I’m just gonna put it out there. Get Out is a must watch. I don’t do horror or anything that makes me lowkey hyperventilate, but I stepped out of my comfort zone for the experience that was Jordan Peele’s masterpiece. I don’t think I’ve resonated with 99% of all scenes for a movie before, but damn if didn’t see myself in Chris. I’m sure there’s a handful of people out there that haven’t seem the film, so I’m going keep this anecdotal to avoid any spoilers and angry uncultured individuals.
The biggest and best highlight within the movie for me was the consistent sprinkling of microaggression and gaslighting. So much that I started having flashbacks to my experience(s) of being seen as a commodity instead of a person. The awkward yet intense scenes that exemplified the type of fetishism of the black form was executed tastefully. It wasn’t heavy handed by any means. Each instance was introduced in a way that would seem benign and harmless to someone without the burden of experience in these situations. Then it progressively got more frequent and overt, to the point where there was no innocent way to explain away the comments and gestures. In a way the whole film embodied the slow-boiled frog analogy. Things didn’t become a problem until it was too late.
As someone who was in a relationship where I was being coveted and fetishized, it was particularly uncomfortable watching those scenes, but it was also very cathartic. It started off just the same too. Little comments here and there about my blackness, jokes about how if I pissed her off she’d call the police, low-hanging fruit situations that called attention to my blackness. I mean the list goes on. But it was all said under the guise of “I’m just kidding.” Well after hearing that shit enough, it no longer becomes funny and had me thinking “Is my girlfriend racist?” I legit typed that into Google one day when I was dating her. That’s how I knew this shit was getting bad. The worst was when I discovered that she hadn’t informed her parents that I wasn’t white or Asian (as they’d hoped), repeatedly making excuse as to why this was the case. Sure, she had a thing for black dudes and it was no secret to her parents, so why all the secrecy? Why was I just “the boyfriend?”
And the repeated comments about my dick, holy shit. I understand there’s a stereotype. I understand I’m supposed to be well endowed being tall and black. But what if I told you, that being a set of physical features isn’t a prerequisite to having a certain set of equipment? Mind-fucking-blowing I’m sure. But yeah there was a lot of allusion to that vein of sexual objectification in Get Out and I was definitely miffed. That was certainly the core of the issue for me though. I wasn’t bothered that much by the asinine comments and bad jokes, but the objectification. The belief that my value and worth was tied to a handful of phenotypes, instead of the qualities that make me a person, made me eternally salty. She meant well though…Yeah right. I just threw up a little in my mouth.
But we can’t talk about being objectified without the denial and infinite acts of gaslighting. For a time I did feel like I was being overly sensitive and taking the comments to heart when I shouldn’t. And she reinforced this belief, by guilting me into apologizing for how I felt. That’s some sinister shit. She made me feel bad about feeling some type of way about her carrying on in this fashion. What a mind fuck. But being seriously attached to her romantically and caring about her deeply clouded my judgment while I made excuses for her behavior. Fortunately I never started truly believing in what she was saying.
It was great to see something that’s not often discussed in the male sphere, much less in the black male sphere, at the forefront. Sure it’s entertainment, but life imitates art. Get Out comes from a very real portfolio of situations that black people have faced from time immemorial. It’s a commentary on a lot, but it’s important that the focus is on the black male. And that’s not to imply that the plight of black women is somehow not as important. They’re equally important, but I think it’s important to show how black masculinity is perceived in a white world. This is juxtaposed to how a black person copes within a proverbial white sea and the search for a black lifeboat, for a semblance of comfort. This is probably the quintessential black experience. I suppose it could be extended to everyone who feels as though they’re the token of a situation. But I feel it’s exponentially intense for black people.
Familiarity is ingrained in everyone. Human like things that are familiar, relatable, and comfortable. That’s a given, sure. I just feel that we (black people) don’t have much to cling onto in this world outside of each other and sharing those experiences. I generally feel better when I see other black people in a situation that’s borderline uncomfortable for me. Why? Because I don’t have to sit there and explain how I feel. I don’t have to try and find common ground with someone who doesn’t already have the prerequisite for understanding my situation. They just get it and I get them and we can commune over our blackness in a space that may not be very conducive to our existence.
I can’t say I’m affected in the way I was with Get Out on the regular. Often times I’m so busy trying to finesse my blackness into situations without drawing attention to that aspect that I forget an important lesson. Those that have been and that are systematically disenfranchised en masse should never have to apologize for a thirst of commonality. I should not have to feel guilty or lesser-than for wanting to be in a comfortable space. I’m not afforded the luxury of the world being operated and catered toward how I choose to express my existence. Having to consider a plethora of things that would be incredulous to someone within the bosom of privilege is the requirement for my survival.
But let us focus on the real takeaway message. If somebody wants you to go on a trip with them to a remote location away from the city, voluntell somebody else to come with you. They’re gonna be salty about third-wheeling, but if shit goes down they get a badass story out of it.