Final Assignment

Aidee Manzano and Emily Decker

ENGL 129 Literature and Cultural Diversity

Sarah Boyd, Dept of English and Comparative Literature

Fall 2018, UNC-Chapel Hill

Course Description:

English 129 – Literature and Cultural Diversity- is a course offered at Chapel Hill that emphasizes studies in four specific racial groups in the United States using US English-language literature. It fulfills the LA (literary arts), NA (North Atlantic World), and literature in the United States The course will only cover five ethnic groups: African American, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American, and Latinx, but is not limited to these groups. This course will be used to further explore the pain and joy experienced while journeying to discover one’s’ identity as an American and as part of other peoples ethnic groups. Students will see the split worlds of others and hopefully gain a better understanding of the effects rejection/acceptance can have.


This course has chosen to concentrate solely on racial diversity so as to have time to briefly delve into a select number of racial groups. Unfortunately, not all groups can be touched on, which is why only five ethnic groups have been chosen to be the center of discussion. However, so we can look at multiple ethnic groups we will be omitting focus on other areas of diversity such as disability, gender, and LGBT issues. Even if some of those issues will be present in the readings, they will not be the main focus of the class. In order to give each group an equal amount of time, for two to three weeks the class will be structured around a certain group, with each one being assigned either one book and/or movie, and a few supplemental assignments. The supplemental assignments will be used to further enhance your understanding of the material and help you draw your own conclusions, as well as to connect the topics seen in the works with present day issues. The class will first start out by concentrating on Native American culture, with Love Medicine (1984). This book is written by Native American author, Louise Erdrich, and uses various short stories to tell the stories of a family living on a reservation in North Dakota and their struggles with trying to connect to their past and culture, and trying to live and assimilate to the culture around them. The story also makes sure to describe the history and traditions of Native American culture through its interesting narrative style and themes. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (1997) written by American author, Anne Fadiman, will be used to look at Asian culture. This book looks at how differences in cultural beliefs, and a lack of understanding can lead to disastrous consequences as seen through a real life case of a Hmong child in the US. This book uses every other chapter to discuss the broader themes of Hmong culture, customs, and history, and the issues with immigration as seen with discrimination and assimilation. African American culture will be covered by watching the movie The Help, which came out in 2011, but is a period drama that looks to uncover racism and tell the story that is seen in the South during the 1960s. This section will also be paired with assignments that aim to give you a chance to reflect on racism back then compared to racism now. Middle Eastern culture, which has become a prevalent topic in the United States recently, will be looked at through the book The West of the Jordan (2003) written by Laila Halaby, an Arab and American author. It follows the lives of four cousins, living in either Jordan or the United States, as they struggle to make sense of their national and ethnic identities. The last group that will be talked about is Latinx, and will consist of the book Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina (2013) by Raquel Cepeda, and the movie Under the Same Moon (2007). Under the Same Moon tells the story of a boy who tries to cross the border from Mexico to the United States to find his mother who illegally immigrated earlier in order to provide for her son. This movie will provide an insight into immigration and the reasons for immigration, topics especially important today. Birds of Paradise: How I Became Latina is the last book because it tells a story that can be applied to all the different racial groups we have focused on. The book is separated into two parts, Part I and Part II. Part I focuses on the author’s childhood and early adulthood in New York. Part II depicts her journey to discover her true ethnic identity in order to help her reconcile her family conflicts and bring closure to her struggle to figure out her heritage. The main purpose of the class is to be able to gain insight into different ethnic identities, what culture and heritage means to these people and their struggles to connect with their own heritage and those of others. Once the class is finished you should be able to create connections between what is read and seen to current events, as well as to become more informed on the topic of racial diversity.


Week 1:

Mon: Love Medicine: start – pg. 70

Wed: Love Medicine: pg. 71 – 130  

        Read Louise Erdrich’s “Indian Boarding School Runaways” and “I Was Sleeping Where the Black Oaks Move”

Week 2:

Mon: Love Medicine: pg. 131 – 190

Wed: Love Medicine: pg. 191 – 250

        Short response due before Week 3

Week 3:

Mon: Love Medicine: pg. 250 – end

Wed: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: start – pg. 60

Week 4:

Mon: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: pg. 61- 120

Wed: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: pg. 121 – 181

        Podcast due before Week 5

Week 5:

Mon: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: pg. 182 – 241

Wed: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: pg. 242 – 301

Week 6:

Mon: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: pg. 301 – end

Wed: Look up information from the actual case described in the book

        Short Response due before Week 7 (respond about similarities and differences, as well as why author chose to tell the story the way she did)

Week 7:

Mon: The Help

        Short response for class on wed. about what racism looks like now, is there still some present or no? Did The Help do a good job at portraying what it was like in the 1960s or no?

Wed: The West of the Jordan start – pg. 60

        Research the history of Jordan and the United States.

        Podcast due before Week 8

Week 8:

Mon: The West of the Jordan pg. 61 – 160

Wed: The West of the Jordan pg. 161 – end

         Short response about whether or not you think the book broke or reaffirmed Arab stereotypes and why.

Week 9:

Mon: Review for Midterm

Wed: Midterm

Week 10:

Mon: Under The Same Moon part 1

Wed: Under The Same Moon part 2

Week 11:

Mon: Watch Under the Same Moon

        Interview POC due before Week 13  

Wed: Birds of Paradise start – pg. 60

        Short response

Week 12:

Mon: Birds of Paradise pg. 61- 120

Wed: Birds of Paradise pg. 121- 180

Week 13:

Mon: Birds of Paradise pg. 181-  230

Wed: Birds of Paradise pg. 231- 280

Week 14:

Mon: Birds of Paradise pg. 280-end

Wed: Start Final Paper
Week 15:

Mon: Look up some info so can participate with guest speaker

Wed: Guest Speaker

       Final Paper Due

Week 16:

Mon: Review

Wed: LDOC Get ready for Final!


BotSW Long Form Essay

Eric Xin
Sarah Boyd
7 May 2018

Beasts of the Southern Wild essay DRAFT 2

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a film set in a bayou community called Bathtub segregated from the rest of society. Closely speaking, it is about Hushpuppy’s personal struggle with the world and eventually coming to terms with it despite being a young child. It is a story of emotion and human connection. There are lots of conflicts being portrayed such as the one between Hushpuppy and her father as well as the one between Bathtub and the city. There are also conflicts “outside” of the film such as her mother leaving them and climate change. These conflicts allow her to forge her own understanding of the world and determination to understand her own place in the universe.

The movie begins with shots of worn trailers and heaps of junk and debris. Our first impression of Bathtub is one of poverty. Very quickly, our narrator introduces us to the Bathtub community. Truthfully, Bathtub is a humble community that is just cut off from the rest of the world by a levee. They are very connected to the earth and enjoy life their own way different from those in the city. They view their life as quite free and self-sufficient since they raise their own animals and catch their own seafood. Another noticeable aspect of the community is their strong conviction against the city (although this could be alternatively interpreted instead as a strong attachment to their home). Wink himself seems to look down upon city life (which is ironic because the city folk can literally look down on them from their tall buildings). Even when their homes are destroyed, they still look forward to rebuilding their community. Consequently, the spirit of the Bathtubbians also manifests itself in Hushpuppy.

The conflict between Bathtub and the city can be demarcated by the levee, with the two sides representing different things. In Bathtub there is the self-reliance and closeness to nature. On the other hand, the city folk is viewed as cowardly hiding behind a levee keeping out the water (biased since the film never takes the perspective of city dwellers). When Bathtub is flooded, the city doesn’t provide any support. Only when the levee is bombed does the city take action but it is only a forced evacuation. This makes the city seem selfish as if motivated by wanting to stay dry. When Hushpuppy was in the inadequate hospital, she remarks that “it looked more like a fish tank with no water”. Some people might view the conflict as a portrayal of poverty verses wealth, but this seems not the focus since from that perspective the film would be glorifying poverty. In the end, by being more than just a home, Bathtub is the background of our protagonist from where the film begins her characterization.

In Bathtub, the children are taught to be able to live for themselves. All throughout the film we see this concept being repeated. Near the beginning during Miss Bathsheba’s lesson, the children are taught about nature. The aurochs themselves are introduced and given the impression of savage predators. Icecaps will melt, some species will go extinct. Times will change and they should learn how to survive with it. This is also relevant to Bathtub way of life. Rather than going to a convenience store for all their needs, they need to be able to take care of themselves with only what little they have. When Wink goes missing for a while, we see that Hushpuppy has the ability to live independently despite being very young. She even has her own trailer. From a depressing perspective, parents teach their kids how to live for the eventuality that one day they will no longer be there to take care of them. Later when Hushpuppy goes searching for her mother, she meets a cook who says “I can’t take care of nobody but myself.” These reoccurring messages are things that we will all eventually have to relate to.

Life is not just about finding food to eat though. It is also about cultivating a mindset. Hushpuppy narrates the film and this allows us to see how her upbringing tempered her worldview. Low shots emphasize the focus on her. Hushpuppy finds her situation similar to the aurochs of the past and grows closer to them as a result, despite the enormous time gap. The aurochs are a species that became extinct due to a combination of climate change and over-hunting. She too lives in a period of climate change, the immediate matter being the storm that is coming to Bathtub. In the face of these crises, Hushpuppy interacts and connects with those around her in an exploration of her identity. The turning point of her emotions happens when she knows her dad is dying and goes in search of her mother. The lessons she learns is never directly explained but becomes our own through our own interpretation. Finally, she confronts and leaves the aurochs whom she considers as companions for walking alongside with her. Thanks to everyone, Hushpuppy has grown up to recognize life as in harmony with nature.

