US film review(spoilers) by C.C. Saunders

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In its contemporary context, blackness assumes a violent coupling. Filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out) tackles this coupling in both a literal and figerative sense with his latest release Us. Peele depicts humans as “coupled” by a being who mirrors their exteriority. In challenging the presumed singularity of identity, the coupled being obscures reality, simultanously inciting the following query: Are humans replaceable?
Well, according to the film’s doppelgängers, who wear red jumpsuits accessorised by gold scissors, the answer is yes. Viewers meet Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) as a child who goes to a mirror house and encounters a girl who looks exactly like her. After this encounter, Adelaide is never the same, and later viewers learn that Adelaide is never the same because she and her doppelganger switched places on that faithful day. Though Adelaide’s parents noticed a difference in their child, this difference, viewers learn, with therapy, could be negotiated. In no time, Adelaide resumes the nurture of her parents and becomes the girl they raised.

The original, for lack of a better word, Adelaide grows up to lead an uprising where the different or the othered, kill their counterparts. Us features a battle between those who reside behind the mirror—at society’s peripheral, and those who look into the mirror and reside at the center. Peele never makes it clear who or what these beings are. The sole reference to identity the film gives is Red’s proclamation that they too are “Americans.”
Red (or Adelaide depending on your perception), to ensure that her initial plan remains in motion, eventually kills the girl whose place she took years. Her son is the only one who knows her secret, a connection she hints at with the early line “stick with me kid and I’ll keep you safe.” Here, Adelaide foreshadows the choice her son will eventually have towards the end of the movie, to share or remain silent. Red/Adelaine’s offspring is also coupled, as he encompasses both the center and the peripheral. Thus, the secret is a gateway to his understanding of self, a gift obscured from the realities of his sister and father.
The film as a whole exhibits a coupling distinct from what it delineates in part. Peele couples black actors with their American counterparts. Specifically, the media exhibits black bodies by way of representation, but the exhibited blackness remains superficial.

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For example, though Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o, who occupy the film’s lead roles, encompass a physical blackness in their melanin-dominant appearance, both play roles that could easily be played by white actors. Black actors in race-less roles, marks what the western world calls progress; however, this colorblind casting depicts the violent seizure of power from black people. Colorblind casting extracts black personhood from the black body. Specifically, colorblind roles attempt to circumvent the presumed problem of race. Race in this context also functions superficially; as color is a part, not the whole, of racism. Yet, Peele’s film attempts to showcase those often eliminated from lead roles because of their complexion in a role where their complexion is merely a coicidence. Us eliminates race in a world build on this falsified concept made real in the systemic disenfranchisement it continues to afford black people.
Thus, US makes “us,” or the black person, invisible by casting melanin dominate actors as coupled with an American identity that has never truly been theirs.
US and Social Reproduction of the Invisible [Wo]Man
Though I do not think it was intentional, Peele presents a diasporic discourse with Us. Particularly, the coupled identities that dominate the film illustrate the black individual as coupled by a collective identity. The envy dynamic present between Adeline and Red illustrates the envy many blacks within the diaspora have towards the black displaced in America, or what I will call the “invisible man.” The phrasing “invisible man” alludes to the Ellison novel where a nameless protagonist struggles to see himself in a world built on his invisibility. My use of “man” does not cite gender but references “human.” This invisible man remains largely invisible to his diasporic brethren who often view him or her as a “favored child” in the disillusion of black disruption. Us, in its depiction of black persons as the invisible man, depict the coupling of the black body and personhood as crippled by disallusion.

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By the film’s end, Adeline loses her life because her diasporic doppelganger (Red, who eventually becomes Adeline) wishes to be her; so, Red assumes Adeline’s space and takes her place. This is very much the reality for black people throughout America who have witnessed the perils of racism and prejudice, perils strategically aggravated by immigration. Buried by the fantasy that is American idealism, the invisible man remains invisible to many of their diasporic brethren who are often unable see to past this veiled reality. Instead, this invisible man becomes a hyper-site for a social reproduction that affords white hegemony its violent stagnancy.
In Us, Adeline encompasses the “invisible man” ideal that her counterpart seeks to socially reproduce. Red sees the space Adeline occupies as a bridge to a better life. She (Red) deems her position in American’s peripheral as inferior to the central placement of her doppelganger (Adeline). This notion is particularly complicated by Peele’s colorblind roles, where the black actor remains in the periphery despite seemingly central placement.
Nevertheless, I digress.
Red believes that she is more deserving of the space Adeline occupies and thus would occupy said space “better.” This is often the ideology many Africans in America face with our diasporic brethren who become “model minorities” in seeking to occupy the American space “better” than their kidnapped kinfolk. America, for the being of black form, is a site of physical and mental abduction perpetuated by the continued pressure to assimilate. This assimilation, despite its societal perception, does not mark achievement but cultural compromise. Thus, it is Red’s desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that drives her sadistic and physically violent attempt to take-over an exclusive space. It is this desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that makes the mentally enslaved black predisposed to attack those who look like them and not their true oppressors. As long as the oppressed see themselves as the enemy, the narrative remains focused on the oppressors. Thus, Red/Adeline and her diasporic counterpart cannot co-exist because then the narrative runs the risk of becoming “us,” and within this global paradigm of white supremacy, it must always be about “them.”

