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  • Writer's pictureAlysha Autumn

How Get Out's Alternate Ending Reflects The Death of Racial White Innocence

Rich Benjamin suggests that Get Out

“cheer[s] the death of white racial innocence…[t]hat moment of understanding, the very instance when whites acknowledge the blunt truths that make their innocence no longer cute, let alone plausible.” He goes on to add: “What a juicy moment when Rose, on the phone with Chris’s black friend, realizes that the jig is up; her caper is about to be exposed. Rose drops her sweet face and hardens it into a stare. Her stony eyes reveal her about-face from liberal ingénue to calculating racial predator… Her family’s bloody antics, like this country’s recent racial politics, had careened to that moment when everybody knows what’s what, and all bets are off.”

White racial innocence is the denial of racial discrimination and colonial violence coexisting alongside racism. It persists through time and political context. It follows the crafted social illusion that black people have no reason to be bitter and the white idealistic idea of a “colour blind” America. This includes ignoring racial differences in cultural contexts and can be likened with white feminism. Not only is this a racist ideology, but it is a belief in improving conditions for white people while not hoping for the same progressions in communities of colour. This film defies classic horror tropes in which “the black man dies first” and actually uses horror conventions in order to gaslight Chris.

The film begins appearing to look as though it takes place in a post-racial world, discussing Obama’s presidency and not looking into racial relations much further. But as the movie progresses, red flags appear and micro transgressions reveal that racism persists in an even more sinister way than ever imagined. Rod’s black sex slave theory proved to be far less ridiculous than originally let on. The “other” or the monster is the humanized Armitage family, and thus frames Chris’ violence as a necessity born from desperation.

The scene in which Rose makes a show of struggling to find the car keys, Dean delivers a monologue about being god, revealing his ideology as the patriarch of the family and the community. This is only broken by Rose revealing the keys and thus her true intentions mirroring those of her family. This was the true introduction of Rose to be the person we did not think she was; she has no love for Chris, no remorse, and an ingrained ideology of white superiority. All of Chris’ desperation and doubts are rendered useless at this point as he realizes that he has fallen victim to the family and must succumb to this product of racism until the opportunity arises.

The alternate ending concludes the story in a way to illustrate the racial relations of black Americans in the nation today.

The alternate ending of the film, while much darker than the released ending, was intended to portray a more realistic outcome for Chris in his bizarre scenario. For viewers, it was the ending that was expected once the blue and red flashing lights hit the isolated road, leaving an unnerving feeling of knowing what is about to come next. This moment, right before either of the endings begin, allows for the cultural context of the film to shine through, outlining the current state of black Americans in relation to police brutality and mass incarceration- it was a moment of collective consciousness. This moment gave viewers the sight into the alternate ending, briefly leading viewers to believe that he would be sent straight to prison. The released ending is relief for both Chris and the viewer, but the alternate ending illustrates a sad truth that parallels many cultural moments of police brutality against black men such as Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Philando Castile, and more recently, George Floyd.

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