Weather has always been used as an important element in movies and it is no different in this film. A notable example is when Wink first collapses and it is juxtaposed with iceberg collapsing. When Hushpuppy says “I think I broke something,” we sense that she feels a personal link with what is happening in the world. When she affects the people around her negatively, she also negatively affects the world. This is a crucial point that allows us to see the upcoming storm, a critical driving force for the plot, as something more than just a storm. From her point of view, the storm may as well be the end of the world and that she did something really wrong. Bathtub gets flooded by the storm because the levee holds the water back. The flood kills all life and it only justifies her primitive understanding of nature as being violent, like near the beginning when the aurochs have been portrayed by her imagination as fierce and brutal. In an attempt to fix the world and undo the damage that she feels responsibly for, she directly participates in the bombing of the levee. With this, it can be seen how important the weather is to Hushpuppy’s growth of perspective on the nature of things.

The largest influence on Hushpuppy is ultimately her own father. Hushpuppy’s own distinct tenacity originates from Wink’s toughness, and the film does a remarkable job making those qualities stand out in them. Our initial impression of Hushpuppy’s father can be described as drunk or abusive. However, we know that in his heart that he truly cares for Hushpuppy deeply. When the storm hits he says “it’s my job to keep you from dying.” Sometimes his actions may seem like minor neglect. On the other hand, it can be interpreted, in the context of Wink’s portended death, as him preparing Hushpuppy for independence while also reducing the pain that his passing will bring her. e seems the toughest in Bathtub. He stays behind during the storm. Throughout the movie we routinely see scenes where he peps Hushpuppy up.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a complex narrative told through the perspective of Hushpuppy, a young child. It is a story of change and human interaction, while cleverly bringing in larger reflective thoughts to tell a lesson. Such lessons can be applied to different circumstances, allowing the movie to connect on a personal level to a wider audience. Each well-placed scene and conflict guides us to form our own interpretation of the film. Catalyzed with Hushpuppy’s unforgettable spirit, Beasts of the Southern Wild forms a unique impression on each of those who watch it.

Sources of ideas:

Film Analysis of Beasts of the Southern Wild: Beats in the Cinematic Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Word Doc: Beasts of the Southern Wild Longform Essay

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a film dedicated to creating a unique story about climate change, poverty, death, myth, and community. Though the movie seems messy and confusing, it is the simplicity of the characters’ lives that makes the fantastical, mythical story one that is relatable and heartwarming.

Through the opening scenes of the film, the audience can see that clearly the main characters live in poverty. Six-year-old Hushpuppy and her father, Wink, each have their own houses, both entrenched by a heaps of junk. Old tires scattered at every turn, rusted automobile fragments, grass as tall as Hushpuppy herself, and farm animals living in and outside the house. Hushpuppy wears the same orange underwear, raggedy camisole, and ill-fitting jeans for almost the entirety of the film, and the other characters wear old, dirty clothes as well. It seems like a wasteland on all fronts, but the resilience of the Bathtub and the people who live in it show that self-efficiency has value. Wink catches food for everyone, whether it be chicken or seafood, and there seems to be an abundance of it before a massive storm, presumably a hurricane, comes through. Even then, the community bands together to drain the water in an effort to remain independent. Some believe that the film glorifies poverty, like Thomas Hackett, a writer and filmmaker from Austin; he says the film is “…sentimentalizes poverty and glosses over neglect, and that it skirts tough questions by resorting to a half-baked and naïve fable.” The film does not make poverty look like fun. Surely there are moments in the film where there is happiness, floating in the pools of beer, but that goes to show that poor people can have fun too. They can be happy too. There is nothing glorious or romantic about the lives of these characters, they just are not miserable about it. There is a common argument that poor people chose to be poor because they do not work hard enough to climb to socioeconomic ladder to success, but those that live in the Bathtub clearly are not lazy. They work hard to survive; they simply do not want anyone’s pity. As far as Wink’s treatment of Hushpuppy, he obviously is not a gentle father, but he takes care of Hushpuppy and he does love her in his own way. Nothing excuses the moment where he slapped Hushpuppy, but at no other point in the film does the audience have reason to suspect that he is an abusive father. The people of the Bathtub have a culture that is very different from the ones on the mainland, but simply because they are different is not reason to label them “wastrels,” as Hackett describes them. In regards to the comment about the film being a “naïve fable,” Hackett fails to understand that this is a six-year old’s story. If by naïve he means innocent, that is what should be expected of a little girl, on the verge of being orphaned, trying to make sense of the world as it breaks around her. The Bathtub may be defined by grit and grime, unsophisticated in nature, but it is rich in its sense of community.

The Bathtub, formally known as Isle de Charles Doucet, is a fictional island off the coast of Louisiana, which is why the audience can assume that the major storm that hit the island is a hurricane. In the beginning of the film, Hushpuppy is introduced to the concept of climate change. In a quite blunt manner, her teacher, Miss Bathsheba, breaks the news to her students: the Bathtub will sink as a result of polar ice caps melting. She makes it clear that this is a matter of fact, and there is no reason to be upset about it. In Hushpuppy’s imagination, the aurochs are trapped in ice and once the ice melts, they will be free to feed on humans as they did long ago. The aurochs seem mythological in the film, but they actually did walk the earth not too long ago. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, they are an extinct species of the wild ox that roamed Europe until the 17th century. The idea that they all froze during the ice age was fabricated by the filmmakers. The co-producer of Beasts, Michael Gottwald, said in a National Geographic interview the inspiration behind choosing the aurochs was rooted in director Benh Zeitlin’s fascination with cave paintings he saw in Lascaux, a famous cave in France (Berlin). The beasts are mythical here, but they help Hushpuppy make sense of the world collapsing around her. In the exposition, Hushpuppy understands that all living animals have a heartbeat, but she does not quite know what the heartbeats say. She can only assume that the animals have basic needs as she does, like feeding and excreting; however, there are times where “they be talking in codes,” which are completely incomprehensible. For her, a heartbeat is not the only thing she does not understand. With her mother gone, Hushpuppy makes sense of her absence by using her imagination. She talks to her as if she is still there and she uses her mother’s old red jersey as confirmation that she is still there with her. The aurochs are no different; Hushpuppy grasps her father’s illness and eventual death through these mythical beings. In the same interview, Gottwald explained Hushpuppy’s relationship with the aurochs: “[w]hen you’re a kid of that age, there’s no separation between reality and fantasy. In Hushpuppy’s world, her dad dying and the storm coming means the world is falling apart. And the aurochs are a key reflection of that” (Berlin). Knowing that she is the only one left in her family, she deals with the idea of being forgotten by determination that she will keep her memory alive. She draws pictures of herself and her family, much like the cave paintings of the aurochs. Hushpuppy believes for most of the movie that because her family is dying out, and the aurochs will come to replace her. But by the end, she realizes she and the beasts are not so different after all. Both of their existences were challenged by climate change, but both were strong animals that outlasted the environment. Not long after she confronts the beasts, she confronts her fear of her father dying. Again, the story may seem fantastically out of reach, but it highlights the very human challenge of dealing with loss and life after loss.

The moment of Wink’s death is another endearing, relatable moment in the film. All throughout the movie, Wink was a hard, brash, guarded father. He braved a harsh face for the harsh world he lived in, but his effort to remain strong in times of difficulty is admirable. No one on the island seems defeated about any adversity, but especially Wink. His great love, Hushpuppy’s mother, left him with Hushpuppy when she was very young, but he seems to easily accept that it is his job to take care of his daughter. At no point does he treat Hushpuppy like a burden; in fact, he empowers Hushpuppy to be strong and independent. It might seem strange to give a six-year-old her own trailer, and maybe it is considering she almost burned herself in it, but Wink knows he is going to die soon. He is preparing her for a world where is not there to take care of her. Wink also empowers Hushpuppy by not instilling the typical gender roles for a little girl. He teachers her how to catch her own fish and calls her “boss lady” and “man.” At one, point, he tells Hushpuppy she is going “to be king of the Bathtub.” Juxtaposed with Hushpuppy’s explanation of the aurochs, “[w]ay back in the day, the Aurochs was king of the world,” Hushpuppy is again a new embodiment of the aurochs. Finally, when Wink is on his death bed, he lets his guard down and allows both himself and Hushpuppy to cry; there is no more hiding from the fact that Hushpuppy is going to be an orphan, but that does not mean she is going to be alone. She has her community, and she knows her mom is out there somewhere. She knows that she will not be forgotten. In the words of Hushpuppy herself, one day scientists will know that “once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her daddy in the Bathtub.” Unfortunately, many people have lost their parents at a young age, whether it be by death or otherwise, which is one reason why this story is so relatable.

