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Get Out” is nom­i­nated for an Oscars. | Imdb

Director Jordan Peele’s debut film, “Get Out,” a thriller-comedy with ele­ments of psy­cho­logical horror, chal­lenges and expands the tra­di­tional American def­i­n­ition of racism, leaving audi­ences much to con­tem­plate but little to act upon.

“Get Out” is nom­i­nated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and although Peele deserves recog­nition for the movie’s original com­mentary on race in America com­bined with a refreshing rein­ter­pre­tation of the thriller genre, the his­torical scope of can­di­dates like “Dunkirk” and “The Darkest Hour” dwarfs the thriller-comedy.

In its attempt to show white Amer­icans as oblivious, priv­i­leged, and subtly bigoted, “Get Out” obscures actual racism. But what the movie lacked in a social com­mentary, it made up for with its patiently drawn-out plot line.

Most thrillers can’t seem to make it 15 minutes past the opening scene before the villain’s revealed, the pro­tag­o­nists start dying, and the writers abandon all sem­blance of plot in exchange for a pre­dictable sequence of unearned jump scares. Not “Get Out.”

Although it’s pretty clear from the beginning that white people are bad and black people are good, it isn’t revealed who’s in on the con­spiracy or what it is until three-quarters of the way through. The movie’s patience leaves viewers in a state of anxiety and uncer­tainty, the best emo­tions for a thriller.

And while it doesn’t par­allel the most serious forms of oppression in modern America, “Get Out” does give a unique inter­pre­tation of liberal or left-wing racism.

For a Fox News-watching, white, deplorable American, the message of “Get Out” feels clear: Whiteness bad, blackness good. And it’s hard not to feel this when (spoiler alert) the white people in “Get Out” hunt black people, alter their brains, and turn them into slaves. It’s a heavy-handed nar­rative, though not one without jus­ti­fi­cation.

In the film, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) brings home her boyfriend, a black man, to meet her family. Armitage’s family acts affec­tion­ately toward Chris Wash­ington (Daniel Kaluuya), while making subtle ref­er­ences to his race but never addressing it out­right.

In the first con­ver­sation between Armitage’s father and Wash­ington, the father says, “By the way, I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could.”

With awkward com­ments like this, the movie addresses the fas­ci­nation that white American lib­erals have with praising the culture, tra­di­tions, and fac­ulties of black Amer­icans, all the while dis­re­specting white culture as oppressive, irra­tional, and overly reli­gious.

Those who defend the racially charged message of “Get Out” argue that it presents racism through the lense of a horror film, making the message more palatable for people not inclined to believe the nar­rative. But the racial bias is so thinly veiled, and with so little tact, that it turns away white Amer­icans who may have con­nected with its premises if they were pre­sented on less hostile terms.

The original take shows the shift racism has undergone in American culture. The image of racists as white men wearing hooded white robes is all but dead in the United States. Peele doesn’t attack Neo-Nazis, either. The new racist is the white liberal, what some movie reviewers have referred to as the “negrophile.”

And this agenda leads to uncom­fortable, even cringe­worthy, moments in the movie, espe­cially when 60-plus-year-old white people make insen­sitive com­ments.

At one point, a white man is praising Washington’s superior “frame and genetic make-up,” even­tually con­cluding that “black is in fashion.”

In an interview with NPR, Peele said he wanted the audience to feel the irri­tation that comes from the “sort of lame reaching out to make a con­nection.” This reaching out is rarely to under­stand black culture, making it banal and dis­re­spectful.

“So it was important to me to, first of all, put the entire audience on the same page of what it feels like to be aware of these little subtle inter­ac­tions and the sort of under­lying racism that is sort of just being even slightly dis­tracted or to be made aware of your own race in a normal con­ver­sation,” Peele said.

Liberal racism will never be this obvious, but maybe the film’s writers thought Amer­icans needed an over­bearing pre­sen­tation of it to realize the absurdity of these sorts of state­ments. But there’s a danger to this, too: By pre­senting racism as a series of microag­gres­sions, in which elderly people from dif­ferent gen­er­a­tions unwit­tingly make uncom­fortable com­ments, “Get Out” could neglect the harsher real­ities of poverty, crime, and dis­crim­i­nation about life as an African American, real­ities hardly imag­inable to most middle-class Amer­icans.

Racism isn’t a plot that can be uncovered. Rather, mar­gin­al­ization of the black com­munity is prop­a­gated by a series of decades-long gov­ernment policies, including state-sanc­tioned abortion, anti-family welfare policies, and a racially moti­vated War on Drugs that has unjustly incar­cerated gen­er­a­tions of black men.

There’s no evil lair in the basement of a rich, white family, where elites gather to oppress poor, black people. The oppression is in front of our eyes.