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Peele’s colorblind casting alludes to the Duboisian notion of double consciousness in his depiction of the black person is physically split into two selves. So while viewers physically see black actors, the main role remains reserved for white cultural hegemony. What I mean here is that viewers see black actors but are forced to engage with the white space these black actors wish to occupy rather than the black actors themselves. It is the desire for American-ness, or to exist beyond blackness, that makes Us’s viewing experience a visual engagement with the invisible man. Specifically, with “Us,” black viewers witness what will become of them if espoused to an American identity. The film functions as a visual illustration of the “black American” or “African-American” concept that the abducted Africans in America must detach from as a rudimentary step in our collective liberation.

Buried under the American fantasy and entombed by the fiction of progress, there is no “us.” This fact is perhaps best illustrated when Red kills another black women to aid in a white plight to assume a space.
It is Red’s desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that drives her sadistic and physically violent attempt to take-over an exclusive space. It is this desire to socially reproduce the invisible man that makes the mentally enslaved black predisposed to attack those who look like them and not their true oppressors. As long as the oppressed see themselves as the enemy, the narrative remains focused on the oppressors. Red/Adeline and her diasporic counterpart cannot co-exist because then the narrative runs the risk of becoming “us,” and within this global paradigm of white supremacy, it must always be about “them.”
The singularity Red seeks and attains ensures that there is no “us,” if there ever was an “us.” Her actions represents the inevitable end for a group who remains disrupted. As a product of a festered disruption, the black collective, in part remains what they made of “us.” The black representation seen on-screen and throughout politics, education, and every other field, is not us and has never been us. It’s them.
Conclusively, as evidenced by his latest film venture, Jordan Peele also fails to represent us; rather, he remains vested in “them.”

The Unhealthy Worship of White Women

As Peggy Sue walks, her skirt rides up so that her wishing well legs and knob-knees protrude outward. She does not like to wear shorts. The material in the expanded sewn seams is stretched and gets caught in her crouch. Her translucent White skin shows varicose veins because of the weight she carries from the waist down. The excessive weight has not produced a rounded buttocks but a wide flat white bottom.
The excessive weight and large breasts cause her body to hold more heat than a person of average weight. The heat causes her hair to become bone straight as it strings down her back, and perspiration beads on her forehead. Peggy Sue is a good person who has been raised to love God and respect all mankind. It is a Friday, and she has plans to go out with her friends that evening after work to a singles club in the metropolitan area. When she gets to the club, there are a lot of single men and women looking for mates, but she feels she does not have a chance because of her appearance. The music is vibrating, and the party is jumping. She watches her friends dancing. She wishes she could dance but does not want to bring attention to herself because she might bring the roof tumbling down!
She looks up. A handsome Black man looks in her direction and then asks her to dance. She waddles toward him–legs looking just like the turkey drums on a Thanksgiving Dinner table–fat and greasy. Mr. Bernard Black Hunk is impressed. She is beautiful. Her skin is so smooth and White. Her hair is straight and lays flat on her head. Mr. Bernard Black Hunk has the immediate startling realization that he has one of the biggest White diamonds on Earth. His dreams have been answered. Peggy Sue is so exquisite. She is mild mannered, quiet, and is eager to talk about his interests. She has the right attitude!!!–To match his White-right attitude!!!–The White Subliminal Created Attitude!!!
Mr. Bernard Black Hunk tells one of his friends that he has just met a beautiful White woman in which he could become very interested. His friend says, “Is she pretty?” Bernard comments, “She’s White isn’t she?” Mr. Bernard Black Hunk has just met Peggy Sue but immediately comes to the realization that even if she is strung out on drugs and in re-hab or on furlough from a mental or correctional institution or has head lice, she is one White Gem.
“In fact, I might even marry her,” says Bernard. He remembers reading a statistic that in 1995, 10.5 percent of all Black men who married legally, married a White is right woman. Mr. Bernard Black Hunk is driving a Mercedes, has a MBA and loves him some Big Greasy White women. He has internalized and perceived himself as worthwhile only when he can accentuate his actions and feelings in accordance with the WHITE grain.