In the film, there was a motif of floating dust particles in the air. One of the first instances we see these particles is when Wink relays the story of Hushpuppy’s conception. The food that her mother cooks in the flashback is what causes the floating particles to occur. The next time this is seen is when Hushpuppy visits her mother at the near the end of the film. Never was it explicitly stated that the woman was her mother, but the floating dust in the air from her kitchen indicates to the audience that this is indeed her mother (amongst other indicators like the alligator and beer). So, already, we see that particles and her mother have a connection. Why would the creators make this the symbol of Hushpuppy’s mom? In the last lines of the film, Hushpuppy delivers a closing soliloquy: “When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces. When I look too hard, it goes away. But when it all goes quiet, I see they are right here. I see that I’m a little piece of a big, big universe.” The invisible pieces that she sees are the remnants of her family, so she knows that they are always with her. The reason they are small is to stay consistent with Hushpuppy’s revelation that she only makes up a tiny fraction of the world, and there is a place for her to fit in, even she and those around her are gone. Just like the beasts, this is her way of making sense of the world. Anyone in the audience could take her wisdom and find strength in it, no matter how mythical or fantastical the story is.

Beasts of the Southern Wild tells an unconventional story, but one that can connect a wide audience. It is charming in its own way through the use of a little girl determined to be remembered. Though she is young, she is brave. Hushpuppy uses her philosophical imagination to understand why her world is the way it is, what the heart beats are trying to say. By the end of the movie, she accomplishes that, eliminating the literal and metaphorical beasts she feared all along.

Works Cited

Beasts of the Southern Wild. Dir. by Benh Zeitlin. Perf. by Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. Fox, 2012.

Berlin, Jeremy. “The Story Behind ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’” The National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 17 July 2012,

Hackett, Thomas. “The Racism of ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’” The New Republic, The New Republic, 19 Feb. 2013,

Black Masculinity in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

Black masculinity, a preconceived notion that suggests that Black men are “inherently inferior, aggressive, and violent,” is one of the reasons why racial injustices persist in the United States today (Ferber).  In Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee highlights the racial tensions that exist in America during the 1980s. These racial tensions, however, continue to plague present-day America. The movie is set in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, a primarily African-American neighborhood. In the film, Spike Lee creates the character Radio Raheem, a man who is meant to act as an all-encompassing representation of Black masculinity. Physically, Radio Raheem appears to be the stereotypical Black male, as described by Spike Lee. He is large and menacing-looking, but he does not engage in violence without a justifiable reason. When a seemingly justified reason arises for Radio Raheem to act violently, it is met by his demise. Unfortunately, the unjustified “steadfast images of Black man naturalize and reinforce […] the message that Black men are naturally aggressive [and] violent,” which is why the White policemen in the movie feel the need to control him, ultimately killing him in the process (Ferber). In Do the Right Thing, Radio Raheem is used as a way to demonstrate that Black masculinity and the fear fostered by this idea will continue to promote racial injustice and prevent integration between the Black and White races.

The early stereotypical ideas that surround Black individuals are used to vindicate policing and punishment in America. During slavery, Black men were objectified. White owners treated and viewed Black men as “beasts who had to be controlled and tamed to be put into service” (Ferber). The comparisons made between African-Americans and animals completely dehumanized the Black race as a whole, which caused them to be viewed as “savages.” As a result, White owners felt the need to “domesticate” their slave and severely punish and abuse them. Despite the changes that occurred post-slavery, which led to slaves being recognized as people, this did not put an end to the view that African-Americans are aggressive and violent. These early ideas surrounding African Americans took a new form, known as Black masculinity. The image generated by Black masculinity leads to distress within the White population, causing concern when considering “taming and controlling Black males” (Ferber). It is this fear and generalization surrounding the Black race that promotes the divide. Today, many White policemen who associate Black males with Black masculinity are quick to exert their power and dominance over a Black male involved in a situation necessitating police intervention. Often times, they use their belief in Black masculinity to justify their unnecessarily violent actions against Black men before developing a greater understanding of the situation. If White policemen continue to react irrationally towards Black individuals, the Black race will continue to distrust the White race, promoting this endless cycle of hatred and violence.

Radio Raheem is one of the only characters that truly embodies Black masculinity in Do the Right Thing. In this film, most of the characters appear small in relation to Radio Raheem. Before Radio Raheem appears in the scene, his presence is known. The sound of his blasting boom box precedes his entry before his “physical stature fills the camera lens” (Johnson). Spike Lee uses a boom box to signal Radio Raheem’s entry as a way to accentuate Radio Raheem’s dominant and intimidating appearance, the same way that stereotypical Black males are viewed. Spike Lee carefully chooses to use medium close-up shots when filming Radio Raheem so that he towers over the other characters, particularly White characters like Sal. This shot choice is designed to place on emphasis on what Radio Raheem has to say, especially when he argues a need for pictures of Black individuals on the walls in Sal’s pizzeria. During this scene, Radio Raheem continuously manipulates his tone of voice in order to appear aggressive and deliver his words with authority.

Although Radio Raheem appears to be a stereotypical Black male in Do the Right Thing, the destruction of Radio Raheem’s boom box is an important example of how White individuals use their belief in Black masculinity to validate their actions. The climax of the movie begins when Radio Raheem and Buggin Out arrive at Sal’s pizzeria to assert themselves as they ask Sal to put pictures of Black individuals on the wall. Once the two men begin arguing with Sal, he feels a need to exert his dominance over the “threatening and violent Black men,” even though they do not come across as violent. In his attempt to control these Black individuals and catch their attention, he destroys Radio Raheem’s boom box.  Radio Raheem is angered because of Sal’s refusal to display pictures of Black individuals on the wall, but he does not initially engage in violence. However, the destruction of Radio Raheem’s boom box infuriates Radio Raheem and prompts him to act aggressively towards Sal, fully embracing this social construction of Black masculinity. If Sal had treated Radio Raheem as an equal and talked to him in a civil manner, he could have calmly communicated his reasoning for the lack of pictures of Black individuals on his wall, preventing the violence all together.  Spike Lee chooses an alternative ending in which Radio Raheem and Buggin Out fail at their attempt to promote equality. Sal’s refusal to cooperate with the two men reinforces the idea that persists in society today; “Black men are […responsible] for their own failure to succeed, and they must be controlled for their own good” (Ferber).

The assumed overly violent and hyper-masculine qualities of the Black race are what prompt the White policemen to exercise so much control over Raheem that they ultimately control his destiny, death. This scene is comprised of multiple shots that have been fragmented together to demonstrate the fighting leading up to Radio Raheem’s death and the characters’ reactions after the murder of Radio Raheem. As the fight between the White and Black race ensues, Sal and his sons against Buggin Out and Radio Raheem respectively, the policemen associate danger with the Black males in this scene. In order to diffuse the situation, the policemen are first to grab Buggin Out and Radio Raheem and handcuff them. The policemen fear “aggressive Black men” and assume that they are the cause of the issue, without first speaking to anyone to develop a greater understanding of the problem at hand. As Radio Raheem struggles to break free of a policeman’s grasp, the policeman places Raheem in a chokehold, killing him. In this scene, the “Black male body brings together the dominant institutions of (White) masculine power and authority” to do one thing, “to protect (White) Americans from harm” (Gray). Authority figures did not even consider that Sal or his sons might have been the cause for the violence because White individuals are rarely viewed as the perpetrators of a crime. Had the policemen properly evaluated the situation and separated all of the individuals in the fight, they might have been able to recognize those at fault during this scene. However, Spike Lee decides to have the scene end in Radio Raheem’s death in order to demonstrate how White policemen continue to be blinded by the idea of Black masculinity, causing them to do anything they can to prevent these “scary and aggressive Black men” from getting out of hand, even if that means inflicting death upon them. The racial injustice revealed in this scene did not only result in the death of an innocent Black male, but it also gave Black individuals within the community a reason to view White individuals, particularly White policemen, with scorn and disdain, furthering the divide between the Black and White races.

Critics claim that Spike Lee teaches his audience to do the wrong thing by teaching viewers that White policemen and white individuals are “the enemy.” That, however, is not the goal. Spike Lee is trying to bring police brutality towards Black individuals to light. Although the death of Radio Raheem is fictional, this death directly parallels the death of Eric Garner, a 6-foot-tall, large Black male who was killed after a White policeman put him in a chokehold. Eric Garner was approached by policemen for selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island. Although Eric Garner was wrong for participating in this illegal activity, this was not justification for his death. The videos taken during Garner’s death capture the encounter between Garner and the police, in which Officer Pantaleo presses Garner’s head to the pavement as Garner says his last words, “I can’t breathe” (Baker et al.). Although Eric Garner did not provoke or act aggressively toward the police officer, the underlying fear of the “inferior race” drove the officer to kill Garner while he had the chance. Was Spike Lee wrong when he decided to let Radio Raheem be killed by White policeman in his movie? No. The microcosms represented in Do the Right Thing was Lee’s vision of an authentic portrayal of the racial violence in New York, even though these views may be contested (Johnson). Both the death of Radio Raheem and Eric Garner capture the attention of the unwarranted racism that exists in law enforcement, causing the lives of many Black individuals to be ended early because of the fear perpetuated by Black stereotypes.

