In case you've been living under a rock, Jordan Peele (of Comedy Central's Key and Peele fame) has written and directed the newest thriller to hit theaters, Get Out. The movie is centered around a black man (Chris) in America visiting his white girlfriend's (Rose) family for the weekend. And everything that can possibly go wrong, does, and in the worst way possible.
This post contains several spoilers. But you've made it this far, so keep reading.
Rose's neurosurgeon father, Dean, and hypnotherapist mother, Missy, try to first establish themselves as anti-racist but as the movie continues, it becomes very clear this isn't the case. Missy offers to cure Chris of his smoking habit but he declines. As Chris goes out to sneak a smoke late at night, he ends up being hypnotized anyway by Missy, which we don't find out until it's too late.
Ultimately, we learn that the Armitrage family lures and kidnaps black people to their home in order to auction them off to the highest white (or Asian) bidder. They are then lobotomized and the white person's brain is inserted into their black bodies so they can continue living their lives. The black person is aware of what's happening, but because they've been hypnotized, it feels like they are looking up at their own lives while falling into a deep abyss.
While there are several great think-pieces (here, here and here) about how this movie is the most modern take on American slavery, that's not my lane. I know my lane and that's not it. I'm here to tell you how I walked away thinking about what travel lessons I was reminded of while watching the movie. I'm serious. I think about travel all the time, even during a movie about crazy white people. Stay with me.
1. Keep your phone charged at all times.
If Chris hadn't tried to keep charging his phone, he wouldn't have been able to send the photo to his best friend, Rod, who figured out that it was indeed their neighborhood friend, Andrew, who was missing (and now married to an elderly white woman).
When traveling, you just never know when you're going to need your phone to look up directions, communicate with a friend, or in the case of an emergency. I always carry a spare battery with me, especially while traveling. My phone is literally my lifeline. Trust me, I've had my fair share of travel emergencies and a phone has always come in handy.
2. If you have a bad feeling about something, speak up. Go with your gut.
There were several times throughout the movie that Chris was apprehensive about what someone said or did in response to his blackness, but he failed to speak up because of his relationship with Rose. Once he decided to speak out, it was already too late and the family had him cornered.
When you travel, always make sure that you go with your intuition. I can't stress that enough. If something doesn't feel right, it most likely isn't. It's always better to be safe than sorry. (Side note: Apparently, I'm turning into my mother with all this 'better safe than sorry' advice. *Shrugs* I guess it happens to the best of us.)
3. Know your travel companions.
Chris' first mistake was going on a trip with someone he had only known for four months. Did he really know Rose? Before they even left the city, he learned that she didn't tell her parents he was black. This should have been red flag #1. I know we live in a post-racial society and all (Ha!), but the fact that he was black is definitely something she should have shared with her parents, even through casual conversation. This goes back to lesson #2: go with your gut. The entire movie plot could have been avoided if he just said to Rose, "Nah, bruh. Let them know I'm black and then we can see what's up."
I'm not going to stand on my soapbox and say I've always made the best decisions, but this was a lesson I learned long ago. Know who you're traveling with, how they handle sensitive situations and be comfortable knowing that in the case of an emergency, they're the ones who will have your back.
4. Always tell someone where you're going. And make sure that person is reliable.
This was the most apparent and important lesson I gleamed from Get Out. Chris was able to 'get out' on his own, but he was able to 'stay out' was because Rod didn't give up and went searching for his homie. Even when Rod tried telling the police that his best friend was missing and they laughed him out of the building, he kept pursuing Chris' whereabouts because he knew something was wrong.
This is the benefit of letting someone know where and with whom you're going. In the case that something unfortunate does happen, someone will know where you said you were the last time you were seen or heard from. I will text friends - even when I'm in a foreign country and they aren't - to let them know what I'm up to. It's just the prudent thing to do (There I go sounding like mom again.).
5. Say no to hypnosis.
I'm naturally a curious person, so I'd give hypnosis a try. That was before I saw this movie. Ain't no way in hell I'd try it now. You won't catch me falling into the 'sunken place.'
I applaud Jordan Peele for his vision for Get Out. The subtleties, nuances, and symbolism displayed throughout the movie were thought-provoking and completely wrapped in the fabric of America. Yes, Get Out is about racism in America, but I also believe lessons can be learned for people of any race. If you think this movie is just about a black person going rogue and killing his girlfriend's crazy white family, you're completely misguided (That's for you, Armond White). Read those think-pieces I mentioned above and then get back to me.