Get Out Makes History

Three weeks after it’s release, Get Out has had its share of victories. From staying in the top three top-grossing films in the United States box office to getting a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s only fair to call this movie a huge success. Along with these triumphs comes an exciting new moment in history: Jordan Peele, the famous co-creator of the comedy show Key and Peele, has become the first black director to gross $100 million with a debut film.

This feat is especially exciting when you take in a few factors. First, this movie had a modest budget of 4.5 million, which usually makes it difficult to become popular in such a competitive movie market. Second, this is Peele’s first movie, as he has only dipped into television. Not only did he direct the movie, but he also wrote the screenplay. Finally, this is the second huge success for the Blumhouse Production company – known for making low-budget horror movies – this year. It also produced Split, a psychological thriller that made $250 million with a measly $9 million budget.

Peele revealed his motivations for making this hit in an interview with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross as much more than just a typical horror movie. He classifies this film as a “social thriller,” which is extremely accurate with its racially charged plot during such turbulent times in this country.

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Photo Credit: nbcnews.com

“It was very important to me to just get the entire audience in touch in some way with the fears inherent [in] being black in this country,” Peele said.

Award shows, such as the Oscars, have been criticized for their lack of diversity for years. This news shows that people of color continue to transcend expectations, which calls for even more recognition. Even though Get Out couldn’t be considered for many awards shows, as it is a horror film, it still is loud evidence of black excellence. In the future, I hope more diversity will show through in Hollywood, as it has been proven many times that people of color can be just as successful as anyone else.

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Unwarranted Accusations

Welcome to America, where people judge others for things about which they know nothing.

Say you relate to a religion, or group of people who have a bad reputation. Say you’ve done nothing, yet you still get blamed or treated poorly due to your affiliation to the group.

Take Muslims for an example. Many ignorant, misinformed people accuse Muslims of being Islamic Terrorists. Not only is that extremely racist, but it is simply inaccurate.

Just because someone relates to a group of people it does not mean that they are the same.

Similarly, German people have suffered some similar prejudices. There have been instances where someone from Germany has been accused of being racist or even being a Nazi. The kindest person could be treated awfully solely due to an accent.

These occurrences are more unfair than anything else. Kind, innocent individuals have done nothing, yet are targeted due to their accent or appearance. They have done nothing to gain a bad reputation, yet are stuck with this burden.

It’s unfair, disgusting, and needs to stop.

 

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Mizzou Protests

Members of the black student protest group, Concerned Student 1950, raise their arms while addressing a crowd following the announcement University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Wolfe resigned Monday with the football team and others on campus in open revolt over his handling of racial tensions at the school. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Members of the black student protest group, Concerned Student 1950, raise their arms while addressing a crowd following the announcement University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Wolfe resigned Monday with the football team and others on campus in open revolt over his handling of racial tensions at the school. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

I graduated from OVS last year, and I am now a lowly freshman at the University of Missouri. I wrote for this blog frequently during my three years as a writer for On the Hill, and thought it would be a good outlet for me to share my firsthand experience of the recent protests at the University of Missouri. Alvarez — I better get a 10/10 on this!

Before I start, I should give you a little background about me. I’ve grown up in what I guess are fairly liberal communities mostly around California and Colorado, where racism was an idea and never something I actually witnessed. I think a part of me didn’t even believe it existed until I came to school here. I’m white, and have never had any personal experience as a target of racism, and it is unlikely that I ever will. And while I was not at the center of the recent protests here at Mizzou, I have witnessed some of the events leading up to and surrounding the protests. I recognize that there are countless opinions about everything that has transpired, and my opinion is just one of those.blackout_02_26732332_ver1.0_640_480

First, let me say that racism does exist at Mizzou. I have friends who have been called the N-word, and who track every pickup truck that drives by them at night. People have driven around campus with the confederate flag proudly displayed in the bed of their truck, and the N-word isn’t a rarity. I think racism is embedded here at the university, it has been since the very beginning – though that it just my personal opinion. Missouri was a slave state, and there are buildings on this campus that were built by slaves. The majority of the buildings are named after white males, with very few exceptions. And though our recently resigned Chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, declared that racism has no place here, I agree with Payton Head that it does, and that it is quite comfortable.

The Mizzou Hunger Strike arose from years of experiencing the divide between students, and from the administration failing to address the issues. Personally, I think it culminated during the homecoming parade in October when the president of the UM System, Tim Wolfe, was in a car where his driver revved the engine and nudged some of the protestors that had blocked the road. Wolfe, rather than issuing an apology for the incident, chose to ignore it and didn’t apologize until earlier this month as the protests really began in earnest. But as they started, Concerned Student 1950 made it clear that the reasons they were going to these lengths and demanding change is because they love Mizzou and want it to be the best place it can be.

