Last night I finally went to my local movie theater to go see the movie Get Out, the popular thriller that has been widely praised for examining painful and complex truths about the relationship between white people and black people in the United States. Unfortunately, Get Out was sold out, and so I had to buy a ticket for the animated film The Lego Batman Movie instead. Today I can say with confidence that showing up to the movie theater to see Get Out, finding out that it was sold out, and seeing Lego Batman instead has taught me powerful lessons about race in America.
As a white person, I know that I can’t even begin to fully understand what it’s like to be a person of color in this country, but after being forced to see Lego Batman because there were no tickets left for Get Out, I’ve gained a new awareness of what it means to live in a society plagued by deep-rooted racial inequality and a wide array of malevolent supervillains from the DC Comics universe.
The first thing I learned about race that night is that both black people and white people really want to see Get Out. I’m not completely sure what Get Out is about because I’ve only seen one trailer for it, but from the looks of the trailer it seems to be about a black man who attends his white wife’s birthday party, and the birthday party is possibly haunted. If this is true, then movies about going to your wife’s haunted birthday party are truly bridging the deep racial divides in this country in a significant way because the line for Get Out was extremely long, and there were so many people of many different races who wanted to see it.
In fact, so many people set aside their racial difference to go see Get Out that I had to settle for Lego Batman instead.
I honestly feel like I’ve completely changed as a person! Trying to go to Get Out and having to go to Lego Batman has taught me so much about race that I’ll never forget. It taught me that people of all races live in Gotham City, and most of them think Batman is great. It taught me that if you walk out of the theater where you’re watching Lego Batman and try to sneak into Get Out in the middle of the movie, you won’t understand what’s going on at all, and nobody of any race will explain the story to you, and so you’ll have to go back to watching Lego Batman. It taught me that despite the inequality that plagues our society, a black woman can overcome racism and prejudice to become police commissioner of Gotham City.
One day she can even become Batgirl.
But ultimately, the most important thing I learned from trying to see Get Out and winding up in Lego Batman is that, despite all of our society’s problems, there is still more that unites us than divides us. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a black man with a fireman hat, a white man with a construction-worker hat, or an Asian man with a police-officer hat—we all need somebody to stop the Joker before he uses a bomb to blow up the energy facility.
When I left my home for the theater that night, I expected a simple trip to see Get Out. Instead, I got a profound and educational trip to see Lego Batman because too many other people bought tickets to Get Out before me. I know I’ll never know what it’s like to be black in America, but that night I learned valuable lessons about race relations, the power of teamwork, and the ways personal growth can save you from getting imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. These are lessons I’ll never forget, and I’m ready to keep learning more.