the fact that they were completely and irrevocably — sound it out with me — RAY-SIS-T. Yeah, they were friendly. And corny. And had no problem giving great big bear hugs to their daughter’s black boyfriend. And they voted for Obama — twice. But while the Armitages may not have been racially intolerant people, they seemed to only tolerate black people in a certain condition. Meaning they must act a certain way. Look a certain way. Speak a certain way. Even think a certain way, in order to be accepted. The Armitages are pretty much the embodiment of White Middle-Class America. Their racism is rooted not in hateful rhetoric, but more so in the way they view themselves in comparison to black people: more deserving, more capable, more intelligent, more human.
Meanwhile, Chris Washington, the only “conscious black man” in the entire film (besides his amazing best friend Rod), represents every black person trying to maintain their dignity and sanity in a society that consistently downplays our humanity and views us as outcasts. Get Out is literally the True Black American Horror Story.
Remember the opening scene where the black dude (who was later introduced in the film as “Logan”) was walking down that suburban street right before getting abducted? Well that scene did a couple of things: 1) It set the traditional tone of suspense that most people anticipate in a horror film, and 2) It gave the audience an up close and personal look into the all-too-familiar scenario of a black man being targeted in a white suburban neighborhood (see: Trayvon Martin). In other words, it used racial tension to build the plot tension. Genius.
One scene that really hit home for me was the one where Chris and Georgina were talking alone upstairs in Rose’s bedroom.
“Sometimes, when I’m around a lot of white people, I get nervous,” he confessed.
Chris was attempting to connect with Georgina in a way that most of us tend to do when we see a familiar face in a room full of folk we can’t fully identify with. It’s a small sigh of relief from the pressure of being the odd one out. Chris’s comment triggered something in Georgina (her consciousness) and for a split second it seemed like she was on the verge of a breakthrough. But she quickly collected herself, planted a humongous smile on her face and assured Chris that the Armitages were “good people.” I could totally identify with Georgina in this moment because it reminded me of how so many black women like myself have been conditioned to operate in predominantly white work spaces. Oftentimes we find ourselves suppressing our true feelings behind a fake disposition to avoid being ridiculed and perceived as the Angry Black Woman. Like Georgina, we’re expected to be quiet, punctual and well-behaved — nothing more, nothing less.
And then there’s the White Party, which was basically a cesspool of microaggressions, backhanded compliments and passive aggressive digs that just about every black person has experienced at least several hundred times in their life. Whether you’re being bombarded with a slew of racially charged questions or being objectified for your hair or body type or skin tone, the entire time you feel like your head is being messed with, to the point where you’re questioning if you should pop off on everybody or just let it slide. Like Chris, you feel on edge, apprehensive, and a desperate need to get the hell out before ish goes left.
I could go on and on about this movie (I didn’t even touch on the cultural appropriation or slave references), but I’ma chill cause I’m honestly tired of looking at this post. But I just figured I’d chime in and touch on a few scenes that resonated with me because this film was soooooo much more than a scary movie. It was a story about the social anxiety, pressure and fear black people experience day in and day out as we try to exist in a world that consistently views us as nothing more than mindless bodies.