The Black Lives Matter Movement is a peaceful protest movement whose goal is to actively recognize the pervasive role of racism and reshape these views to promote equality and racial justice throughout America (Johnson). After the death of Eric Garner and other black individuals who experienced gratuitous deaths, the Black Lives Matter Movement strove to bring attention to the problems that exist between race and law enforcement, beginning an attempt to put an end to the institutionalized racism that exists in the United States. In Do the Right Thing, Buggin Out and Radio Raheem are representative of those who participate in this movement. Due to their awareness of the racist individuals that work at Sal’s pizzeria, they attempt to gain a following and peacefully boycott this business. Their peaceful boycott was not very long-lived, but they did succeed in informing the community that their race is marginalized by the workers at Sal’s. Their recognition of the inequalities their race faces and their desire to put an end to this racial injustice peacefully is one of the ways this movie tries to promote integration in the same way the Black Lives Matter Movement tries to promote integration in America.

Peaceful and violent methods for achieving racial justice appear to be ineffective in the film. At the end of the movie, Radio Raheem is killed when he peacefully tries to gain acknowledgement for Black individuals in Sal’s Pizzeria. Additionally, the destructive action towards Sal’s pizzeria, in response to Radio Raheem’s murder, only entices other Black members of the community to join in the violence. In both examples, the Black individuals are viewed as “fucking n******,” and fail to gain respect from the White individuals in the film. Spike Lee incorporates quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X at the end of the film to offer an explanation for the two contrasting methods of action. Martin Luther King Jr., a proponent for peaceful protest, argues that “violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. […] It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert” (Johnson). Although Martin Luther King Jr. is justified in his rationalization for nonviolence, peaceful protests are only effective when the receiving party is willing to work with the protestors to collectively find a solution. Unfortunately, the ideas and fears perpetuated by Black masculinity influence many individuals, and prevent them from effectively listening to what Black individuals have to say.  If Black individuals are instantly disregarded, imprisoned, or killed for conveying their ideas like Buggin Out and Radio Raheem were, will the United States ever achieve racial justice? No. In this case, the Black individuals will lose to the White individuals who are deemed as “superior,” and Black Americans will continue to be marginalized.

Contrastingly, Malcolm X’s more radical approach towards achieving racial justice is unsuccessful as well. Even though Malcolm X suggests that violence can be used as means for “self-defense,” he fails to realize that Black individuals participating in violence aids in promoting the idea of Black masculinity. If already-biased White individuals see Blacks partaking in vandalism or actions of violence towards Whites, who initiated physical or verbal abuse, many will not seek to understand the reason behind these Black individuals’ motivations. Black individuals will continue to be viewed as the “aggressive” and “dominant” despite their valid reasons for their actions. In Do the Right Thing, Black members of the community actively sought vengeance after the murder of Radio Raheem. By destroying the White-owned pizzeria in support of Radio Raheem, they brought attention to the injustice of his death, but his death did not act as an impetus for change. The violence brought upon by the Black individuals only succeeded in supporting the idea that Blacks are “violent” and “need to be controlled,” ideas associated with Black masculinity. Violence did not bring together the two races as the Black individuals may have hoped, but rather increased racial tensions between the groups.

In Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee, a film director of great ingenuity, effectively portrays the inequalities faced by those who are marginalized. By creating characters that embody the characteristics associated with Black masculinity, like Radio Raheem, Lee brings awareness of how some people view Black individuals today. His inclusion of the opposing ideas offered by Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are used to demonstrate that there needs to be an alternative way to promote racial justice in society. Peaceful protest and violence seem to only be effective temporarily, if at all. Spike Lee argues that there will be greater racial integration between Whites and Blacks when people are entirely devoid of the ideas perpetuated by ideas of Black masculinity. How can entire population effectively remain uninfluenced by fears and ideas perpetuated by stereotypes? Spike Lee does not offer any answers; yet, he does know that until individuals evaluate others based on their character and situation rather than the color of their skin, there will continue to be these feelings of distrust and contempt between Blacks and Whites.


Works Cited

Baker, Al, et al. “Beyond the Chokehold: The Path to Eric Garner’s Death.” The New York Times, 13 Jun. 2015, Accessed 23 April 2018.

Ferber, Abby. “The Construction of Black Masculinity.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, vol.31, no. 1, 2007, pp. 11-24, Accessed 23 April 2018.

Gray, Herman. “Black Masculinity and Visual Culture.” Callaloo, vol. 18, no. 2, 1995, pp. 401-405,  Accessed 23 April 2018.

Johnson, Brian. “Baltimore 2015, Black Lives Matter and the Presience of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.” Filmint, Accessed 23 April 2018.

Revelations about Revolutions: Persuading Perceptions Through Music

Molly Cartwright


Revelations about Revolutions: Persuading Perceptions Through Music

      Entertainers often use their forms of entertainment as a platform to bring awareness to social justice issues. This is seen throughout Hollywood: Dave Chappelle’s “Equanimity” and “The Bird Revelation” and celebrity speeches inspired by the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globe Awards. J. Cole is a rapper also popularly known for spreading awareness about social justice issues through his music. In his single “High for Hours,” released on Martin Luther King Junior Day in 2017, J. Cole addresses black oppression and a multitude of connecting issues. The main function of his song is to propose that the solution to equality does not come from the oppressed overthrowing the oppressors.  Instead, the cycle of abuse must end, and the decision to revolutionize must be an individual one, must be a revelation, must happen on the inside. He recognizes that his message is perceived as controversial by different audiences and writes his song in a way that appeals emotionally, ethically, and logically to his audience. Pathos is established through a deceptive song title that, when juxtaposed with the content of the rest of the song, evokes shock; intentional word choices that elicit empathy; an overload of evidence, an emotional instrumental, and chorus that conjures hopelessness.  He establishes ethos by demonstrating his extensive knowledge of current racially charged issues, his experience with oppression, and his sincere attempts to solve that very oppression. Finally, J. Cole establishes logos by providing evidence against a possible counter argument, and by using history and clear examples to support his final message: “the only real revolution happens right inside of you.”

      In the very beginning, Cole gives the audiences a feeling of shock through a deceptively cool title and introduction that contrasts the serious content of the rest of song. The title of this song functions as a way to draw in listeners that may not otherwise seek out songs about oppression and also to evoke a feeling of shock. With a title referencing drugs in a nonchalant manner, one does not expect to be led through a series of reflections on suppression and abuse of power. The druggy, joking introduction also sharply contrasts the first verse’s list of American hypocrisies, and this surprising divergence elicits a powerful sense of shock from the audience. This astonished reaction functions to capture the listeners full attention and emotional investment in the song’s words by sparking their interest with the unexpected and forcing them to listen carefully in order to understand.

Cole’s specific word choice also evokes an empathetic response that deeper captures the understanding and emotional commitment of the audience. When discussing police brutality, he raps “now somebody’s son is layin’ breathless.” This reference humanizes the victim of such a brutal crime and captivates as much as it revolts. This line requests an empathetic response from both a black and white audience by noting a universally devastating and painful event; the idea of losing a child is horrendous to people of any background. This emotionally charged language works as an equalizer, bringing equal footing to an issue that often seems racially biased. Regardless of skin color or personal experience with police brutality, the loss of a child is universally understood. This increased ability to understand and share the feelings of the oppressed works to gain the listener’s emotional investment in the song.

Cole elicits a feeling of hopelessness through an overload of information in the first verse, and an emotionally charged chorus and instrumental to put the listener in a vulnerable state, creating the perfect window to easily pass on his advice. The first verse overflows with examples of hypocrisy related to black oppression: American settlers’ pursuit of freedom at the same time slavery was widely practiced, justification of murder by the Christian church and ISIS, police brutality by those who follow doctrines of “thou shall not kill,” and impoverished black communities lacking much-needed government funding. He chooses his words carefully, and this practice allows him to avoid unnecessary transition words and to go directly into the next rail against hypocrisy or example of black oppression. Cole’s intense rap provides the opportunity for a plethora of issues to be discussed in each line and leaves the listener feeling overwhelmed and hopeless at the endless injustices in need of solving. Both the lyrics and instrumental aspects of the chorus generate a feeling of desperation and sadness. Cole repeats his line “the type of shit that make you wanna let go” to emphasize that these issues and the lack of change make those affected want to give up. These words follow every verse to continuously remind the listener about the prevailing hopelessness surrounding the issues addressed. In addition to the depressing lyrics, the downward piano scale and groovy background give the listener a chance to breathe and contemplate the tragic aura that surrounds this song, a feeling that few rap songs attempt to reckon with. This continued sense of hopelessness leaves the audience feeling lost and without their own answers to these issues, awaiting the inevitable solution that J. Cole will provide in anxious anticipation.

Before attempting to pass on his controversial message about revolution, J. Cole establishes his credibility on this topic in order to show the listener that he is not blaming the black community, and that he is asking for this inner revolution to occur in people of all kinds.  His ability to gain the listener’s trust in his character is critical because without the ethical appeal, his message may be perceived as dubious and distorted.  His suggestion to fix one’s self to create the biggest change in world instead of revolting can be viewed by the black community as another form of black oppression because white people often hold black individuals responsible for unfortunate situations. This American ideal of “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” is used as a way to silence their pleas for change and to maintain the forms of systematic racism that continue to disadvantage black people.

