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Emily Fregoso

November 20, 2017

College Writing R1A

Professor Freeman

Appropriating, not Appreciating Anothers Culture

The movie Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, is about a young black photographer

named Chris who is dating a white woman named Rose. Chris and Rose plan on traveling to

visit Roses parents in her hometown in upstate New York, where Chris will be meeting Roses

parents for the first time. Chris is apprehensive about the trip because he does not know how

Roses parents will react when they find out he is black, which he believes will create tension

considering their upscale lifestyle as privileged white people in upstate New York. Rose

reassures Chris that he has nothing to fear because her parents are welcoming and will not judge

him based on his skin color, after all her father would vote Obama for a third term if he had the

opportunity.

As the movie continues, Chris discovers the true intentions Rose had when dating him

and why he was taken to visit her family. Throughout the movie Roses family fosters racist

ideals towards him, mainly through a more positive expression of racism, such as

complimenting his skin as being in fashion or altering their vocabulary when talking to him to

sound more black. Although her family fosters racist ideals towards him, their family, along

with friends in their community, still use the black people Rose dates and brings home to their

family by taking advantage of them through the usage of an experiment, the Coagula.
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It is through the process of taking black characteristics through usage of the Coagula that

Peele is able to utilize the mad scientist theme in the film to comment on racism in the twenty-

first century US because he demonstrates how through the Coagula, the community was able to

foster their racist ideals while also taking what they desired from black people. This idea of

taking only the aspects of a certain culture that benefit someone, or appropriating anothers

culture, remain evident in today's society.

The Coagula is a procedure developed by the family where Roses father, a

neurosurgeon, transplants the brain of the white participant into bodies of the chosen black

people. This process strips the black individual of their independent thought process and takes

advantage of them in order to use them simply for their most beneficial physical characteristics.

A small part of their own brain is preserved however, leading them to live forever in the sunken

place, controlled primarily by the white people who exploit them as they please. For example,

the live-in housekeeper at Roses familys house, Georgina, is controlled by Roses grandmother,

who lusted after Georginas beautiful appearance and uses her for that reason. Georgina overall

acts pleasantly and has an eerily elated demeanor but gets triggered at times with certain phrases

and the inner voice of her true self is exposed.

Cultural Appropriation is the concept of taking elements from a certain culture for the

exploitation of someone from a different cultural background, mainly the culture that dominates

in society. In America, this is most evident with Caucasian individuals or individuals of

European descent appropriating aspects of Black, Latinx, or Native American culture. Cultural

appropriation connects to the idea that there is an acceptable form of racism because both

concepts only focus on certain aspects of the ethnicity, specifically the ones that are seen as more
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likable, and disregard all other aspects of the culture. It is taking what you want from a certain

culture because it is most beneficial to you, not appreciating the characteristic for what it is. The

individual is objectified, not valued as a human being with a rich cultural background.

The Coagula is a clear demonstration of cultural appropriation in the movie Get Out.

Through their usage of the Coagula, Rose and her family are able to directly take the features

they desire from the certain black person that is introduced to the family for their own benefit.

Their whole family, as well as all the members of their community who participate in this, are

deeply prejudice against black people, and they display both blatant racism and the more

acceptable form of racism throughout the movie, yet they still find it acceptable to essentially

use black people for their bodies.

Despite the often violent and intense images that are associated with racism, such as the

Jim Crow Laws or the malicious actions committed by the Ku Klux Klan, many times people do

not express their racism blatantly with offensive words or clearly disparaging phrases. The idea

of being acceptably or benevolently racist has become more developed over time and it is

expressed by emphasizing certain characteristics, ideas, or stereotypes around a certain ethnicity

and portraying these as the only defining features of that group of people.

For example, black people in America are hyper-sexualized and viewed as superior when

it comes to their athletic ability. In the movie, Roses brother Jeremey claims over dinner that

Chris would have made a skilled UFC fighter because of his genetic makeup. Even though

Chris clearly explains that sports such as wrestling as too brutal for him and he much rather

watch basketball, Jeremey insists that Chris is made for fighting because of his racial identity.

Although his comment may seem like a compliment, it is offensive because Jeremey is defining
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Chris by the misconception that all black people possess incomparable strength and inherently

brute-like individuals.

Roses family embody the idea of what a mad scientist is because they take advantage of

scientific developments that benefit only their small circle of participants and for overall

unethical reasons, rather than utilizing science to create something that can better improve all of

society. Peele clearly connects this theme with his commentary on racism in 21st century

America because the Coagula is a procedure that physically represents cultural appropriation and

shows the detrimental effects it has on people. He shows that racism comes in more than one

form and that true appreciation of a culture does not diminish people to be merely defined by the

stereotypes surrounding their ethnicity.


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Works Cited

Get Out. Directed by Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford,

Universal Studios, 2017.