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Special Issue Articles

Vol. 3 No. 1 (2021): Im/Mobilities in American Culture

Black Im/Mobilization, Critical Race Horror, and the New Jim Crow in Jordan Peele's Get Out

April 29, 2019


In the United States, people of color are not allowed to move around freely in spatial or social terms. Confronted with the everyday horrors of racial segregation, discrimination, and the legacies of slavery, African Americans continue to be excluded from opportunities of upward mobility and experience cultural displacement based on the immobilizing practices of what Michelle Alexander calls "the New Jim Crow." On-screen representations of Black individuals in the horror genre mirror this racial(ized) ideology. Many earlier horror films, texts Isabel Cristina Pinedo classifies as "race horror," mark them as ferocious monsters who must be villainized, imprisoned, or murdered and thus subscribe to a logic of race as the root of American fears. Jordan Peele's directorial debut Get Out (2017) provides a counter-argument, depicting racism as the primary horror in American (popular) culture by investing in the decolonizing strategies of critical race theory to uncover the very real horrors of the prison industrial complex, commodification of the Black body, and racial profiling. In this article, I read Get Out as an example of what I term "critical race horror," texts whose narrative, generic, and cinematographic strategies subvert essentialist strategies of racial silencing and thus invest in necessary measures toward (Black) mobility justice.


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