Cole establishes ethos by expounding upon his awareness of oppression, his personal experience with oppression, and his sincere endeavors to combat oppression.  He gains authority in the first verse by demonstrating to the black community that he is well aware of the issues facing black people and that he even faces these forms of oppression. He describes his personal experience in Dallas as being “lost in the Wonderland where niggas still suffering” to indicate how closely he personally identifies with the issues discussed throughout the song. By including his own experience with oppression, he indicates to the listener, specifically a black listener, that his end message is not an attack on black people.  In verse two, J. Cole says “I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him” to build his reputation by indicating that he had a discussion and established a relationship with a well-respected and qualified political leader like President Obama. It also shows that J. Cole is sincere in his attempt to end oppression because he personally paid money and spent time to go discuss issues about black oppression. He proves his knowledge on issues of oppression, discusses his experience with oppression, and demonstrates his sincere actions to solve oppression in order to build trust with the audience so he can pass on his message without perceptions of blaming or ignorance.

The last mode of persuasion is this song is effective inclusion of logos, a difficult feat in the rap world. Anticipation of counterarguments and almost universal examples take the listener through a logical procession of information and evidence. A counterargument to J. Cole’s theory of revolution could be to address the system itself and attempt to change the external rather than the internal. Cole takes time to refute this argument before he even exchanges his own message with the audience. In the second verse, he discusses how even our first African American president who wished to free black people from oppression and suffering wasn’t able to do so under our current political system. By showing that a man with “all the power in the clout” can’t effectively bring change to the system, J. Cole elucidates to the listener that attempting to change the system, or the external, is a fruitless action that even one of the most powerful people in the world could not enact. This example of government inaction also contributes to the overall sense of hopelessness in “High for Hours,” and once again Cole references a problem that is not specific for any racial group. It seems that no matter what station one holds, there is no effective way to revolutionize the systems we all exist under without first changing the ideals that rest inside each individual; this is not an effort to be completed without extensive transformation.

Cole openly acknowledges that he used to believe that a collective revolution was the answer until he meditated on the history of revolution which provided his current message with logical evidence. He suggests that the audience “take a deeper look at history” to realize that the “abused becomes the abuser,” and that the cycle of abuse effectively never ends. The listener must then reconcile her own knowledge of history with the unforgiving lens through which Cole is looking at oppression.  A version of Cole’s observation on a massive scale is seen through the history of the French Revolution. The French people overthrew the monarchy in a violent manor that resulted in them becoming just as corrupt as their previous oppressors. Cole then slips easily into a riff on domestic abuse, pointing out that “the children in abusive households grow up knockin’ girlfriends out cold–that’s called a cycle.” He takes this large-scale, philosophical understanding of the endless cycle of corruption inherent in revolution and familiarizes it for the reader by referencing the tangible, the everyday, the known. This makes a theory that may otherwise be hard to comprehend more relatable and understandable for the audience.

Throughout “High for Hours”, J. Cole’s modes of persuasion function to inspire inward change among individuals in order to work towards the end of oppression. He uses his platform as an entertainer to address the problems he observes in the world and takes this even a step further by addressing the nature of revolution and the complexities of human behavior. His revelation about revolution offers a solution to the corrupt cycle of oppression, and there is no mumble in his message. He wants you, me, and everyone to come to terms with the nasty parts of our world and the general unwillingness to cleanse them. There is action to be taken, and it may not be what one expects—instead of pitting the oppressed against the oppressor, he is calling upon all of humanity to undergo an inward and individual revolution that will end the cycle of oppression forever.



Cole, J.”High for Hours.” Dreamville Inc. 2017, track 1.Genius,




The Significance of Black Panther to African American Society

Win Martin

Dr. Sarah Boyd

ENGL 129

29 April 2018

The Significance of Black Panther to African American Society

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (2018) is a superhero film that has unmatched social significance in comparison to other movies in this particular industry. In a film culture where there is little racial diversity between heroes, Black Panther is a movie that portrays a black protagonist with a great depth of character and personality that is refreshing in a largely monotonous genre. Set in present day, Black Panther describes a country with technology and wealth far beyond any other world power, and a leader with an undeniable strength of character and will. The value of this film lies in its profound ability to celebrate black culture and inspire black people through character development and setting.

Coogler’s first tool in paying homage to African culture is his portrayal of the fictional country of Wakanda to create a deep sense of pride in the hearts of black moviegoers. His style of Afrofuturism combines a visually sensational mixture of futuristic technology and African heritage to create beautiful cities and costumes. In popular American media, Africa is often displayed as a continent that is terrifically poor and in constant need of aid. The focus lies primarily on the needs of the continent, rather than the rich cultural histories that lie within it. Wakanda, on the other hand, is far and away the most developed nation in the world with wealth and technologies far greater than any other country. Through his use of Afrofuturism, Coogler presents Wakanda as a wonderful mix of different African cultures and advanced technology as a place to be praised rather than pitied.  The architecture in the main city is beautifully developed and as production director, Hannah Bleacher, said, “That’s what Wakanda is…. It’s all the cultures that came together while they’re still individual. They have found a way to combine their aesthetic to create a Wakanda aesthetic” (Wilson, 2018). By having cultural diversity simply in the skyline, Coogler exalts the beauty of different African cultures in a way that almost no blockbuster, especially a superhero one, has done to date. Even though it is a fictional nation, Wakanda’s ability to blend different African art forms in a way that is so visually stunning makes the country a magnificent celebration of black history.

The portrayal of King T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) in Black Panther is important to African American audiences in that they finally see a hero of their skin color in a universe where practically every other hero is white. While there have been other minor black heroes such as War Machine (played by Don Cheadle and introduced in Justin Favreau’s Iron Man 2 (2010)), or Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie and introduced in Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)), they have very little significance in comparison to the primary plot of the white hero. At best they are sidekicks to white heroes Captain America and Iron Man, and at worst they are a miserable attempt to bring in racial diversity. The release of Black Panther, however, finally breaks this trend by introducing a lead black character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. T’Challa, as King of Wakanda and Black Panther, represents a beautiful image of physical, moral, and intellectual strength to black moviegoers. With the power of the “heart-shaped herb,” T’Challa is the first line of defense in protecting the safety and vitality of his country and its people. As a king who always leads with diplomacy, but isn’t afraid of precise and controlled violence in dire circumstances, T’Challa represents the perfect balance of restraint and action when it comes to matters of injustice. These are some of the character qualities that make him so valuable to black audiences. Because of his own resilience in the face of adversity, T’Challa has become an inspiration for African American audiences to “soar and tack action” as “strong black bodies of justice” (Johnson, 2018).

T’Challa’s significance not only lies in his strength but in the recognition of his weaknesses. One article by writer Meg Downey noted, “From the first story beat, T’Challa’s vulnerability and emotional availability drive the story forward in unflinching fashion.” (2018). When T’Challa is first crowned king, he is ceremoniously buried in order to visit the ancestral plain. Upon arriving, he is greeted by his father who died in Anthony and Joe Russo’s previous film Captain America: Civil War (2016). Two things, in particular, stand out in this interaction. For one, T’Challa is immediately moved to tears of grief as he expresses his sense of guilt over his father’s death. He was there when the bomb that killed his father went off and he blames himself for not being quick enough to stop it. He then follows this by saying that he is not ready. To the audience and to his father, it seems as though he is insecure about having to be king. However, T’Challa clarifies by saying, “I am not ready to live without you.” Unlike most superheroes, T’Challa isn’t attempting to feign emotional fortitude or use humor to mask his pain. Instead, he shows a unique moment of extreme heartache through verbal communication in a way that feels palpable to the audience. The anguish that he expresses isn’t portrayed as a sign of weakness, rather it is his because of his grief that he can be the humble and strong ruler we see in T’Challa. Living in a society where masculinity is exhibited by a lack of emotion, seeing a brave and powerful man show such lament demonstrates the validity of mourning a loss. Coogler redefines masculinity in this scene through showing that even someone as strong and tough as the Black Panther is aware and accepting of his own pain.

The typical American social order is further altered through the significant roles women play in the country of Wakanda. Beginning with General Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and her militia of spear bearing women, the role of females in Wakanda is quickly established as one of strength, honor, and independence. She is frequently seen fighting alongside T’Challa against his enemies, as well as boldly engaging them on her own without a second thought. Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o) possesses a similar skill and fearlessness as an undercover spy and humanitarian. She lives with a heart of generosity through her empowerment of impoverished peoples across Africa by defending those who can’t defend themselves. Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), is both T’Challa’s little sister and top scientist in Wakanda. It is Shuri who creates the advanced technology of the Black Panther suit and because of her intelligence, she even heals bullet wounds to the spine with ease. Finally, T’Challa’s mother shows immense leadership in supporting her son throughout his reign, especially in the times when he cannot support himself. As writer Monica Jones put it, “As a rare leading man who isn’t defined by toxic masculinity, T’Challa is surrounded by strong women whose feminine power fortifies, rather than antagonizes, his own masculinity” (2018). The women in Black Panther display an individuality and fortitude that goes unmatched by almost any other female character in the genre, and it is only by relying on them that T’Challa is able to lead with such confidence. Each has her own personality and each plays a vital leadership role in the film. Much like T’Challa’s strength empowers many African Americans to fight for justice with the same ferocity, the women of Wakanda are specifically inspirational to African American women and girls that they may walk with same bravado and independence.