To accomplish that, Jonathan Butler, a graduate student here at Mizzou, went on a Hunger Strike about two weeks ago, declaring that he would not eat until Tim Wolfe resigned from his position. What shocked me was that this went on for EIGHT days, and that although Wolfe stated he was concerned for Butler’s health, he did absolutely nothing to ensure the health and safety of one of his students. In fact, it wasn’t until members of the football team declared they wouldn’t play until Wolfe stepped down, which resulted in the entire team following suit, that Wolfe resigned. That was almost a week after the Hunger Strike began. An article by the New York Times summed it up perfectly: “The Missouri athletes showed that the color that matters most is green.” But as an educator, I would have expected Wolfe to be more concerned about the wellbeing of one of his students than his position.Unknown

I went to Carnahan Quad a little after Tim Wolfe announced his resignation, and I was blown away by the movement. The emotions that were present that day were overwhelming, and everyone who cared even a little bit about equality on this campus was swept up in it. I was choked up, and I wasn’t even in the middle of it. It was truly a beautiful thing to witness, this first step on a long road to making Mizzou a racism-free campus. The fact that students were able to make such a huge impact and evoke so much change is incredible. And I got to witness that history being made.

That Tuesday night, death threats were made to blacks on campus, and someone posted on Yik Yak the same thing the Oregon shooter posted before the shooting. It was scary, especially as rumors began to take over social media about the KKK being on campus and bricks being thrown through dorm windows. I think a lot of those rumors were born out of a lack of information – for hours, the students got absolutely no information about what was going, whether the threats were being investigated and if they were real or not.The only statements we got from the university were that security had been increased and there were no credible threats. But then the next morning the man who posted the threats was arrested. Pretty much no one went to class on Wednesday – that is if their classes hadn’t been cancelled.

It’s been just over a week since then, and now we’re just about to leave for Thanksgiving break. But the movement hasn’t ended, and Tim Wolfe stepping down was just the first step. The protests have continued, and not just at Mizzou. Over 100 schools have shown their support for the movement, joining in on the chants, stating that “we have nothing to lose but our chains.” And other schools, including Yale, Ithaca, and Chapman University have begun demanding change at their own universities.

Mr. Alvarez asked me that if I had known this was going to happen, or if it had happened a year ago while I was still choosing where to go to school, if I still would have chosen to attend Mizzou. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I definitely didn’t realize when I chose this school how prevalent racism was. But in the end, I chose my school because of the journalism program, which is one of the best in the world. I’m glad I did choose to come here though, because I do love this school, and everything that has happened hasn’t taken away from that.

I’m proud to have been a part of something that I believe in and that has sparked a nationwide movement. I had the opportunity to witness something beautiful and empowering; to witness students fighting for what is right. Change needed to happen, and so students took the initiative to make sure that it did. I couldn’t be prouder of my school.

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What Would You Do?

“What Would You Do” – It’s my favorite American TV show.

The show is about exactly what its name states.

It sets up very dramatic situations, involves ordinary people in them, and watches their reactions to the dilemmas given, with the hidden cameras rolling.

It usually deals with serious social issues, and a lot of its episodes have unexpected touching results, in which people step up and take action without hesitation in order to do the right thing.

However, in this particular episode, the result surprised me in a quite different way.

It takes place at a family restaurant in Utah, where African-Americans take up only 0.05% of its population.

In this scenario, a white girl introduces her black boyfriend to her father. Unlike what she expects, the father rejects her boyfriend because of his race.

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As she rushes out of the restaurant with her boyfriend, an old lady sitting next to his table talks to the father. “I am with you,” She says. “I think they should stay with their own.”

A woman behind her, nodding in agreement, is brought to tears.

“I have a daughter,” She tells her story in a shaky voice. “She has a friend that’s black… I told her, “He’s fine to be your friend, you are never going to get involved with him…” They were just friends, but… I worried about that.”

Then, the old lady adds her racist comment: “A pretty girl like her would pick something like that.”

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UuEegi4Ojo

Trying not to get emotional about her cutting comments, dying inside, the actor keeps the conversation going, asking if he is wrong.

“I was very proud of you,” The old lady responds. “Because that’s a shock to anybody.”

When the reporter of the show, John Quiñones, shows up in the restaurant, explains her about the show, and interviews her, the old lady tells us about her strong belief.

“I’m sorry,” She says. “If you are white, you are white. If you are colored, you go with colored people. And keep it in your family. Don’t put it in somebody else’s.”

She ends her comments with another incomprehensible statement: “It’s alright if you are a Mexican person, they are still white people,” She explains. “But black people and white people, no. I’m sorry, it breaks my heart.”

