Molly, You in Danger, Girl: Examining the Dangers of White Anxiety in Tim Wise’s “White Like Me”and Reviews from ‘Get Out'(2017)

A few weeks ago in class we watched ‘White like Me,’ by anti-racism activist and writer, Tim Wise. “White like Me” explores the reality of white privilege in modern America and the inherent dangers of white people failing to acknowledge the structural inequalities that stack the deck in their favor. He explores the dangers of so-called ‘post-racial’ thinking and “color blindness” and warns that this type of ignorance–even in the face of glaring inequalities in education, socio-economic opportunities, our highly racialized justice system and the mass incarcerations as a result of the “war on drugs”–leads to an intensification of racial bias.

For Wise, the answer to working through America’s checkered racial history is not a color blind process, but rather, a color-conscious process. This method allows for understanding the importance and value of each person of color’s lived experiences while also confronting the history of systemic racial oppression (and how the two factors co-mingle).

It is not difficult in our current political climate to see the impact of white anxiety. As Wise explores in the documentary, numerous politicians continue to exploit white anxiety in the face of changing demographics through the use of highly codified language, best exemplified in Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and the rise of “alternative facts” (re: lies).

“The real danger today comes from the people in high places who are telling the white people that if there taxes are eaten up their paychecks it’s not because of our bloated military budget but because of government programs that benefit black people.

-Anne Braden

Wise also makes a point to highlight the efforts of white allies who stood with black men and women on matters of injustice, which I thought was amazing and provided evidence of a counter culture that I had previously been unaware of. I think apart of normalizing anti-racism starts with providing solid examples for white people of other white people who chose to use their privilege to speak out against injustices towards black people.

(Anne Braden, Will D. Campbell, and Lydia Child)

In this political climate, there has been a continuous unveiling of America’s deep seeded racism. Popular media like TV and movies aim to use their platform to create honest discussions of sensitive topics like racism, colorism and cultural appropriation. However whenever faced with the opportunity for reflection on the society we are all exposed to (and I don’t know, maybe some inner reflection), too often the narrative goes something like this:

These are just a handful of the 0 to ½ star reviews for the recent film “Get Out,” a satirical film exploring the nature of racism in America:

 

Mike K

½March 8, 2017

I thought it was racist against white people. It will prolly win an Oscar. I think the reason “Get out” didn’t work, was that we couldn’t identify with the main character. I didn’t “get” the ebonic jokes or references. I live in Maine, so we don’t get exposed to it much, except on TV.

 

Jeremy I

March 6, 2017

If you are a hive minded Hollywood liberal moron (like 100% of the critics who reviewed this film), you will applaud this for absolutely trashing white people. That or you will be afraid to give it a bad rating because you’d be a racist not to support blanket antagonization of whites. This film had some interesting and funny moments, I won’t deny that. But to give it a 99% rating is beyond ridiculous. It is obviously politically motivated/slanted of a grade, thanks to idiotic progressive shut ins in charge of critiquing. These people live in an alternate reality where all minorities are victims and whitey is the devil. So a movie like this feeds their deluded ideoligical fantasies to euphoric levels. The film overall was predictable, not scary, and used every stereotype in the book to hammer one message into your skull … white people cannot be trusted or allied with … ever!! This is what so-called progressivism gets you, folks.

 

Una O

½March 5, 2017

There’s a reason you’ll here folks talking about going to see this movie twice. It doesn’t make sense the first time around nor should you waste your money seeing it again.

This is one of the most racially offensive movies I have ever seen. It is the equivalent of Birth of a Nation made from the opposite perspective. Anyone who considers this a film about being intellectually woke as black people are a bit sad. I went to see this film expecting to see smart satire. Instead all I saw was a bunch of tired and trite stereotypes that will marched out pretty early on in the film. Think of every possible mundane stereotype of interracial relationships that you’ve ever heard of if you’re an adult. He left no stone unturned. Absolutely no originality. Every single frame was highly predictable for me. Now maybe that’s because I am a film buff and highly evolved.

Dawn T

½March 5, 2017

Terrible movie and just another opportunity to bash white people. This is what happens when white Hollywood gives black people the opportunity to create…destroy us and our institutions.

 

ally d

½March 4, 2017

Mixed feelings about this one…I am really tired of the if you’re white you’re a racist and if you don’t think you are, you are the problem mantra. This movie reeks of that. There is not one white person in the film who is appalled by what is going on…

 

Nyala L

March 3, 2017

The only horror in this film is the unsettling fact that this beautiful white girl with her distinct northern European features will be having black children with Afros instead of white ones, contributing directly to white extinction and the reversion of Northern European features to sub-Saharan African features. I know that since everyone in the USA apart from the Native Americans are essentially immigrants, I can’t really argue for the preservation of whites there. My worry however is that whites even in Europe will revert back to the physical appearance of sub-Saharans due to tolerance of mass immigration and interracial relationships. I am fearing that films like these will convince European girls that it is cool, funny and desirable to have African children with black immigrant men instead of white children with the men that created them. I am an artist that paints human beings and I lament the possibility of a future without distinct looking northern European whites. A black child with a flat nose and a blonde Afro is no replacement for Naomi Watts and Any Adams.

C J

½March 3, 2017

The movie could have been good but unfortunately it was overshadowed with a completely racist agenda. I am talking about “Every white person secretly wants to be black because they are genetically better than white people.” Seriously? Why does everything these days have to be about race? Things like this are causing racism. Places where racism was nonexistent are now being forced to become racist. You are not helping the ’cause’, you are creating a problem. This movie is ridiculously racist. Avoid!

 

Laurence D

March 5, 2017

Haven’t seen it yet but judging by nearly every review & comment it looks like another race baiting movie making white people look bad. I think that’s why this movie is currently at 99%, because racism is ok once the target of the racism is white people. Maybe I’m wrong about the movie, but with nearly every comment referencing racism & “white privilege” (a nonsense phrase) then it must go pretty deep into the movie.  With so many moronic comments about “White Privilege” & racism, racism, racism. How anyone can even be around people who talk like that, you have to be a seriously sick person to spew nonsense like micro aggressions & the rest of the SJW crap. I’m sick to death listening to delusional people.

 

The immediate reaction to any critique on systemic racism, implicit or explicit bias or the micro-aggressions black people are all too familiar with, is to accuse said media of “vilifying” all white people and pushing a “liberal” agenda on “innocent Americans.”

Regardless of my own personal feelings toward the film, Get Out, and Netflix’s newest original series —which has yet to air— “Dear White People,” both received backlash for it’s supposed “reverse racism” which really only highlights the need for more substantial dialogue on the matter. Racism is very real (reverse racism, not so much) but as Wise said, we are all the direct product of our conditioning, and maybe it’s time we all take a long hard look  at ourselves and try to do a little better…..

“There is more than one way to live in this skin”

–Tim Wise

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