Black Panther’s depth of influence is also found in its poignant antagonist. Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan), born and raised in Oakland, CA, was just a kid when his father N’Jobu was killed by the previous Black Panther and T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. Heartbroken by the egregious treatment of his black brothers and sisters in America, N’Jobu made it his objective to distribute advanced Wakandan technology that the oppressed may free themselves by force. However, he is ultimately killed by T’Chaka for failing to come back to Wakanda peacefully, thus leaving a young Killmonger alone and fatherless. Little did T’Chaka know, Killmonger would grow up to take his father’s mission and fight relentlessly to make it a reality. He wanted to liberate not only the black’s in America but blacks all over the world by taking Wakanda off the sidelines and putting them in the fight against the powers of persecution. The gravity of his mission lies in the truth that he is right on both parts of his argument. For centuries, abuse of people of color has been rampant across the world, while Wakanda has sat in comfortable bliss. His pursuit of the throne is not in an effort gain power, but to distribute it into the hands of the powerless. His goal is not to destroy Wakanda, but to make it an enforcer of equality rather than an observer of oppression. There is nothing more relatable to audiences than an attempt to bring about justice to an issue that they personally wrestle with. Many black moviegoers can likely identify with his rage and thirst for justice. Rather continue on this slow, almost insufferable, path towards justice, why not follow Killmonger’s plan and make swift work in restructuring the social order? It is a quick fix to a systemic and chronic disease that has plagued the U.S. for centuries, and to minorities who identify with his level of pain, it seems like a viable option. Coogler does an incredible job of developing an antagonist whose story and whose hunger for equality resonates on the same level as the protagonist’s ability to inspire greatness.

The final touch to Black Panther that allows it to be impactful to African American society is the fact that most of the cast and much of the crew are black. As writer Taryn Finley said, “It matters that many of the people behind the scenes who are helping tell this story are black. They bring a cultural understanding to the set that can’t be learned, and they help elevate the film with a specific kind of nuance and sophistication” (2018). Everyone one from the director and writer Ryan Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole, to costume designer Ruth Carter and production director Hannah Bleacher, allowed for Wakanda to be created in a fashion that was as equally beautiful as it was potent. The shared experience and cultural awareness of each participant elevated “the film with a specific kind of nuance and sophistication” (Finley, 2018). It is because of this attention to detail that the film became as popular as it has been and has made it a fantastic source of pride and inspiration for black audiences across the world.

Ryan Coogler uses spectacular character development as well as breathtaking visuals to move audiences on many different emotional levels. Through its use of a vulnerable hero, formidable women, and a resonating villain, Black Panther draws out emotions of both courage and empathy in every viewer. It celebrates black culture and paints a picture of a world in which equality is a deep foundation rather than something that must be fought for. It is because of these things that Black Panther has become one of the most significant films in black culture.

(This is a clip of a group of children after being told they are going to see Black Panther that I found hilariously exciting as well as an excellent demonstration of how much this movie means to many African Americans.)

Works Cited

Coogler, Ryan, director. Black Panther. Marvel Studios, 2018.

Downey, Meg. “Black Panther’s Vulnerability Is Something Marvel Desperately Needs.”Polygon, Polygon, 22 Feb. 2018,

Favreau, Justin, director. Iron Man 2. Marvel Studios, 2010.

Finley, Taryn. “Here Are The Black People Behind The Scenes Who Made ‘Black Panther’ A Reality.” The Huffington Post,, 15 Feb. 2018,

Johnson, Tre. “Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture.”Vox, Vox, 23 Feb. 2018,

Russo, Anthony and Joe Russo, directors. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel Studios, 2014.

Russo, Anthony and Joe Russo, directors. Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios, 2016.

Sud, Kishordi. “A Powerful Woman Does Not Threaten a Man’s Position: Lupita Nyong’o.”DailyHunt, DailyHunt, 6 Feb. 2018,

Wilson, Mark. “Meet The Designer Who Created Black Panther’s Wakanda.” Co.Design, Co.Design, 23 Feb. 2018,

Get Out Long form Essay

What A Viewer is Supposed to Get Out of the Film

McKayla Jennings

English 129

Sarah Boyd

April 2018

“I do not like the deer. I’m sick of it. They’re taking over. They’re like rats. They’re destroying the ecosystem. I see a dead deer on the side of the road, I think to myself that’s a start.” This statement from Jordan Peele’s record-smashing movie, Get Out, seems to be a simple opinion.  However, one must understand that nothing said in this is merely a statement, but actually, everything has been calculated with meaning. Upon deeper observation, one can see that this movie is a symbolic showing for what is currently happening in the United States for minorities, specifically in black America. Chris Washington, the movie’s protagonist, is a young African-American male who seems to be simply visiting his current white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. The only thing Chris expects to do is capture pictures of the nature surrounding him in the forest of the Armitage family. When he reaches the home, Chris meets an interesting clan— a mother who is a mysterious yet notable psychiatrist who is Roses’ mother and an “eclectic” father who is a neurosurgeon, with a son in training. Two people who join this bunch are a petite maid who is as sensitive as a mouse and a distant gardener who can’t take his mind off running.

The focus of the trip soon turns to be an annual family gathering that Rose had apparently forgotten full of welcoming members, yet, the trip that Chris goes on becomes a symbol for the minority consistent struggle against systemic racism. This theme is developed throughout the film by way of the experimentation and brainwashing done to the African American within the film, the sunken place hindering them powerless, and by way of showing the current mindset of many “Woke” African Americans today.

Whenever one looks back at history, it seems as if those of African descent, traceable or not, are often handed the “short end of the stick.” From the slave trade to imperialism, this trend has continually grown and became worse through scientific development. A large portion of this movie is focused on taking the genes from a black person, as well as experimenting on the minds of this tormented race. This abuse links to systemic racism in that, viewers can see how being of a different race than white was made a biological separator, referring to things such as Social Darwinism, and gave reason for African American experimentation.

As a whole, the Armitage family represents this scientific dominance embraced by those who have held power over African Americans. The entire purpose of the weekend this the Armitage family was not to meet Rose’s current boyfriend, but to fulfill a jealousy within the family. Grandpa Armitage lost the qualifying round of the 1936 Olympics to a black male, Jesse Owens, and Dean Armitage says, “He almost got over it.” (Get Out, 19:55) This envy is what caused the research and interest in lobotomizing black people for their genes. Another aspect of this symbolism is the fact that members of the family are all interconnected in the medical field in some way, mainly focused on the brain. When thinking of purposed racism, this can be an allusion to the late 1700s through early 1800s when brain size and shape were believed to show racial dominance. This genealogical summarizing was one of the key factors that led to systemic racism in medicine that still occurs today in medicine. An example of this unfair domination can be seen in the Tuskegee Experiment of the nineties. For over 40 years black males in the Tuskegee community were unknowingly given syphilis with no cure by the U.S. Department of Public Health. These men were misled about the purpose of the study and never actually gave consent to participate in the “treatment” they received – just like Chris in the film. Chris believed he was being hypnotized just to be rid of his addiction to cigarettes, however, the true purpose of this experiment was to place Chris into the “sunken place”, so he would be under their control.

Adding to the explanation of the purpose of this films exposing of the systemic racism throughout history would be the use of the sunken place. When one feels that they are below others and only watching the world move around them this is what can be considered a sunken place. The sunken place is something that many African American have experienced while living in America, specifically living with a judicial system fighting against their success it seems. A growing problem in America is the war on drugs, to be specific— marijuana. THC consumption has been a growing epidemic within the black community since the last century. Millions have been unjustly jailed for years for carrying the most minuscule amounts of the drug, simply because it uses were looked down upon by the white race in power. Now that many people of the race have begun partaking in the use of marijuana it is slowly being legalized and made into a business. The black community, however, is still being jailed for having this substance and continuously held if they have been jailed before this legalization. This has caused a fall into the sunken place. Those imprisoned have no ability to resist the United States’ invincible judicial system and the people who have evaded arrest aren’t able to help their family in bonds. Here we can see this problematic hold portrayed in Get Out by the relationship with Logan/ Andre and Chris at the cookout in the movie. While both men are oppressed, Logan is the symbol for the trapped male who has no way to fight the system because they, the Armitage family, have a hold over him and when he tries to leave his sunken place they bring him back in.  Chris represents the other side of the sunken place because he is only able to watch his fellow black male be held in the clutches of the system put in place for their failure.

The sunken place is also shown within inner-racial relationships throughout the film. After Chris’ best friend Rod understands the risk of his friend losing his life while visiting the Armitage family he immediately goes to the police for help. However, upon telling the story twice to police force members, all of which who were minorities, he received nothing but laughs. This shows the sunken place that people sometimes try to put people of even the same racial community as them. In this case, Rod is oppressed by those who are so used to oppression, that when someone decides to call out the system’s problems they are blind to the true problems. The detectives see Rod as the crazy TSA agent looking for attention, not as a young male caring for his friend because that is often a rare thing in today’s society. When Rod viewing the movie, Rod is one person who always frets Chris’ journey to visit the Armitage family, which one could consider as “woke.”

The song “Redbone,” by Childish Gambino was, and still is considered, a knockout musical sensation because of its simple lyrics and subtle message. This song warned to beware of those you surround yourself with because you never know who really is or isn’t on your side. This song is played in the movie at one key point in time when viewers first see Rose driving to pick up Chris. Upon deeper observation, one can see that this song isn’t just merely played because it was popular at the time, but it is foreshadowing that Rose may not be all for Chris.

