The blockbuster hit “Get Out” was the subject of a film viewing by the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at ASU, followed by a discussion on racism.
The movie is a popular pop-culture reference that is credited with bridging the gap between entertainment and a polarizing social and political subject today. It was meant to help people who do not experience racial bias understand the other side.
“The horrors of the movie are very real today, and it’s not like any other horror movie where the main theme is unlikely to happen on a daily basis,” ASU student Jenna Ortiz said. “There’s a lot to talk about with this movie and that’s what makes it so great.”
The movie follows Chris, an African-American man, as he meets the parents of his Caucasian girlfriend. Her family blunderingly tries to make him feel welcome, but Chris has some odd run-ins with family members, housekeepers, the neighbors and a cop that make him uncomfortable. As the movie progresses, the microaggressions turn deadly as Chris learns the family is kidnapping black people.
Beverly Brooks, who attended the screening and identifies as an African-American, said the movie accurately portrayed racism. The scene where Chris gets profiled by the police officer resonated with her and her experience.
“We teach our African-American children to keep both of their hands on the steering wheel during a police stop,” Brooks said.
One of the main themes discussed during the panel after the movie was the kidnappings and how this relates to coveting of the black body.
“This is about the coveting of the black body, there are people being kidnapped every single day and no one is talking about it,” said Sarah Herrera, panelist and program manager for the center. “Black women on the East Coast, young women, so many of them going missing and no one seems to care.”
The discussion also focused on white privilege and white appropriation of black culture. Panelist and College of Integrative Sciences and Arts professor Donald Guillory connected these themes to the kidnapping and how the white family uses the black bodies for their own gain.
It’s basically like they’re putting on a costume and pretending to be that persona,” Guillory said. “That’s that curiosity that they have, but they can’t see everything that’s taking place.”
The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy hosted this event as a way to highlight the movie and give people a space for open, factual discussions about racism and discrimination.
“We are still trying to have a dialogue about racism without treating it like a bad word,” audience member Richard Crews said.
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