Finally, Quiñones introduces the man who acted a black boyfriend to the old lady. As they shake their hands, the guy asks her for a hug.

To my surprise, as she gives him a hug, she says, “You know, but I just think we should stay with our own, don’t you?”

This Episode shocked me. I thought racism was dead in America.

As an international student in California, I never considered rejecting an interracial couple as an option.

I heard of the word, “colored people,” for the first time in my life when I was studying To Kill a Mockingbird in my English class. Also, I was surprised when I learned that the setting of the story was within less than a hundred years.

Some people might think that racism no longer exists in America. However, for a lot of people, racism is still a big issue in their lives. A big chunk of generations was taught to be racist in its youth.

Now, the real question is, how should we react to this issue?

The episode ends with an interview with the African-American actor.

Quiñones asks, “She even hugged you. How did that feel?”

“Very weird, but I believe in people,” the actor answers. “I wanted her to know that, no matter what she thought, I was still going to shake her hand and I was still going to hug her because that’s how I am.”

Social Prejudice

Although terms such as racism and sexism are given negative connotations, any form of generalization, whether good or bad, falls under these categories.

Racism stems from discrimination against those who are not caucasian, especially in the form of slavery. Nowadays, just because all races are given equal rights, it is a common misconception that racism is no longer relevant. As long as there are different races, any division between them is racism. Grouping a race together and making a general statement about a huge number of individuals is absolutely racist, whether the statement is criticism or praise.

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Sexism follows the same patterns. Former discrimination of women was obviously sexist, but modern-day feminism borders on sexism as well. Although it represents the flip side – the hype is about women’s rights – it still caters to one race much more than the other. Even if men or women as a whole are commended or put before another, it is segregating them from the opposite sex, a form of sexism. Any stereotyping of a gender, no matter the intention, is grouping and labeling an entire sex – a countless number of people – and is therefore perpetuating sexist behavior.

Both racism and sexism continue to be relevant in everyday life. A huge compliment may be given to an entire race or a single gender, but that is still a form of discrimination. These prejudices should not be a standard occurrence, and recognition of their existence is key.

Am I Right?

 

Photo Credit to www.clipartlord.com

We live in a world where we have to be politically correct at all times to avoid offending others. One aspect of being politically correct is avoiding racist terms. Racism occurs when one race is referred to as being superior or having special characteristics that only they have. Calling an African-American person “black” isn’t considered proper by many people – most would say it’s racist. But is it worse than associating a group of people based on a region even if it has no connection to the person?  Personally, I would much rather be called white than European-American. I was not born in Europe, neither were my parents or my parents’ parents. I’m sure there are African-Americans that feel the same way. Many so-called African-Americans have no association with Africa; is it logical, therefore, to classify people that way? I strongly believe in equality, that all are born equal, but I don’t believe that it is okay for us to say that something is racist when we are simply referring to skin tone. I think categorizing people by region is more racist than calling a “black” person “black,” because you are saying that people with that skin tone are all from one region. This is classifying people as a whole and is still racist.

Racism in Football

This weekend’s friendly between Scotland and Brazil saw an ugly display of racism, one that cannot be tolerated.

I support Brazil in the international game because of how great they play football. Most Americans are incredulous on how I could not support my home country but the fact of the matter is I support Brazil because they play the best football.

During their friendly against Scotland (which was played in England), the Brazilian youngster Neymar got two goals. Being 19 years old, that is extremely impressive. But when Neymar went to take a penalty kick, a fan through a banana on to the pitch.

For someone who does not know Neymar this might seem irrelevant but Neymar is black. This is a unexcusable action that should be heavily punished. Neymar and the other Brazilian players are out showing the world their skills. They do not show hatred towards anyone.

Neymar is a young kid who is making it in the crazy world of football and he does not deserve this.

I support Scotland in most games (except when they play Brazil ironically) because my heritage is from there. But the Scottish fans who were involved in the throwing of the banana and the usage of racial slurs against the Brazilians should be ashamed of themselves. I am embarrassed to say that I support Scotland after this incident.

This is not the first time Brazil has had to deal with intolerance. going back over 50 years, Brazil has taken the brunt of many racial insults. Argentina fans often refer to Brazil as being the (n-word) team because Brazil has many more blacks due to colonization than Argentina.

France, with its large population of black soccer players, has also had to put up with racial prejudice. I will say that FIFA does everything they can to stop the hate; banning certain fans they catch on tape and even banning some teams from playing in front of spectators.

But FIFA should not be the ones who have to get people to stop, it should be the fans. As a football fan I want to say enough is enough. Supporting the other team is no excuse for being racially intolerant. Let us enjoy the wonderful skill and appreciate what there people are giving to us.