‘Get Out’ and wake up to subtle racism

Editor’s note: Two staff members, photo editor Ashley Munoz and sports editor Casey Muse Jr., discuss the movie “Get Out” and the larger societal implications of racism.

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures

By ASHLEY MUÑOZ and CASEY MUSE

Muñoz: The combination of horror, suspense and racism in the post-Obama era earned “Get Out” a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a record-breaking five weeks.

Jordan Peele made his directorial debut an unforgettable experience for audiences worldwide. He is also the first black director to have a movie reach more than $100 million at the box office.

Muse: The relevance of this film in today’s age is clear. “Get Out” centers on a young African-American man who is extremely nervous about meeting his white girlfriend’s suburban family.

The main character, Chris, is aware of the positives and negatives that come along with being in an interracial relationship.

Without spoiling the film, his cautious nature proves to be for good reason when he finds himself in a crazy predicament.

So why does this matter? In 2017, we have come a long way as a society but prejudice still exists in American culture. People are subtle about it now, which is the scariest part.

Muñoz: The story challenges the audience to understand and change their perspective on racism in the modern era.

Peele wants moviegoers to feel what it’s like to be a black person in America. Similar to his previous work on the show “Key & Peele,” he incorporates dark humor alongside the terrifying reality the black community faces.

There are many scenes throughout the film that make the audience feel uncomfortable. For me, one particularly awkward moment is when Chris meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. The only talking point the father has is how he would have voted for Obama for a third term.

Seems like a common conversation starter amongst middle-aged white men, don’t you think?

Muse: An example of that is last year’s presidential election and our current commander-in-chief.

Donald J. Trump ran a campaign that was based on prejudice and a repudiation of social justice. During his three months in office, Trump has twice proposed a ban against Muslims from specific countries.

The American people knew what they were getting into and many resisted, but most Americans seem content in the direction the country is headed. That is why a movie like “Get Out” makes sense right now. Subtle acts of racism are ignored until something serious comes along, and then society pretends to suddenly pay attention. But could it ever get as extreme as it does in the film? Maybe.

Muñoz: As scary as “Get Out” is, what’s scarier is how our current reality and this film’s plot aren’t so different.

The representation of black Americans in the media is frequently negative. “Get Out” isn’t about obvious racism. It’s about how white peoples’ attempt to not be racist exposes them.

Muse: How many times have you noticed a person of color receiving a little “extra attention” while shopping at a store? Did they ask for it? Not usually.

The store employees are likely concerned about shoplifting based on how the shopper looks.

They usually don’t admit to racial profiling, but there is a reason for the heightened awareness.

Muñoz: I’ve avoided going to La Encantada mall in the Foothills because of this very reason. I can’t go into a store and be left alone or feel like I’m not constantly being watched.

Muse: Ashley, you and I faced an example of this recently, remember?

Muñoz: Fine, let’s get into it. I lose everything. Yup, even my license. I am, for the most part, an OK driver. But on this day, I was exhausted and running late.

Muse: She managed to get pulled over doing about eight or nine miles over the speed limit. I could see the fear in her eyes as she fumbled getting her information ready for the officer.

Muñoz: There were tears in my eyes because I knew I didn’t have my license on me. So many things were going through my head.

I’d never gotten pulled over before, but I’d seen the movies. I knew what happens when you’re not white, so duh, I started to panic.

Muse: I didn’t even do anything, but I instinctually checked my seatbelt and assured my driver’s license and other proper information were stored in my wallet, just in case. As soon as I was sure of everything, I shut up.

Just as Ashley was preparing to be dragged off to jail, the cop stepped up and we both let out a sigh of relief. He was Hispanic and very understanding of broke college students just trying to make it.

Muñoz: We need more people like him in the world. I couldn’t afford a speeding ticket, and I didn’t want to risk my life telling my parents.

I still haven’t told them. But they read the paper so, Mom and Dad, aren’t you so happy I didn’t have to call you from jail?

Muse: All jokes aside, why were we so nervous for a simple traffic stop? The media teaches us to be. That situation can go from a meaningless situation to national news at any given moment.

Muñoz: Some people might say we’re overreacting, but we know what it’s like to be a minority in America, and we know what it’s like to worry about things white people don’t have to worry about.

Walking alone at night, shopping, going out to eat and driving are all everyday things some people don’t have to worry about.

Adding President Trump into all of this makes for a much more stressful and potentially dangerous life.

“Get Out” is a work of fiction. But we both know that’s not the truth.

Muse: That is what Peele has created with this film. “Get Out” is a nightmare for some and a dream for others. Regardless of what you think, go see it and wake up.

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