Building upon the fact that Rose drives Chris’ life to his potential demise, we see this in more ways than one such as when they are initially driving to her parents’ house Rose hits a deer. While viewing the damage, the camera pans and one can see that the only side of the car that is impacted is Chris’ (13:25). This too foreshadows that the only one who could be damaged by these travels are Chris. Another striking image at the wreck is that the deer Rose hits is a one that has no horns, meaning it is a young deer. However, as we fast forward to the end of the movie, while Chris is fighting for his life he uses a deer head, with full horns to save himself. The thing that was supposed to kill him, and what his enemy most hated, was the thing that saved Chris. The change in the age of the deer from the beginning to the end of the film is a symbol of the way Chris is now “woke.” He has seen the plans of his enemy and is fighting the battle for his life. This connects to systemic racism in now, being “woke” is the only thing one wants to be politically and socially. Society is changing and people now are seeing and learning of systemized oppression that many people of color live under and as a whole people are rallying. There has been a larger presence of black people in things such as voting, which is how one can take their deer and fight for their civil life rights. Power is also being gained within the black society as more people are using their voice to warn others of the way racism has been embedded to seem natural within the United States. Authors such as Michelle Alexander and writers such as Jordan Peele are using massive outlets to reach the broad general public and show what can happen if the racism continues.

Get Out isn’t meant to be a horror film that entertains the masses, but actually a movie to warn the masses. It unmasks societies systemic racism using something seen as one of the weakest members of society, a white female, to fight one of the most feared persons in society, a young educated black male. One must remember though, that her family portrays key points in systemic racism, such as unjust experimentation, the shrunken place, and the way in which one must grow to understand the problems in society.

At the end of the film, there is a short moment of tension because these roles in society are potentially fulfilled when the red and blue lights flash in the distance. One immediately thinks that Chris will be taken to jail because of his compromising position with his potential assassin, because of the way the characters have been portrayed in everyday society. Thankfully, the crisis is averted when one sees that it is Rod arriving in the vehicle. This is potentially a way to quickly remind you to stay woke. As a viewer, someone can watch an entire movie exposing systemic racism in today’s society, yet can immediately forget these warnings when the scenes get too close to reality.

The Truth About Eating Disorders: Hungry For Control

Society has created a monster, a monster that is the need to both lose and gain weight. Nearly, 20 million women in the United States alone will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Every 62 minutes at least one person dies due to an eating disorder. Throughout history there’s been the belief that women are merely an object of men’s sexual desires. A woman is suppose to be perfectly beautiful and intelligent, while being not too loud or opinionated; essentially she is supposed to be perfect in all aspects of life. The demands of womanhood have taken its toll on millions of women throughout the world. The toll of having to be perfect. The simple truth is the best way to be perfect is to not exist. A woman starves herself in hopes of fulfilling one of the seeming qualifications of being a women, to be skinny. The hope is if she’s skinny, the world will ignore the rest of her flaws, since we as a society deem being skinny as being beautiful. So when a woman or young girl feels incomplete, they could turn to a wide range of eating disorders in search of love, control and ultimately self acceptance. However, the regulation of food isn’t the only way to disappear; sometimes a woman might feel most invisible when she doesn’t fit society’s thin mold. A woman may gain weight in hope that the world will ignore her and allow her to feel safe for the first time in her life. When you think about an eating disorder, you think about a young girl obsessed with looking like a beautiful model, not an obese middle age black women or a biracial teen who is apart of the upper middle class. Eating disorders are more about being in control than they are about being skinny. In world filled with chaos sometimes the only control someone has is what they do with their bodies. In the memoir, Hunger., and the film, Feed, we are shown a different side of eating disorders. A side that isn’t filled with rich white girls obsessed with becoming beautiful. We are introduced to the stories about the true trauma and the heights one goes in order to gain control of life.
In the 2017 film, Feed, high school senior, Olivia Grey deals with the loss of her twin brother in a car accident. Matt , Olivia’s twin, is the student body president and future frat boy, while Olivia is destined be valedictorian and attending Yale in the fall. After Matt dies, it becomes clear the amount of pressure Olivia is under and how close she was with her twin. The moment Matt dies, Olivia starts to destroy her relationship with food. At Matt’s wake, Olivia stricken with grief refuses to eat. Weeks after her twin’s death it comes to Olivia’s attention that she might not have the highest GPA, she then proceeds to throw herself into her schoolwork. Olivia is so focused on school and obtaining the highest GPA that she forgets to eat. As time progresses, Olivia deliberately stops eating dinner and lunch, only eating an apple or banana in the morning. During one of her late night study sessions, Matt appears in her bedroom ready to ease his twins pain. He offers to help her study and promises after they finish, they’ll pig out of ice cream like old times. Olivia is overjoyed at seeing her deceased brother. The appearance of her brother, drives Olivia over the edge by leaving everything to her brother, even eating. She brings bags of food for her brother by their old treehouse. Olivia believes if she feeds her brother, he won’t leave her.
It becomes clear to the audience that Matt is not having a positive impact on Olivia’s life when after a long night of studying Olivia becomes frustrated and distracted. Matt becomes aggressive and demands Olivia to get up and go for a run. A couple of days later, Olivia goes to Julian’s house. When she and Julian are about to kiss, Matt decides to interrupt and starts to speak to Olivia. “ Do you want me to go Liv, so you can be alone. Don’t let him distract you Liv.” Olivia stops and Julian becomes concerned. Matt then proceeds to say “ His gonna go to college, going to meet other girls, smarter, prettier girls who aren’t messed up in the head like you. He’s gonna leave you Liv. He’s gonna hurt you Liv, he’s gonna hurt you I know it. I’ll never leave you because I love you.” During Matt’s speech Julian is talking to Olivia , asking her what’s wrong and trying to make sure she’s alright. Julian then tells Olivia he loves her. After hearing Julian’s confession Olivia ignores her brother and proceeds to try hook up with Julian. Julian leaves to grab what the audience can infer is a condom. Olivia asks Matt to leave and Matt responds by saying “Let’s see how long you last without me this time.” Olivia and Julian proceed to hook up, in this moment when Olivia is only in her underwear the audience can vividly see how sick she has actually become. While they are hooking up, Olivia starts to panic after she begins to replay the car accident in her head. She accidently screams her brothers name, scaring Julian causing him to ask her to leave and tells her she needs help. The scene shows how much control her trauma and her brother have over her. The new Matt is not like the brother she used to know. It is her disorder using her grief as weapon forcing her to stop eating. The audience can clearly see that Matt is not really her brother but a physical manifestation of her eating disorder. The Eating disorder forces Olivia out of situations where she lacks control. Olivia’s eating disorder is a way for her to deal with the death of her brother and the stress she faces due to school.
During her parents Christmas party, it becomes even more apparent that Olivia is mental ill and needs help, when her mother finds bags of rotten food hidden behind the twins old treehouse and Matt (her ED) tries to convince Olivia to jump from the roof , so they can die together. Olivia asks Matt to not make her do this; Matt in response says “ This isn’t going away Liv, it’s not going to end after graduation. You think dads gonna let you do whatever you want? He’s not. You’re going to his school; you’re taking over his firm just like he wanted me to do. They’ll never gonna love you, not like I do.” He then proceeds to comfort Olivia, telling her he loves her. She asks if it’s gonna hurt and he says “nothing will ever hurt again” and she has to do this because she promised they would die together. Matt’s conversions with Olivia is merely an inner monologue between her and her ED.
Luckily, her parents stop her before she jumps. However, even after Olivia’s parents check her into rehab, Matt follows and continues to emotionally abuse her and convince Olivia he needs to the food more than she does. This film is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to live with a mental illness and the extreme difficulties someone faces on the road to recovery. The producer and actress, Troian Bellisario dealt with an eating disorder, anorexia, in her late teens just like Olivia giving a realistic insight to eating disorders. Troian originally wrote the screenplay for Feed fours years after she went to rehab herself. Troian explained in interviews that her own story with anorexia inspired Feed. Mass media for years has portrayed eating disorders as simple and an easy fix. In Feed, that is not the case even after rehab Olivia still at times of stress around food sees her ED, manifested as her dead brother. In the case of any mental illness, the battle does not end in rehab or after, with the use expensive medication nor therapy. Not only does the media portray eating disorders as an easy fix but as a one dimension disorder that is ruled and controlled by the need to be skinny to meet society ideals. Based on Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger., that’s not in any form the truth.
In the memoir, Gay talks about her own struggles with her weight, not losing weight, but gaining it. In the beginning of her memoir she writes “This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not, stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think they know the why of my body. They do not (Gay.5).” People passing Roxana Gay on street do not see her disorder or trauma, only her weight. When Gay was twelve years old, she was gang raped in the woods near her family home. For nearly 30 years she kept it a secret from her family. That’s where Gay lost control of her body and realized she needed to take control back, so she started to indulge in food in hope that she could hide. “…I ate because I thought that if my body became repulsive, I could keep men away. Even at a young age, I understood that to be fat was to be undesirable to men. This is what most girls are taught- that we should be slender and small. We should not take up space. We should be seen and not heard, and if we are seen, we should be pleasing to men, acceptable to society(Gay.13).” Gay, like a number of women, are forced to believe that being skinny is the synonym for being beautiful. Due to society’s expectations, Gay began to eat more and more creating a body she could feel safe in. The sexual assault Gay went through took a toll and created a life trauma and a void that she felt needed to be filled. She states “ I was determined to fill the void, and food was what I used to build a shield around what was left of me.” Gay’s story captures a different side of eating disorders, the other side of the spectrum. Eating disorders do not revolve around just losing weight, but are defined as a wide range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Every eating disorder is different and has different triggers, causes and treatments needed. Gay’s story provides a new perspective on trauma and the eating disorders that can follow. Gay talks about eating disorders in a way most have been afraid to do. People are afraid to consider that one is capable of defying society’s expectations and battle trauma by gaining weight instead of losing it. The thing about trauma is there is no wrong or right way to battle it.
Both Feed and Hunger. capture eating disorders in a different light that is often not talked about in the mass media. Each person has a distinct way they deal with trauma and the need for control, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia or purging. The discussion between the media and the public needs to be inclusive toward everyone. Everyone can be affected by an eating disorder no matter their weight, race, or gender. The reason I hold Hunger. And Feed at a high regard is they open up the conversion to be inclusive of everyone not just the stereotypes people have when they know someone has an eating disorder. Eating disorders are an epidemic and the best way to fight it, is to open up the conversion. We are capable of taking control of the situation and ultimately creating a positive narrative that help those who are affected by not only eating disorders, but mental illness in general.

