Get Out is going to be a box office smash. It is a thriller where a black character goes home with his white girlfriend and discovers it’s a set up for something much more insidious.
Having seen James Baldwin’s I am Not Your Negro, I was struck by Baldwin’s call for introspection. It was directed primarily to white Americans but I thought it was an appropriate call for all of us considering what happened in Get Out. How do you know when it’s time to get out?
1. You are not feeling seen for who you are. In the movie, the main character asks his white girlfriend if she has told her parents that he is black and she says no. If you feel like there are parts of you that are not seen, accepted or appreciated, you might want to Get Out.
2. You are a rider rather than a driver. In the movie the main character did not have a drivers license and was in the passenger seat while his girlfriend drove home. This didn’t seem to be a problem when they were driving but when it was time for him to leave – he was unable to leave on him own. So if you don’t have your own, if you are totally dependent on your spouse for everything, you might want to Get Out!
3. Does your partner defend you? In the beginning of the film, the girlfriend was quick to defend her boyfriend when the cop asks for his ID. however, by the time her parents guests are demeaning and groping her partner, she stops defending him and starts making excuses for others behavior. So if you are no longer being defended, you might want to Get Out!
4. You find out you fit a type. If you do some investigation and find out that everyone your partner dates looks and acts like you- that might be a sign. The movie takes a sharp turn when the boyfriend finds a box complete with all her black partners! It may be a sign that your boyfriend/girlfriend is not with you for you. You may want to Get Out!
5. Every interaction is uncomfortable. If everyone you meet in your partners circle: their parents, family, EVERYONE makes you feel uncomfortable- this could be a red flag. The parents, brother and guests in the movie were all reflections of the girlfriend in the film. Like my Mama says, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. So if every interaction is making you uncomfortable- GET OUT!
Finally, all things are revealed in time, however, if you do not feel safe in your relationship, please get out. If you are concerned for your safety but perhaps have not been physically abused, please talk to someone close to you. As the movie showed- our friends sometimes can help us put two and two together and may end us being there in our time of trouble. If all else fails, pray, and if you feel some type of way- Get out!