So, in the meantime, I’m thinking on the last time Jordan Peele drew back that undulating curtain and séanced us all (...the willing of us anyway) conscious of something ugly.
Get Out, that omen of Swahili whispers and “Redbone”.
Get Out, that brotha nod of awkward garden parties and grit teeth.
Get Out, that black-horror jubilee where everyday racism is made the diabolism it really is.
Get Out, that eviscerant rack of antlers lancing the lie of a post-racial America.
The nightmare this movie invited us all into wasn’t familiar territory across the board, clearly, as plenty of people—including the Golden Globes—decided its body-hijacking white supremacy cult landed it more in the realm of satire and comedy than anything legitimate. But, for me, there was no soul-searching needed to realize how authentic Get Out was being with its horror.
Having grown up a mixed kid in predominantly-white spaces, the idea of being the beloved novelty is not some farcical leap in logic to me. The tropes about hair-touching, about melanin envy and tanning jokes, about exoticized blackness and otherhood—those all come from somewhere. And they aren’t harmless dead ends. Because the culture that decided to idolize my difference is the same culture that used it against me when the whim struck. White adults fawning over my curls, their white children--friends even—making me the punchline of racist jokes in the safety of homogeneous playgrounds.
But this is how our country built itself, this tradition of perpetually othering its black citizens. In America, to be whiteness’s trophy implies being whiteness’s prey. This isn’t two sides of one coin; this is two eyes in one face. A face still maintaining its ownership of / entitlement to black bodies—to worship or ridicule, to use or destroy. A slavery-nation relic, a never-exorcised ghost thought banished only because of the time we’ve buried it under. But so little has changed. So little has changed, and there are new victims every day. And Get Out was every cell an accurate depiction of what that existence feels like.
Now, as for Us, I can’t say on where the movie will go or what Peele plans to do with it. But with Get Out reppin’ at his back...I think we’re all in for something spectacular and scissor-sharp.
Rodney Wilder is a biracial nerd who bellows death-metal verse in Throne of Awful Splendor and writes poetry, with previous work appearing in Poets Reading the News, FIYAH, HEArt Journal Online, ALTARWORK, Words Dance, FreezeRay, and others, as well as his newest, geek-themed collection, Stiltzkin’s Quill. He likes nachos, analogizing things to Pokémon, and getting lost in Oregonian forests with his co-meanderer, Brittany—the Sapphire to his Ruby. Find him on Instagram @thebardofhousewilder.