Matthew Snyder Final paper

Matthew Snyder

Sarah Boyd

Engl 125

April 23rd 2018

Get Out

Jordan Peele’s Get Out was invigorating, intriguing, and utterly unique throughout the entirety of the film. Peele’s first film will go down as an instant-classic, as it engages the viewer with the plot; providing peculiar scenes that puzzle the viewer more and more as the film carries on. Because these scenes gradually indicate what might happen next, a singular glance away from the screen would leave out details paramount to the plot, characters, and the overall message of the movie. While these details do foreshadow future events vaguely, Get Out leaves the viewer guessing until the very end. This film was produced extremely well from a film analytic and box office standpoint; seen through its outstanding critic reviews and instant financial success. However, Jordan Peele’s first film is even more of a success due to the message it portrays about the stereotyping and racial profiling of African Americans. Although always a relevant and important topic, this movie was released at an opportune time due to movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, continuous racial profiling and mistreatment by policemen, and racism that still lingers in some people today. Peele uses a “thriller” themed movie to literally portray the thoughts and feelings of African American’s in the United States without blatantly saying so. This can been seen through Chris’s constant worry over Rose’s parents perception of him; and also, somewhat ironically, Rod’s continuous warnings for Chris to return home. For example, as Rod wisely said,” Sex slave! Oh, shit! Chris, you gotta get the fuck outta there, man! You in some Eyes Wide Shut situation, Leave, motherfucker!” Even though it was meant to be humorous, Jordan Peele is pointing out the real fear of being black in a “white world”. I believe that this film embodies the feelings felt by many today, and that its vast success is in large part due to the social message hidden behind every scene. I will dissect certain scenes and make comparisons to demonstrate that Peele is portraying the stereotyping and racial profiling of blacks going on in the United States today.

An important motif seen in this film is the Armitage family’s unjustified need to “validate” their relationship with or opinion of black people. Seen in the initial scene of the film, Rose uses the point that her father would vote for Obama again as an attempt to calm Chris’s worries. However, this is counterproductive because it defines both president Obama and Chris by their race, making a correlation between the two that lacks any credibility. A Dave Chappelle quote that resonates with me after watching the film is his saying,” I think every group of black guys should have at least one white guy in it.” I believe this quote is relevant because it demonstrates Dave Chappelle, a black man, is willing and eager to engage with white culture. Throughout his career, Chappelle has made light of people from every country, race, gender, or any other defining characteristic; and white people were no exception. However, Chappelle also has a connection with all of these people, understanding each person’s struggles and battles. I believe this is the exact counterpart to what we see in the film, which sadly represents a greater percentage of the United States population. Peele demonstrates human nature’s tendency to try and fit in with one another throughout the “lunch party” scene. Unlike Dave Chappelle, the members of the Armitage family were crude by racially profiling Chris, as if being black was his

Only defining characteristic. An overlying example is that of Mr. Dray’s Tiger Wood’s discussion, even though Chris mentions he has played golf only one time prior. Mr. Dray, and all of the others, are discussing topics that technically apply to Chris, his race; therefore, racially profiling him rather than discussing is other characteristics. In other words, Peele is pointing out the white tendency to identify a black person as a black person, rather than simply a person; and also, their inability to see past one’s color when forming a relationship.

As Dave Chappelle said, ”The hardest thing to do is be true to yourself, especially when everybody is watching.” Not only does this apply to the Armitage relatives’ inability to be themselves in front of Chris, it also describes the Armitage family’s ploy of luring in black men to be sent to the “sunken place.” Rose seems to be the only Armitage that sees Chris for more than his skin color. While the rest of her family is passively racist, Rose seems to be what many would call a normal person. However, five months were spent acting, toying, and lying to Chris in order to achieve their horrific goal. I believe Peele is demonstrating that people, more specifically white people, tend to act normally alongside black people, even though they are suppressing racist tendencies underneath. An example of this in reality is the NFL’s agreement to pay a small sum of money to African American causes so that their players would stop protesting, specifically for #BlackLivesMatter. Even though the agreement seems like a positive gesture, the NFL is more worried about themselves rather than the black athletes for whom they donated. Likewise, in Get Out, Rose acts like a generous person; however, she is self-driven in her reasons. Even though Chris, or black people, is being treated well on the outside, there are still factors that ultimately led to his/their mistreatment. Unknown until the end, the plot is actually focused on white culture silently manipulating the African American people while hiding behind fake gestures that seem genuine. As Chris is bound to the chair, a conversation with Mr. Hudson leads Chris to understand his ultimate fate: a life stuck in the sunken place. While an incredibly seldom part of the movie, Chris’s reaction is that much more powerful. His reaction? Nothing. Just a blank stare at the television screen because he could feel it coming all along. In this moment, every worry or question he had was answered, and he was not the least bit surprised. He simply accepted is fate because it was his fate all along. Whether Chris ends up being tricked by the Armitage family or not, his life would always have followed the same path: a life lived in the sunken place.

A “sunken place.” It is a strange yet powerful analogy that Peele uses to describe the feeling of being black in the United States. We see Chris aimlessly floating in there as another person, a white person, controls his body. Not only does this contribute to the idea that whites run the United States, but also the fact that some individuals possess an elevated level of power over others, specifically black people. The analogy is that African Americans in the United States develop feelings, reactions, and responses to the actions of white people, but they are extremely limited in their ability to voice these emotions; similarly to the black individuals being controlled by white people in Get Out. This is directly related to my earlier point that the opinions of social movements are so desperately suppressed by those in power, which is completely debilitating to that individual or group of people. A reason for this discrepancy between allowing individuals to have feelings without allowing them to voice it is the lack of transparency with those in power. An excellent example of this comes off of J Cole’s new album when he says:


Where do my dollars go? You see lately, I ain’t been convinced I guess they say my dollars supposed to build roads and schools But my N***** barely graduate, they ain’t got the tools Maybe ‘cause the tax dollars that I make sure I send Get spent hirin’ some teachers that don’t look like them And the curriculum be tricking them, them dollars I spend Got us learning bout the heroes with the whitest of skin.


There is a serious problem in the United States where the people have little to no idea what happens to our tax dollars, our votes, and our rights. Regardless, it seems as if these things simply go towards benefitting white people or prioritizing what white people have to say. J Cole states that the schools in black areas spend time and money teaching the success of white people, rather than empowering these kids through the great accomplishments of African Americans. I believe Peele embraced this philosophy when producing Get Out by centering the film on the accomplishments of the Armitage family and the other white folk. It is motifs such as these that enhance ones experience when watching Get Out, allowing the viewer to recognize and associate themselves with the social issues happening in the United States, while also enjoying a thrilling and energizing movie.

The last scene I would like to delve into is the scene in which Rob pleads the police officers to investigate the Armitage family. Not only did they ignore him, they laughed him out of the police station. An interesting thing to note is that all three of the officers were black, but they had intention of listening to what Rob had to say. I believe this is indicative of their fear of dealing with white people. The female officer jokingly said that “the white girl” was driving him insane. While humorous, this is telling of the relationship between blacks and whites within the United States’ society. Regardless if the officers had any belief in Rob’s story, as African Americans, they were not going to risk their jobs, or time, investigating a wealthy white family. Black individuals have no incentive to argue or challenge the decisions of the whites because, in the United States, whites guide the legislation and direction of this country. African Americans would be seen as asinine if they chose to confront the credibility of powerful whites, as would the police officers. Peele included this seen to demonstrate that even if a group of African Americans think like mindedly, they are still fearful of portraying these thoughts due to outside criticism.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out provides an excellent example of a film delivering a compelling message while also providing and executing a well thought-out storyline. Both of these things contribute to its massive success, and are the two reasons I rank Get Out in my top five films. I believe Peele created this film to point out the negatives of being black in the United States, and to provide some sort of insight to how it feels. I believe this film was released at an extremely perfect and important time within United States’ history, and will be seen as an all time success. I believe Peele, Kaluuya, and Howery will continue to win awards and be successes, empowering African Americans to succeed in the film industry that is just now embracing their story.