Saturday, 1 April 2017

I can't "Get Out" - This is my life.

Spoiler alert - come back after you've seen it.

So I saw get out this weekend and not only am I shook as fuck, it is hands down the best horror movie EVER - I mean within the first ten minutes the soundtrack featured Childish Gambino's Redbone. I mean COME ON. Yasssss.

More seriously, however, the reason it's so good is because of how real it is. I am no expert on film or the arts but as a PoC I can tell you that this movie is the track and redemption song to every PoC's life. And these are the reasons why:

The Micro Aggressions are so real. Such an integral part of the existence of being black is the emotional toll that microaggressions take on us. Microaggressions are ways in which people are racist but they are unaware of this racism, and it is this unawareness that makes it so difficult to bear. Microaggressions strike at any time and always tend to catch you with your defenses down making them all the more impactful at chipping away your humanity. Then, if you confront the perpetrator they can't see anything wrong with what they've said since they're ignorant, and you are erased further in your identity as a POC. Get Out portrays these so well, and in a way that we know resonates with all of us.  The main microaggressions that validated our trauma in get out are as follow (to be fair I'm working from memory because I don't want to read other critiques and be biased in what I write so this is list is by no means comprehensive):
  • When Rose's brother talks about how Chris could have been good at UFC because he's black, then goes on to say that jujitsu is a different game, because it uses strategy implying (1) that because Chris is black he is going to be a good fighter, (2) that Chris is dumb and only defined by brawn, (3) making the link that black men are intrinsically violent. NO. NO. NO. Can not. 
No. No. No. 
No more microaggressions says Georgina.
  • Related to that point was the consistent reference to black genetics as being superior for manual labour - linking back to the objectification of black bodies from the time of slavery. DISGUSTING. 
  • The overt sexualisation of Chris at the lunch party, and the implication that he may have a big dick but also the crude assumption that he will be into getting into a threeway with a horribly unattractive couple. This eroticisation and  fetishisation of black people is neverending. I mean come on. The movie couldn't have made it more explicit. We don't want to be your sex slaves, BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT FUCKING NYMPHOMANIACS. 
  • We have all experienced this one to some extent: The comments on Chris's skin colour being a result of the turning of the tables of power dynamics changing. No white people, white skin was in power and will always be that way. Stop saying black is in fashion and in vogue, or that everyone will be beige one day. Stop denying how you fucked us up based on the colour of our skin.   
  • Wah, wah, wah. No microaggression is clearer than the policeman asking for Chris's ID on the way out of town, then being challenged by a basic white woman who commands respect just by the colour of her skin. 
  • The continual mentioning of Obama as if support for Obama automatically implies you could never be racist.
  • The unsolicited defensiveness the dad makes about having black people on the grounds and the way he feels the need to be a white saviour for giving the housekeeper and groundskeeper jobs, like he is a benevolent god. 
  • Tiger woods! Why you mentioning him yo? All black people don't know each other and don't care what you think of the one black person you know who is your only reference point to blackness.
  • The judgment of Chris's smoking habit, I don't know if this is reaching but it felt like they were implying he has control issues and is less of a person for that dependency.
  • The Gaslighting!! Rose unconsciously gaslights Chris by denying that any of these microaggressions are real and he is made to feel he is going crazy!
The Not-so-micro Aggressions: This was deep. The  extent of  the overt racism in this film was unreal.
  • There was the scene where the mum sends Chris into a state of altered consciousness without his permission. Can you tell me about something more violent, entitled than this? Chris then sinks into a deep state of helplessness
This is a metaphor for what it is like to be a person of colour living in a white society. You feel helpless, like you're sinking. You're not heard, you're not seen, you're not given the space to exist. You are floating in some kind of limbo, a fresh hell.
  • Then there was the scene where there are a whole lot of white people and one japanese guy, and the japanese guy, who you think would know better being of a persecuted minority groups asks chris to answer a heavily loaded question on the plight of black people in America? Like as POC tell me you have not been here? I was at a lunch date at a table of black girls a  couple of weekends ago when a white women steps up, doesn't greet and says "What do you all think is going to happen to the future of this country?" We were stunned into silence. One friend literally burst out laughing. Moral of the story - hold up and check yourself,  I am not the representative of all black people, the president of the association of blacks. Fuck sakes. Also, and importantly other non black POC can enforce microaggressions too.  
  • The part where the mother asks Chris where he was when his mother died!!! I was not ready. This bitch is implying that he may have had something to do with it, you know black kid and all. This isn't a microaggression to me. Its EXTREME racism. And what will a white person say to this, "you don't know that that's what the mother meant?". Well this is my lived experience and I think I know when I am being profiled. Thanks.
Other reasons that this movie is a stellar representation of the lived experiences of POC are:
  • The accuracy of the depiction of the  characters. Can we just talk about how realistic this all is? The dad is the classic intellectual white liberal who uses intellect to be "above" racism. The mom, who is passively aggressively racist and tries to protect her daughter from the black man. The brother who wants to assert to Chris, that he is superior, physically, mentally and intellectually - who wants to show Chris that he (the brother) will come out on top no matter what. 
  • The perfect depiction of the way in which white families treat black significant others! The constant undermining and double checking, and the piqued interest, trying hard to box you, and the innumerous and unpredictable microaggressions. The family members who won't stop pushing buttons no matter how much your partner asks them not to. 
  • The way in which whiteness is depicted in general. Especially with respect to Rose, the girlfriend  - at the beginning of the movie you are convinced that she is woke, and then just when you think you have a bond that transcends race, boom - race strikes. You can never transcend race in an interracial relationship. 
  • At the lunch party there is this way in which the numerous white people all merge into one. This actually happens when you are the token person of colour in an environment. The constant microaggressions and violence become too much to handle and you eventually can't distinguish between who said something worse and what's okay and what isn't.
  • Another thing I noticed, before the big plot twist at the end, was the way in which all of the grounds staff and domestic help was expected to assimilate to whiteness and not ruffle feathers. In so doing they lose track of who they are and become complicit in their own oppression. 
  • Linked to this, is the way black people have to constantly fucking play up to whiteness. You don't have the choice not to and it becomes exhausting.