To put it plainly, he wants a part of the so-called American Dream. He suddenly forgets about where he came from and sees the White woman as an object to help him get “on top.” He often denies feelings that are inconsistent with internalized conditions of worth. His quest to–DESPERATELY SEEK WHITENESS is the only way to be truly worthwhile. This ASSIMILATION assures acceptance in his mode of building self-esteem. He will share whatever he has with her. He praises her!!! He worships her!!! She is his world!!! This White woman has been placed high on the IDEAL pedestal!!! She truly has become the superior being constructed by the White Race to carry on the 8%!!!

She can shake her naked booty as a stripper or sell her naked booty on the street corner. . . But the White skin has made her superior to any Black woman. Some Black men need a White woman–this type or any type of White woman to boost their self-esteem. White women have become fascinated with the Black man because contact was forbidden just 20 years ago. Television screens show these Black handsome muscular hunks in sports arenas. As they run, their bodies sway from side to side in synchronization. Naturally, this causes psychological mystique and excitement from the rigid calculated Caucasian man.
The fat, ugly, low social strata White woman has never received this kind of wholesome attention from a White man. So she eats up the attention–raising her self-esteem. She gives Bernard Black Hunk all of the praise and attention he needs to make him feel he is “THE MAN.” As he hollers, “WHO’S THE MAN?” He has crowned her “QUEEN” for life.
Mr. Bernard Black Hunk now has a White woman by his side. It makes him feel he is just as good as any White man in our “White man dominated culture.” He has the professional job, big house in the suburban community, and beautiful mulatto children so that he may assimilate into the White Culture to assume PSYCHOLOGICAL.

The “Klu Klux Klan” has been appearing behind sheets in small towns for years and recently on major network talk shows. All over America the Klan members hold meetings to talk about racial purity and burn crosses. All over America Klan members have been burning Black churches. On talk shows the Klan members jeer, chant, and taunt. “Ya Al’ Niggra Boys just keep hav’in babies, collecting Welfare checks, and smok’in dope.” “Ya Al’ need to go back to Africa and give us back this here U-N-I-T-E-D S-T-A-T-E-S O-F A-M-E-R-I-C-A.” “This here is our country.” “Why ya here taking our money and our pretty White women?” “We confirm a pure White Race.”

As the Klan talks, the network talk show hosts and guests seem to be more accepting of Blacks and racial issues than other group of people in this country. The Klan sneers at the audience–“P-o-r-c-h M-o-n-k-e-y-s.” The effects of interacting with a group of people are different than with an individual. The process of interacting with others changes people. People tend to act like other members in a group even when asked to conform to a particular point-of-view.

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People who appear on talk shows will continuously tell panel members they are wrong in their racist thinking and that all people are equal. The group rehearses before the media audience implying a love between different races and purporting a colorblind society. The audience members swear that when people walk down a street and see someone to whom they are attracted, skin color does not play a role and that love is colorblind.
People usually make decisions on the basis of what they think others will think of them–particularly parents and persons of authority. Because of implanted color rules and biases, people make decisions based on these learned rules. Peer groups represent the most important people in an individual’s life. White peer group orientation just like Black peer group orientation includes conformity to the ideas and judgments of that group whether it is peer influence or parental influence. People adopt the values, attitudes, style of dress, and language of their parents and peers.
If a mixed group of Blacks and Whites listened to a speech about Adam and Eve being Black and all skin colors coming from Black, do you think they would be more likely to believe Minister Louis Farrakan or Billy Graham? Of course, Whites would believe Billy Graham–So would Blacks. We are all subjects of persuasion. Society has a high degree of influence in social situations affecting our behavior. Groups influence individual behavior through our own tendencies to conform with a group even when we are not asked to do so.
Sometimes Black men outwardly seek White women. Sometimes Black men subliminally and psychologically do not realize why they seek White women. When they look at White women, they consider them beautiful because of perceptual expectancies that have been created by media suggestion. Since their perceptual expectancies have been titillated, Black men view White as the premium of all women.
Television, movies, newspapers, and magazines feature the most beautiful people in the world as White lead actresses and White centerfolds. Perceptual learning has built up mental categories of beautiful people being blonde and blue eyed. Note: Blacks are not the only ones who want honey blonde hair. Clairol makes many shades of blonde dye for White women. “Blondes have more fun.”

