Essay on Police Brutality Movies

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Get Out, a 2017 American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, follows Chris Washington, a young African-American man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend. Throughout the film, layers of underlying racism are uncovered from the family and their community until finally, Chris realizes that they have been running an operation in which they transplant white brains into black bodies. By revealing these liberal whites' professed admiration for the black race as fetishistic and opportunistic, Peele scratched at an unspoken, larger truth that resonated with audiences worldwide.

There are many stereotypes in horror genres towards colored people, especially towards people who are African American. Countless movies have been created that are cast with mainly white people that praise them and their efforts, while simultaneously damaging the image of minorities as they are rarely included. Films like (show timeline) include negative stereotypes and representations of African Americans which are damaging, negative, and greatly supporting racism. An array of movies traveling back to the 1930s till now are' mirroring the racialized climate of modern society”. Some of these stereotypes and representations depicted in these (Timeline) films include: the white savior (The Blind Side, Greenbook, The Help, and Freedom Writers), the trope of ‘the black guy dies first’ (Scream 2, Gremlins, Day of the Dead), white fragility (guess whos coming to dinner (1962)) and the reconciliation between black and white people ( IN the heat of the night(year)),(the defiant ones)

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Jordan Peele’s film ‘Get Out’ is a combination of horror and comedy, with the inclusion of a provocative focus on race relations in America. Get Out was created based on the features of the late 1960s film ‘Night of the Living Dead’. Both films similarly tackle and diminish the trope of “The black guy dies first” and also feature a black protagonist. The black guy dies first, that sounds silly, you might say, yet it is a real tragic trend that has been occurring in movies since the 1900s. Black actors were added in films to 'relieve the unremitting whiteness of the casts' and so were usually killed first in an early scene to clear the field for the white character to serve as the hero and save the day. Night of the Living Dead is a film from the 1960s that explored the black hero and confounded the cliche black guy dies first trope. It was the first movie that expressed a black male lead who didn’t die almost instantly as the film began.

It should be noted that this representation of African Americans in this movie used to be considered ‘good' as there were rarely any movies with black representation in them. However, compared to now, the representation has severely worsened as it ultimately contains bad tropes.

Ben the lead character in the film saves a group of white people during a zombie apocalypse. He survives until the end but in a turn of realism gets 'shot down by a military of white police and civilians'. This is a reference in itself to the racism occurring in modern society between police and black people and a comment on the racial politics of the time. Relating to Get Out unlike the character of Ben, Peele's character survives. He tackles the trope of the black guy dying first, surviving to the end, and just as we think his fate has become the same as Ben his black police officer friend arrives to save the day. In our minds, we think Chris is going to die at the hands of the police because that's the representation that has been pushed forward to us. Without realising ourselves the viewers are surrendering to the racist tendencies of white people. This ending scene also truly “demands that audiences consider who among us is truly monstrous”.

This is potentially the second police encounter of the film. In the first encounter, early in the film, Rose and Chris are pulled over for a broken taillight. Even though Rose is driving, the police officer asks to see Chris' ID and he hands it over, sadly accustomed to being profiled by the law.

Another example of this type of police brutality shown throughout films is in the movie Greenbook. During this film the African American character, Don, stumbles upon countless police encounters, most of them ending up with him in some type of trouble for doing nothing wrong. On the way to their final stop, they are pulled over by the local police. The officer tells them that Don, can't be out past sundown. The police force Don out of the car to be frisked and the racist officer insults Tony by calling him 'half a n***r'. Tony immediately punches the redneck officer in the face, and both he and Don are arrested and taken to jail. This scene brings to light police brutality which has been occurring in America's history as well as the present, and the world is now only seeing the true horrors that modern society is putting colored people through. Director of Get Out, Peele, describes this type of scenario perfectly by stating, 'This movie was meant to call out the fact that racism is still simmering underneath the surface, so this ending to the movie felt like it was the gut punch that the world needed, as something about it rings very true.'

Get Out is such a big deal because it addresses how white liberals contribute to society by being racist. However, they do it more unconventionally. For example, in the garden party scene;

The Caucasian people seem to only comment on Chris's physical attributes which emphasizes how they fetishize Chris because of his appearance and don't acknowledge him internally just because of who he is. Over the progression of the movie, it's clear that Chris gradually becomes more and more uncomfortable with the weird comments made about him as the people are racially prejudiced, disguising it in forms of flattery. White Fragility plays a role in this movie as white people hold the privilege of living in a socially insulated environment that protects them from race-based stress.

In this part of the movie, according to what white fragility is, the Caucasian people hold more expectations of comfort to speak what they want knowing that they are protected. This is the type of racism that sometimes goes unheard of and it's why this movie is such a big deal because it sheds light on the reality of what people of color deal with in real life. People want to watch accurate representations of them in movies so they can emotionally connect to them. They want to watch movies where the groups shown on-screen accurately portray them because it's more authentic. At the end of the movie, there's a moment where Rose and Chris almost have a reconciliation. However, they don't and Chris ends up leaving Rose to die.

So far we have seen many representations of the black community in films. Get Out acts as a homage to Night of the Living Dead, a reference to Greenbook, and an improvement of representation for movies in the past century. Many tropes, representations, and stereotypes Get Out tackles within its film to overcome the racism that has been occurring in the film community. The people behind the screenplay a huge role in making representation accurate and authentic.

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Essay on Police Brutality Movies. (2024, May 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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