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Slavery In The 21st Century: African Americans

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Imagine being treated like an object instead of a human and being forced to do things that you don’t want to do and the people that hold power won’t do anything to help you because of your skin color. “Get Out” provides a sense of imagery that slavery in America is still around in modern times and that African Americans are seen as objects rather than people. The main character, Chris, is an African American with a Caucasian girlfriend named Rose. Chris and Rose have been dating for a few months and for the first time, Chris is going to meet her family. Upon arrival at the estate, Chris immediately notices that the house looks like a plantation home and that there are African Americans working for Rose’s all-white family. Throughout the movie, Chris finds himself talking alone with the other African American characters in multiple scenes where he then pieces together that something isn’t right with their personalities. He then comes to realize that the other African Americans have been mentally and physically enslaved by the elderly white people in Rose’s family. These elderly white people have been buying and selling African Americans to hypnotize them into the sunken place and then take over their bodies while they are helpless by putting their brains in the African American bodies for their own good. Jordan Peele, the director of the movie, portrays the struggle of African Americans in society throughout American history by using the image of slavery in certain scenes to represent white supremacy in the 21st century.

The setting of the movie gives off a very uncomfortable feeling as soon as Chris and Rose arrive at the house. The house is in the middle of the woods, far away from the rest of society with big farming fields. The estate house that Rose’s family lives in looks exactly how a plantation home would around the 15th century when the slave trade and owning slaves was a major conflict. Even though this story is set in modern times, when they arrive at the house, the setting seems like it changes for the viewers as if the characters are in a different era when slavery was legal. The main characters in the movie also give the audience a very unusual feeling that something suspicious is happening. First, the only other African Americans in the movie are working for the white family. As soon as Chris notices that, Rose’s dad, Dean, tells Chris “I know it looks bad, white landowners and black workers. But we're not racist and it’s not what you think” (Jasmine 2017). Chris then notices that the African American characters are wearing old southern looking clothes and speak like elderly southern white people do which is suspicious to him because he knows they aren’t acting like the stereotypical African American that he expects them to. One of the sources states that “The way that the characters are dressed is not contemporary and the old-fashioned etiquette and setting feels both familiar and unsettling. This becomes especially true when we learn that there are two African Americans working on the house grounds. This is a direct reference to slavery” (Jasmine 2017). There is also another direct reference to slavery towards the end of the movie when Rose’s family is hosting a silent auction in the backyard to see who purchases Chris’s body. Slavery, by definition, is the “condition in which one human being was owned by another. A slave was considered by law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by free persons” (Hellie 2019).

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This scene literally represents silent slave auctions from the past because it is white people purchasing an African American. “Get Out” shows white supremacy in modern times in multiple scenes throughout the movie. The white family hypnotizes and sends the African Americans to the “Sunken Place” without permission from the African Americans and treats them all like puppets. While the African American is in the sunken place, they are completely helpless in the real world, and the white family can then perform brain surgery to put the elderly white person's brain in the African American body. According to the director himself, “The sunken place means we're marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.” (Peele 2017). This means that in modern times, all lower-class citizens or minorities under the white upper class are slaves to the government in some way and are completely helpless. One thing that is different about the movie from real-life slavery is that the white family wants the African Americans only for their bodies not for them to do forced labor for them. One of the secondary sources explains that “the father takes the consciousness of an elderly white person and puts it into the body of an African American. All of the microaggressions Chris faced revolved around his bodies act as a direct reference to the way society views black bodies as sexually viable, athletic, capable, and exotic” (Jasmine 2017). It almost seems like the African American people are being admired by the elderly white family in a creepy way because the old white people are so fond of their physical features and abilities that they want to have it for themselves. A different secondary source states that “Part of the reason is that they're seen as disposable, but it's also because the white thieves consider Black bodies physically superior when “Black muscle' can be useful if separated from its Black mind, emotions, and politics” (Thrasher 2018). This author agrees that white people will do whatever they can to become the superior person in society. So, them being the typical “white supremacists”, they do what they want to because they know the system will be on their side because of their skin color. They believe if they mix the black body with the white mind that they’ll make a superior person. So, when they were having the silent auction in the field, they were auctioning off Chris’ body and not actually him. The white people in the movie treated the African Americans like objects rather than people

The movie “Get Out” displays the struggle that African Americans in society have gone through in history and how slavery scenes are shown throughout the movie represents how racism and white supremacy are still around in modern times. In a way, this movie also shows how the system always figures out ways to cover it up and blame the lower class for their problems. Even though slavery was abolished over one hundred and fifty years ago, there are still some forms of it in the present and this movie does a good job explaining how African Americans are treated in society. From the setting, the characters, and the actual plot of the story, this movie as a whole portrays different ways slavery is represented in the 21st century. Scenes from the movie such as the silent auction and African American people working for white people on the farm and around the house can easily allow the audience to assume modern slavery is one of the main points that Jordan Peele is trying to spread to his viewers. This movie also shows forms of slavery by the white family buying and selling the bodies of African Americans without them having the right to say no. These white people want the black bodies for their own good so that they can be the superior person. Overall, this is a movie that will go down in African American history. In conclusion, slavery is one of the worst things to ever happen in history and it needs to come to an end because nobody is superior over the other based on their skin color.

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Slavery In The 21st Century: African Americans. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
“Slavery In The 21st Century: African Americans.” Edubirdie, 26 Feb. 2022,
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