Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers.
By Autumn Malhotra
Jordan Peele’s much anticipated thriller-horror Get Out sparked a heated debate between those who believe the piece is anti-white and those who believe it said what people have been thinking for years.
The movie begins with a black man, Chris, who is preparing to visit the parents of his white girlfriend, Rose, for the weekend. He is warned several times by his friend Rod not to stay in their home. Though Chris has some reservations about the trip — especially concerning whether or not her parents will accept him based on his race — Rod’s words go unheeded.
Upon arrival, Chris is welcomed into the home of Rose’s parents, neurosurgeon Dean and psychologist Missy Armitage, but he immediately notices something strange about the help, Georgina the maid, and Walter the groundskeeper. Chris senses something is not right with the family, his concerns validated by Rod, and it all comes to a head at an annual party held at the Armitage estate.
Through a series of twists and turns, it’s revealed the Armitage family is a strange group of human traffickers, each member having a role. Rose lures men (seemingly exclusively black men) to the family home where they are shown off at the annual party and then bid on later in the day. The highest bidder gets the body of the victim, where the real horror begins.
Missy hypnotizes the victims, gaining control of their minds and passes them over to Dean, the neurosurgeon father, who replaces a majority of the captured black man’s brain with that of the highest bidder. The white people at the party essentially bid to insert themselves into the bodies of black people, taking control of talents, strengths and sometimes ideas of the victim.
All the while, the real person is relegated to something Missy calls the “sunken place.” They can see and feel everything going on, but have no control over how their bodies and talents are used.
With this theme in the script, Peele brings cultural appropriation to life and puts the United States slave trade into modern day terms.
Black bodies and their talents and ideas are portrayed as a commodity in this film, the way they were treated during the slave trade and are currently treated today when their culture is appropriated. Peele emphasizes the destructiveness of cultural appropriation showing that, like piracy, cultural appropriation hurts real people every day.
He likens cultural appropriation to people riding inside of other people’s bodies, enjoying all of the benefits and profiting off of them, while the actual people are squashed beneath the suffocating weight never able to claim or benefit from what was created by their bodies.
Get Out thoughtfully displays a number of heavy discussions about the role of black people in society, the destructive power of white women’s racism and human trafficking, along with many other topics that are generally not represented in movies. This movie is a must see for people wanting to be well informed on topics not often discussed in the media.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Get Out’s Facebook page.
Autumn Malhotra is a sophomore government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.