Warning: Spoiler Alert.
It is a cross between The Stepford Wives and A Clockwork Orange, with a touch of Inception; last night my friend Amuon took me to see a movie called “Get Out.”
I hadn’t heard of it, and went into the theater completely blind to the fact that I would be watching the most genius and entertaining piece of propaganda I have ever seen. I loved it.
First and foremost I was entertained, was roped into the premise of the movie, and am a sucker for a well designed twist. That is what makes this movie such an effective piece of propaganda; it was actually a home run in many ways.
And I just so happened to be sitting next to the target audience for this movie.
Amuon happened to be the exact demographic this movie was going after. And they hit the nail on the head.
See, Amuon had taken me to the movie because he heard whites were in an uproar about it, and he wanted to see my reaction to a movie possibly offensive to white people. Amuon describes himself as a person of color, or black.
Amuon had heard about the premise of the movie; that a white girl (Rose) takes her black boyfriend (Chris) home to meet her rich suburban family. He also knew it was a horror movie, but a “different type” of horror movie with a psychological aspect to it. And finally, Amoun knew this was the first movie Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele) directed.
That is all Amuon had heard, which was enough to make him want to see the movie. Amuon and I have been seeing each other–“dating”–for the last couple months, so he was sympathetic with Rose’s situation.
Someone wants Amuon, and people like him, to put himself in the situation of the main character: the black guy who is going to his white girlfriend’s house for the first time, at his peril.
Yes, I realize this is a dark comedy, so it may seem like I am reading a little too far into the meaning of the movie. But stick with me, and I will show you just how this movie was vehicle for a racial agenda.
And for context, let me reiterate that I was extremely entertained by the movie. None of this criticism comes from dislike of the actual film in terms of its entertainment value. I thought it was phenomenally well done, gripping, and clearly thought provoking.
But what was this piece of propaganda trying to implant in Amuon’s conscious or subconscious thought?
One, that he cannot trust white people, or that it is dangerous to be the only black guy around white people. Fear the everyday average whitey. You never can tell which calm collected Caucasian is really harboring his grandaddy’s racism.
Two, that the police are there to help him, and he should feel more congenial towards federal agencies like the TSA. Don’t fear the police. The government is only there to help, even when it seems intrusive.
A Little More Context
Something else made Amuon the prime target audience to be influenced by Get Out. Earlier in the day, he was organically given the impression that white people still think very differently of black people, even in subtle ways.
We went to the grocery store, and there were Girl Scouts and a mom selling cookies outside.
I went for the thin mints, and Amuon went for the shortbread cookies (even though both our first choice would have been samoas, but they were out).
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” the Girl Scout mom chuckled, “but I knew you were going to go for the shortbread cookies,” She said to Amuon. “People of your race generally go for the shortbread or the peanut butter. I’ve been doing this for thirty years.”
Then she spoke to me, adding, “And white people usually go for the thin mints or samoas.”
And in case there was any confusion, this lady was white. And to be honest neither Amuon nor I were really offended by what she was saying. We were just baffled that she would bring it up at all.
We both laughed, finding the situation quite entertaining, and continued to laugh about it for the rest of the day. But it still proved an easy example to draw on just hours later that plays right into the movie’s intentions.
Even though Amuon is used to this sort of exchange and took it pleasantly, he did say that it gets tiring always having race come up in conversations. Like many white people feel the need to acknowledge they are talking to a black person.
And this is basically how the movie starts. White people saying little things to black people, that are just a little too weird and race related for no particular reason. They aren’t offensively racist, but there is still an undertone of highlighting differences based on skin color.
All the white characters “would have voted for Obama a third time, my man”. They are totally cool with black people, and think it is great that he likes shortbread cookies so much. (Okay I added the part about shortbread cookies.)
Very clearly from an experience hours earlier the same day, a theme of the movie had presented itself anecdotally in Amuon’s life. He could further relate to the main character in the movie, because he himself experiences those awkward situations–fist bump.
Proof of the Propaganda
But none of this makes Amuon think really badly of white people… until of course all the white family members try to auction off the main character, Chris, to the highest bidder. Through hypnotic mind control, the buyer will get to inhabit the body of the black person they purchase.
The black person will just be a powerless bystander watching the whole thing from inside their skull, unable to control their own body–just a passenger on a ride. They feel physically ill if they think anything different than what they have been hypnotized to think by Rose’s mother.
The white mother begins sneakily to hypnotize Chris in preparation to hand over his “in fashion” black body to a blind man who wants to see through Chris’s eyes.
Every black person he meets in this tight knit suburb is a captive in their own head–but a little of their true self remains. It shows itself through tears when they internally struggle to continue acting “white”. They must keep their mindset “positive” according to what the white people have hypnotized them to think, or they will become physically ill.
