Browsing Tag

racism

Posted on September 12, 2017

Get Out and Scientific Racism

Guest Post

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a visceral viewing experience, which has made it- for me- difficult to write about. The creeping terror of the film is difficult to watch, but, as I watched, I was struck by the role scientific racism played throughout the film. Scientific racism is predicated on the belief that whiteness is evolutionarily superior to non-whiteness, and that races are genetically predisposed to have different strengths. Usually, white people are presumed to have mental acumen, while black people have physical prowess. It is opinion issued under the cover of being fact. When we think of racism, we often conjure images of vitriolic passion. But we overlook the role that dispassionate racism- under the guise of reason – plays and the harm it causes as a structure of oppression embedded in science.

Get Out is predicated on this very danger, represented by the “comfortable” white liberal, the person who tells you they voted for Obama, but still, in their marrow, believes that racial differences are scientifically preordained as hierarchical. The concept of “good” and “progressive” whiteness plays into the churning evil within the film and the distress we as viewers feel while watching. Whiteness, in the hands of the Armitage family, becomes a tool as effective and as malicious as Dean’s scalpel and Missy’s tea cup.

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Posted on June 29, 2017

Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country: On Horror and Racism

Guest Post

There is much to recommend about Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country, published in 2016. It is a book where the premise (monsters are real, but racism is the real monster!), setting (1954 Chicago and environs), form (a series of connected short stories, each taking up a different horror trope), and characters (each of which stars in their own story and crosses over into the others as side-characters) are all reasons to pick up the paperback. Recently, the book became even more enticing following the announcement of an HBO series adaptation produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out) with Misha Green (Underground) writing and showrunning. (You can check out Matt Ruff’s announcement here.) The show has the potential to be the next big thing given the talent involved and the source material, so if you want to be one of those people who invariably claim that the book was better, now’s your chance to get ahead of the pack. Except that might not be the best idea in this case because everything that works here could easily end up working better as a TV show since it only reaches its full potential on the page occasionally.

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