Full disclosure – I’m Black and my fiancée is White. We’re also from parts of Massachusetts that are more tolerant of interracial relationships than say…parts of Alabama or Bensonhurst Brooklyn (she’s from Cambridge and I’m from Amherst). Seeing this movie was kind of a fun “event” for us. The lightly twisted humor that we sometimes share with each other (I wont get in to specifics) plays off of some of the stuff in this movie so it only makes sense that we would go see Get Out opening weekend (we’re also both fans of Key & Peele). But I sometimes wonder if seeing Get Out was more of an event for us or more for me. I’ve always felt an above-average connection to director/comedian Jordan Peele. We both have a light fascination with The Shining (see the continental breakfast skit from Key & Peele), we both have a love for cats (I’m a cat parent and he co-starred in last year’s cat-themed Keanu), we’re both Black men in relationships with white women (an obvious source of inspiration for Get Out), and I’ve been told on more than one occasion in my life so far that I “talk white” (an ongoing subject that comes up in Jordan Peele’s work).
And putting aside all the racial/interracial stuff for a second - I was incredibly excited for this film because the art of mixing genuine horror with comedy is damn near non-existent in movies these days (some of you may not find Get Out funny but in my opinion there is a thin layer of humor that laminates the entire movie from start to finish).
This isn’t the first movie to do what it did (convey a message concerning race & racism through horror), but it’s definitely the first (good) movie to do it in quite some time (plus the science fiction behind everything is pretty clever).
I put Get Out in the same lane of “social horror” films as White Dog, Candyman, Tales From The Hood, People Under The Stairs and, most importantly, The Night Of The Living Dead. I'm sorry but no matter how much George Romero has denied this, I am absolutely convinced that race was a factor in that film. Do you really expect us to believe a movie made in the 1960’s that ends with an innocent Black man being murdered by a mob of old white men has nothing to do with race??
Just look at the final moments of Night Of The Living Dead (left) alongside this photo of a real lynching…
A (dark) source of inspiration for Jordan Peele in writing Get Out was the Trayvon Martin murder. Based on this country’s history with Black people, it’s understandable why we (Black American males) tense up when a cop car pulls up behind us or beside us. I’ve been in situations before where I’ve literally done nothing wrong and have nothing to feel guilty about but the feeling of a cop near me just made me feel guilty. As a matter of fact, the cops "escorted" me to my friend's house in Beverly Mass not too long ago (by escorted I mean I was literally tailed by a cop car for a good 10 minutes until I got to my destination).
But Get Out is in no way a representation of the first time I met my fiancee’s family either (not only is her family awesome but long before I came in to the picture her immediate family was already very racially diverse). Now…my fiancée & I have certainly had the kind of minor examples of silly intolerance that one might expect a modern-day interracial couple to experience from time to time (strange yet transparent looks from both Black people & White people), but nothing too crazy (I don’t want to present this as a sob story or anything). I’m also a large Black man so I sometimes draw attention to myself – depending on the setting – just by existing or entering a room. So, depending on the situation, a large Black man with a white girlfriend/fiancée/wife can bring on a potential double-take or a quick stare. And that stuff has certainly happened to us but I find that stuff more funny than I do upsetting. I’m too busy being in a relationship with the love of my life to worry about what someone I don’t know/care about thinks.
And there’s a flip side to the negativity that can sometimes come along with interracial intolerance. There’s this strange immediate/on-site comradery that comes up between interracial couples. Trust me it’s real and I’ve experienced it more than once. On two separate occasions – at two different jobs – pictures that I have up of my (white) fiancee have brought on other coworkers to show off their bi-racial children or Black husband which makes me smile. It’s like there’s a secret society of interracial relationships out there that have each other’s back. Actually that kind of sounds like a skit that Jordan Peele would have come up with for the Key & Peele show…