Get Out Your Feelings: A Message to the Haters
There’s a saying down south, “Hit dog will holler.”
What this means is that if you are offended by something or take something personally that is not directly aimed at you then you must be guilty of said thing.
Jordan Peele’s social thriller, “Get Out” is a great film. “Moonlight” is a masterpiece. Much in the same way the American Film Institute regards “Citizen Kane,” “Casablanca,” “Gone with the Wind,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Menace II Society.” Well, maybe not “Menace,” but it makes my top 100 list.
There’s critiquing and then there’s hating.
A critique is a respectful, thoughtful analysis of a work of which an opinion is based. It’s not a beat down rooted in emotion, projection and assigning false meanings.
The critics who call “Get Out” anti-white and racist are the same ones who were up in arms that the Mall of America in Minnesota had a Black Santa Claus last holiday season to greet the little ones, but said nothing when a white cop in a Dallas suburb took down a young girl at a pool party via a knee and his body weight to her back. (For the record, the only Santa I recognize is Seventh Ward Santa.)
“Get Out” is fiction-ish. However, the aforementioned are undoubtedly real.
It’s easy to focus their rage on fantasy rather than the serious issues facing the world we live in. For example, Louisiana’s coastline is disappearing at a rate of one football field an hour. The president of this country tweets like a petulant teen in the middle of a bad breakup and there are offline consequences to his actions. Kalief Browder spent three years in jail without a trial for suspicion of theft. He was innocent. Browder’s deeply tragic case isn’t an anomaly. Ninety-five percent of all inmates jailed have yet to have their day in court.
The critics who call “Moonlight” boring and void of joy don’t understand what it means for a Black man to send a baby man off into the world without first giving him a few dollars to put in his pocket. Or the power of a pound. They don’t understand cultural nuance or Black joy.
I don’t care if Jordan Peele stood in the middle of New York’s Fifth Avenue and shot someone. He wouldn’t lose my support for “Get Out.”
The backlash to “Get Out” is what’s very, very funny. If you see yourself in the characters of this film — a white liberal who desires blackness so much that you want to consume and control it OR a Becky with a bout of jungle fever jonesing for your next fix OR on the end of an interracial relationship where you dismiss “casual” racism for the sake of your partner— and are uncomfortable, good. Go inward and examine your uneasiness.
The bigoted reviews of “Moonlight” are racist. If you snub this movie because you don’t see yourself represented here, take a moment to learn something about a life that’s not like your own. By God, there’s an entire world where whiteness or heteronormativity is not the center.
Just stop it already.
The truth hurts.