Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run
Don’t give the farmer his fun, fun, fun
He’ll get by without his rabbit pie…. “Run Rabbit Run” by Flanagan and Allen
The other day at boot camp, our trainer had us outdoors several times running. At one point, I had a strangely increasing feeling of fear. I had seen the #getoutchallenge on social media and not understood it. I had avoided reading reviews or watching parodies because I wanted to see the film. Yet the image of the running had stuck with me. As I ran, different thoughts came into my mind: invisible minority/majority, the cockroach people, the sleeping giant, His Panic. I thought about Oscar Zeta Acosta and how he disappeared. I thought about Ruben Salazar and how he was killed. I picked up the pace which is unusual for me. I may be a half marathoner but I lope along at a comfortable pace. I don’t push myself for personal records; I run because it’s therapeutic. That evening, I ran faster than ever. The image of running from Get Out which I hadn’t yet seen provoked anxieties I have about racism in America.
I finally saw the film. It exceeded my expectations. I have always been a horror movie fan. Horror books and movies have had tremendous impact on me as a person and as an artist. (My Masters’ thesis in long fiction was a horror novel.) It’s a genre that I gravitate towards both as a fan and creator. As a horror film, it was brilliant and terrifying. I have had nightmares and strange dreams ever since I saw the movie. I can’t get the song from the opening scene out of my head.
In terms of social commentary, Get Out is daunting. I know it’s film and fiction yet so much of what was captured was real. While Latinos are absent in the film, the various scenes were relatable. The film feels like a Twilight Zone episode (or several) about racism. There was one particular scene when I finally understood what was happening. I whispered to Rambo, “I’m about to burst into tears.” I put my face in his shoulder and took a deep breath. I meant it because the conclusion I made was so overwhelming in its/my sadness, indignation, and disgust. I didn’t feel shock. None of the events in the film are shocking; Rambo says “it all seems plausible.” At the end of the movie, I turned to Rambo and said, “This is what I’ve been talking about. I’ve been telling you this about these places. I know this!” Then I made a statement which seems funny but also sad and spooky. “They are lying in wait.” That statement speaks to the fear, paranoia, and acceptance of reality.
As people of color in a racially divided and divisive society, what we experience is also what we try to deny. Like Chris, the protagonist, we are constantly having to say “it’s fine.” It is never good. We say that as a means to survive. We can sugarcoat these realities by saying the Geneva “No, no, no,” or the Chris, “It’s okay.” We can choose to stay silent when micro-aggressions occur. We can accept subtle racism without fighting back. We can act like it’s our lot in life and it’s still not right. It never was and never will be. Y ahora que?
Get Out is one artist’s take on complex, deep-seated truths. It’s an important film in what it says about the myth of post-racial America and has deservedly received critical acclaim. It has resonated with me and will likely haunt me for a long time.