Perceptual categories make a difference since we know people are often categorized. Categories might include the following: “punks,” “mental patients,” “queers,” “honkies,” “Niggers,” “bitches,” “dysfunctional” “welfare queens,” and “Nubian Queens.” When labels define people, observers are influenced (Coon, 135-6). The illegitimacy rate is nearly three times as high as in the immediate aftermath of slavery. Individuals from illegitimate births provide over half of the US murder statistics. 94% of Black killings and murders are Black-on-Black crime.
Categorically Speaking: For Whites to be with other Whites and Blacks to be with other Blacks seems to be an unlearned, inborn reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that we here in the US have accepted for centuries. Some White fathers may provoke their daughters to seek out and pursue the Black man. When children are little, and parents have tried to suppress inappropriate behavior in a negative manner, a child soaks up the stimuli from his environment and becomes rebellious; thus, trying to get back at the parent. Parents attempt to assert their authority, and conflict develops. This may cause the child to direct feelings away from the primary father object and seek something else that makes her feel better. When children are in the formative years, things happen to them that they remember as they grow into adults.

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Example: By repeatedly spanking a child for “talking back” to you may lead the child to quit talking to you altogether. A common reaction to punishment is to dislike the person who inflicts the pain, and sometimes reacting combatively towards the person. An aggressive reaction to get back at parents may be to aggressively seek Mr. Black Hunk and retaliate. The retaliation might be to seek Mr. Black Hunk because he has been labeled “forbidden.” The “forbidden” label may entice excitement.
This is the type of White woman, who after marrying the Black man has a hard time accepting the fact that her children are Black. She realizes that she has made a grave mistake with her rebellious behavior and does everything in her power to convince her children that they are not really Black but mixed. People of the White Race have found themselves in a quandary. Their White women have gone astray–keeping themselves not only unto White men. White couples seem to be thwarted with infertility and need fertility drugs for production and manufacture of White babies.

The Author has a theory to insure “White man existence.” Maybe fertility drugs are the rudiments to White Race mortality. The telephone Yellow Pages in large cities has pages of doctors and clinics specializing in fertility clinics, in vitro fertilization, sperm banks, and drugs to help the “White endangered species” survive. The “White endangered species” continues to push Norplant in Black communities while picketing abortion clinics in the White community. In fact, there are birth control methods used globally to stop the production of people of color–What’s up with that? Another thing that thwarts Whites in this country is abortion of White babies. Because Whites can afford the procedure, they are more likely to use abortion to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Recently, there has been widespread news coverage about White couples adopting babies from Russia and Croatia. There are White couples who adopt Black children–but can Black couples adopt White babies??? That’s unheard of–You know it is. There are many National reports on the condition or orphanages in Russia and how Russian babies need good homes. Could a Black family go to Russia and adopt a White Russian baby?
As Black women are encouraged to use Norplant–a method of birth control, White women are taking fertility drugs. There is no secret that White childless couples would pay almost anything on the “Baby Market” to adopt a White baby inasmuch as there is a shortage of White babies. It seems obvious that there may be some reasons why. In White neighborhoods there are stores that sell leather straps, spikes, and chains to nourish sexual arousal. It should not be a surprise to anyone that a woman, regardless of color, runs like mad to get away from the practice of sadism–chains, whips, and spikes?
A White woman does not have to put up with treatment like that. There is a Black man that will hang from her every movement and word. He will kiss her butt and may even lick it. Black man bashing has yielded the unconscious turned conscious feeling that White is right, and the White woman is thusly virtuous. Self-hate Therapy ^equals^ A White-right woman!
In the US there is a silent war declared. This war is with the forfeiture of America’s White women. America will protect its White women. Legislatures in this country will work hard to get the racial category “multiracial” on the next US Census. General determinants of interpersonal attraction have variables that influence the Black man’s perception of White women. White women perform and transact the ultimate “Physical Attractiveness Role” in society. A member of the Aryan Race that is untouched by Jews and non-Whites is holy, pure, and in the likeness of God. White men and a whole lot of Black men perceive the image of White skin as the ultimate in physical attractiveness.

Black men, following in the shadows of murky waters and mainstream obstructions perceive White women in an identical manner. Physical attractiveness is the most important factor in the early stage of a relationship. To that end, opposites attract. The opposite characteristics complement or advantageously “fit” with one of the Black man’s own attributes–feeling U – N – I – T – Y with the rest of the world.
A Black man feels better about himself because he has the revered White woman at his side, and he has an accurate view of the self-actualized life. The White woman is a positive step in the right direction. He feels a sense of harmony with the White Brotherhood Kingdom. His self-esteem has been bolstered. It is only natural that humans possess an inner drive to grow, improve, and use their potential to the fullest.
Because of cultural differences White women tend to be more submissive than Black women. A dominant person might prefer a submissive person, and a person who likes to nurture and “take care” of others might prefer someone who will take care of them.

Excerpt from the book Beheaded for Execution