‘Get Out’ and the Hidden History of Scientific Racism

 'Get Out' stars Daniel Kaluuya in the most surprising hit so far this year
'Get Out' stars Daniel Kaluuya in the most surprising hit so far this year

*Spoiler Warning

'Get Out' wasn't so much original or all that groundbreaking as much as it spoke to the audience. There are dark messages echoing all-throughout this movie which is why it has resonated so strongly with Americans. 'Get Out' has been called by some "black people's worse nightmare"

The film is about Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) - an interracial couple that goes to Rose's parents house for the weekend. This is Chris' first time meeting her parents and we find out in the first scene that she hasn't told them that he is Black. She's adamant that they're very liberal and he doesn't have to worry about anything. We later find out they already know about him...as well as everyone else who shows up at the house later in the movie.

One of the first things that happens with an underlying message is when they get to Rose's parents house and the father is going out of his way to sound Black and hip. Seems pretty harmless and goofy at first, but then the father makes a statement about a deer the couple had hit on the way to the house. The way he refers to deer as undesirable and that there are too many in the world came off as a blatant metaphor for Black people. That type of indirect and subtle racial tension dominates the film.

Some have pointed also to the seemingly overall metaphor of white liberal racism. As mentioned above, Rose stresses that her family isn't racial and that her father would've voted for Obama a third time if he had the chance. This film isn't about white liberal racism, I'd definitely say it was about white pseudo-liberalism. The Armitage family (the surname of the white family this film depicts) isn't really liberal, they put on a liberal front to lower the guard of unsuspecting Black people.

I think that was the bigger message, but it's meant to tell the audience (and primarily Black people) that everyone who smiles in your face isn't your friend. Which should be obvious, but we live in a world full of people who ignore things in order to be accepted.  Just because someone chats it up with you and laughs with you doesn't mean they don't have an agenda against you.

Then there's the issue of the lobotomized Black caretakers. You know as soon as you meet them in the film that there's something terribly wrong with them. I think the director Jordan Peele chose the perfect actor and actress to play them. They came off as crazy and deranged, but also terrified and scared in a very subtle way. Like they wanted to say something, but couldn't. We later find out that both of their bodies have been taken over by the grandfather and grandmother. Their original consciousness is still there, but they don't have control over their bodies. We're told they're just "along for the ride."

The metaphor here is clearly referencing Black people who become indoctrinated by racist white people and who begin to literally "drink the koolaid" a little too hard. The caretakers had black bodies, but white minds.

About halfway through the movie, we see guests show up to the house...all in black cars. That wasn't accidental either because we find out at the end of the movie that there's some cult shit going on. That all of these people are in some sort of weird group (that is not named) that kidnaps and auctions Black people. One can only imagine the wide range of purposes for this, but they don't coerce or threaten the Black victims. Instead there is some sort of brain transfer that takes place where the White person's brain is transplanted into the Black person's body...but a piece of the original Black person's brain is kept in the body. It isn't really explained why, but this isn't a science movie, so the details of the medical process are not required. You're supposed to suspend your disbelief for that.

'Get Out' Satirically Depicts The Scientific Obsession with Black Bodies

 The man who screams
The man who screams "Get Out" after seeing a flash of light from a camera phone Chris is holding. That's the only way to break the mental hold that the white brain has on the black body apparently.

Before the auction however, we see a character scream to Chris to "GET OUT!" Hence the name of the film. Chris' friend jokes about sex slavery, but what's crazy is he wasn't far off. The film doesn't really say who was occupying the black man's body to the right, but given the age of the white woman he's with...one can safely assume it's likely her husband. This means Chris' friend was completely on point. It's new age sex slavery. It's 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' meets sex slavery.

'Get Out' also gave me similar vibes to another thriller called 'The Skeleton Key' which came out in 2005. There were racial undertones in that movie too which took place in the bayou's of Louisiana (it was filmed right before Hurricane Katrina actually). That movie also involved characters taking over the bodies of the unsuspecting.

At the crux of 'Get Out' is the usage of science to harm black bodies for the benefit of white society. I wrote about this in the article 8 Horrific Examples of Scientific Racism Against Black People in America. This is a movie about scientific racism more than anything, and most people have missed this! Read the above link to get a tiny taste of America's history of using scientific experiments on black bodies through either coercion or by force.

We can be talking about either experimentation on inmates or eugenics, and the story remains the same. That's why that deer rant that Rose's father goes on at the beginning of the movie is so telling. He has that borderline genocidal, eugenics mindset. The family and their white friends make more than a couple references to Chris' genetics in the film.

One of the things you judge a film by is the climax of it's plot, what were we building to throughout the entire movie? Well the ultimate goal was to conduct a medical operation on Chris to transplant a blind white man's mind into his body. This was a satirical exposure of a chapter in American history that has been hidden for a very long time. THAT is why it is resonating. 'Get Out' shined the brightest of lights on the hidden history of scientific racism. It deserves the praise it has received.

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