Film 'Get Out' Portrays How Racism Feels to a Black Man and Complexities of Racial Identity

Posted by Sidney, 01 Mar

It may be a horror movie. But 'Get Out' isn't your normal kind of horror flick. It addresses issues dear to American's today: racism and racial identity. And what it shows is how we are still far when it comes to understanding each other's identity.

According to the film, letting race define you can mess with your own sense of identity. Your real identity can disappear as you get absorbed in trying to define yourself. This is more true to people who are mixed race.

When going to meet the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams), Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who is black, is anxious about being a black man going to be introduced to a white family. No amount of convincing that the family was ok with him being black was enough. And true to his fears the parents had sinister motives behind the invite.

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Rose's mother offers to hypnotize him in order to help him quit smoking which takes him to a 'sunken place' where much as his consciousness is somewhere within him, his body is paralyzed. All this hypnosis is a ploy to "transplant the consciousness of white people into healthy black people through literal brain surgery".

In her article on Bustle, Mallory Carra who is mixed race identifies with this 'sunken place'. She writes:

"If you take out the body-swapping and hypnosis, it's basically just a metaphor for how your real identity can get lost when people solely judge you on race."

Director and screenwriter Jordan Peele, who is also mixed race (black-white) talked about this in an interview in 2012. He said:

"Being of mixed background, we liken it to walking on a tightrope at different points in our lives. At certain points, it seems like we’re between two worlds, or we’re a part of two worlds, or we question where our world is."

I believe this is something that resonates with most mixed race individuals. One minute you feel are too [insert ethnicity], the next, people make you feel you are not [insert ethnicity] enough. Always juggling ethnicities. Always being tossed by your peers from one ethnicity to the other.

But this is what the film is all about; racial appropriation. And if people realized that what makes a person is their own personal identity and not racial identity , then we will all be on the right track.

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