God damn, I could write a thesis about the universal black truth about this movie.

It is a masterpiece. It is a validation of the literal horror of black existence, black beauty and black creativity like no other. What an excellent year for black cinema!

The social commentary is excellent too, for instance the way in which the role of police is seen. At the end as the viewer, you resign yourself to the fact that this black man is FUCKED when you see that cop car roll up! This is huge. If you are white, what you should be asking is, why am I scared for this innocent black man's safety when I see this cop car?

Other poignant themes, that were revealed later were the way white people prey on black people for their own benefit. This you see most clearly when Rose's modus operandi is revealed but also at the end when the grand plan of the family is uncovered.  We are consumable to them.

Speaking on the uncovering of the grand plan, there comes a point where Chris asks "Why us?", as in, why black people? The man answering says "it's not about race, it is because black is in fashion" but when in actuality we know :

That IT IS about race.

It's about BLACK LIVES DO NOT MATTER!!!!!!!!!!!

But you get to the end of the movie, and have the satisfaction of Chris killing every one of these mother fucker's off and then being saved by his homeboy. And this is our redemption. We are like "Yeah, Chris you made it!!" We were literally applauding in the cinema. 

No Chris, you're not good honey.
Not after that.

But then you realise that Chris is shook. Fucking traumatised. He's disturbed. And we are happy because there was a victory, he wasn't arrested, he SURVIVED. But survival is the bare minimum. He now has to live with the trauma of his experience forever more. 

And so, no. There is no escape. He can't "GET OUT"

We can't GET OUT.

This is our lives.


  1. Spoilers ahead.
    Firstly, this article is on point! We can't get out, this is our life!
    Basically, between Get Out and Hidden Figures, my life has been show cased on the silver screen for all to see.
    The scariest moment of the film for me was at the end when the police showed up and Rose was lying there not dead yet. And I had a stone cold feeling in my heart cos I thought that white temptress was gonna damsel-in-distress her way out of the situation because white women faking peril have killed so many black men over the years. I thought Chris was gonna get fucked up by the police after all. It was almost too fucking much. We cheered when it saw it was Rob from the TSA coming to the rescue.
    What I also liked about this film is that they chose really dark black men. Chris and Rob were not medium black, there are black black. And that is important.
    Moonlight, Hidden Figures and get out have changed the game. I will not, I cannot, live without this excellent level of black cinema ever again.

  2. Thank you tana. Can I share your post on social media?