And here is another element, that white people will change the way you think, and force you to be like them, even though you will have to deny your true self. Better to just not hang around white people at all. Self segregate.
Get Out presents both the realistic and far-fetched reason to fear the white devil. In the context of real life, be afraid that white people might change you. In the context of the movie, they pretty much still want you to be a slave, and may actually turn violent if you resist.
So if white people are so ready to use violence to keep blacks in place, then isn’t it justified if blacks use violence to fight back?
And that’s what happens. Chris cleverly frees himself, and goes on a white killing rampage. And just when it looks like a cop has shown up at the wrong time, and will likely gun Chris down, or at least make sure he goes to jail for life, who gets out of the car and saves the day?
Chris’s best friend of course! Rod, the relatable, comical, black TSA agent!
Clever Subtleties Reinforce the Theme
The only white person in the movie who was not a bad guy, was a cop. He was at first very subtly racist, when without cause, he asks Chris for his ID. Rose, the white girlfriend, ends up “saving” Chris from this harassment. Except that Rose is really in on the whole conspiracy against Chris.
The message for the target audience of this propaganda, is that even if the police seem like assholes, they are really trying to protect you.
This was reinforced on Facebook in a post which had been shared almost 20,000 times, as of this morning.
Doendre King Winters said:
I have a theory about one scene in the movie “Get out” ok hear me out, you know when they got pulled over and the cop asks Chris for his license even tho he wasn’t driving.. yet the girlfriend tried a little to hard for him to not show his License to the cop. What if the cop was just trying to make sure who he was because alot of black people kept ending up missing in that neighborhood.. what if he wasn’t been racist at all. Maybe he was just doing his job and actually tryna look out for the guy.
So Rose wasn’t trying to protect Chris from a racist, intrusive cop; the officer was really trying to protect Chris from his racist psychopathic girlfriend. He was “just doing his job” but was met with hostility, and backed down. What a shame.
When I asked Amuon what he thought of Rod, the TSA agent, he said that Rod was cool, and that it made sense that the Chris had a TSA agent best friend, since that is a common job in cities.
When I explained my theory to him, Amuon resisted slightly. There were plenty of reasons why the random best friend who barely played into the movie was a TSA agent, right?
In the end, the TSA friend saves the day. The running joke is that Rod used his TSA investigation powers to save his best friend. It is the comic relief. Oh, these funny TSA guys, and other federal agents by association, aren’t so bad. In fact, they are kind of lighthearted, friendly, and relatable.
Jordan Peele said he made the movie to point out that racism is not dead. He had considered a darker ending. But he instead made the main character Chris a hero for taking revenge upon his would be captors. His best friend Rod’s function is to provide an out for Chris so that the police don’t show up and shoot a black guy who apparently just murdered a whole bunch of suburban white folk.
It was very clear that the ending needed to transform into something that gives us a hero, that gives us an escape, gives us a positive feeling when we leave this movie. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the audience go crazy when Rod shows up.
And thus the audience cheers: hip-hip-hooray, for the TSA.
Who Paid for the Propaganda?
Every scene opened with a Microsoft product. Chris used a windows phone, Rose used bing, and other Microsoft products wove themselves throughout the movie.
Get Out, in addition to being a masterful work of horror, is a nice little product placement vehicle for Microsoft. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), Get Out’s main character, has a Microsoft tablet and a Microsoft phone, both of which get prominent placement at various points throughout the movie. It’s a little bit blatant, but Get Out is an independent property from a first-time director without any A-list stars, so hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get your budget.
And what did they have to do to get their budget? Provide a vehicle for elites to look like they are supporting black people’s liberation from white influence and social slavery, while in fact themselves brainwashing people of color to internalize certain attitudes.
They made a movie about black people being brainwashed with the specific purpose of brainwashing black people. You can’t make this stuff up. They want black people to think and act a certain way, just like in the movie.
This is an example of the elite’s sick sense of humor. The movie was indeed a comedy, for the elites, because they got to flaunt their work on a Tarantino level.
And perhaps another goal of Get Out is to spark a discussion about race, which promoted by events in the movie, could turn ugly if emotions run hot.
Luckily Amuon and I, and his friends, were all able to discuss the movie, and race, without anyone being offended. It is true, after all, that white people could generally be more aware that race does not always have to be acknowledged when talking to a black person.
Amuon drove me home, about ten minutes from his house, out towards the country. I live in northwest Florida, which is basically Alabama, on a mini-farm we call Prickly Pear Plantation.
He laughed sheepishly as he admitted that the theme–black date gets lured into midst of racist white family for some nefarious purpose–had been in the back of his mind the whole time since meeting me.
There’s still something in Amuon, reinforced by Get Out, that tells him there is so much to fear from white people.
And along with their Microsoft products, that idea is what Get Out is selling.