Get Out, the movie thriller that both horrified and effectively unveiled several layers of racialized oppression, is apparently a “comedy.” This is according to the good people at the Golden Globes, leaving many viewers like myself baffled. Get Out focused on a secret group of white body-snatchers that kidnaps young Black people to take over their minds and bodies in order to enjoy their physical attributes.
Did they even see the movie, I mean really see it?
The film resonated with Black audiences, especially since Black people in America have historically been used for medical experimentation and sexual exploitation. Furthermore, throughout society our physical attributes have been used for labor and enjoyment among the white bourgeoisie.
Though some view the film as an exaggeration, it’s actually not far from depicting actual medical practices that have taken place. For instance, the so-called “father of modern gynecology,” James Marion Sims, practiced painful experiments on Black slave women with no anesthesia. Also, for years enslaved Black people were sold on the medical market to be used as specimens for white doctors.
All of this was done in the name of science and medical history!
Though Get Out had some splashes of comic relief, it was in no way a comedy in its entirety. In fact, an alternative ending was chosen in order to lighten the pain shown throughout the movie, as America was in the throes of coming to grips with having Donald Trump as president.
Calling Get Out a comedy further trivializes the very real, very painful experiences that Black people have endured under the hands of white physicians and scientists. I’ve written before about America’s collective amnesia that conveniently places painful Black experiences within an imaginary realm.
In order to prevent future horrific acts, it must be fully acknowledged that what we’ve gone through is real.
Even more so, in order to heighten accountability, we must fully acknowledge who inflicted the pain and for what reasons. The Golden Globes’ labeling of Get Out as a comedy is an effort (be it conscious or unconscious) to circumvent acknowledging the history of medical research in America.
With the story of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Henrietta Lacks’ stolen DNA, and the enduring legacy of our ancestors who overall survived terrifying acts of violence at the hands of medical physicians- few Black people were laughing about Get Out.
To further express this point, Jordan Peele, the film’s producer, writer and director stated through his Twitter account that, “Get Out is a documentary.”
Originally deemed a horror film, perhaps Get Out is difficult to place into one genre. However, none of us viewed it as a comedy. It’s hard to see the hilarity of Black pain.
Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor is the founder of OurLegaci.com. To reach Jessica, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/JAMAiwuyor.