Us Compared to Them

Everyone in my circles are droning on about how “deep” the new horror movie “Us” is.

Personally I don’t see the correlation to the reality of black Americans, or oppression in whatever, or whatever, but as just a well-written and executed horror movie I’m definitely impressed.

As impressed as I was with my first viewing, after watching it for a second time, I’ve just realized “Us” has indirectly provided me with a strange experience I think too few have had for it to be highlighted in normal conversation.

So I’ll choose neon purple and highlight it here.

A quick peep into my background…

Until I left my hometown for undergrad, my school years were filled with being the only black kid in my AP classes, being the spokesperson for my people during every slavery lesson, and being the token black body for different friend groups, teachers, organizations, etc.

Basically I grew up with white people. And though I knew MY history, living as a black person from a cultural standpoint was fairly foreign to me.

…Then I chose to attend an HBCU and had the culture shock of my life.

Culture shock; defined by Dictionary.com as, “a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment.

For instance:

Music played in the auditorium and instead of humming along at a volume only you could hear, or jokingly jamming IN your seat with your friends directly by you, my newly acquired peers were out of the seats and in the aisles dancing, and singing aloud together in harmony like the songs were rehearsed en masse at choir practices.

Another example?

Their class attire made me question what magazine was on campus randomly taking pictures. My college visits with my high school friends prepared me for crew neck sweaters, with running shorts, and Sperrys. My newly acquired peers clearly put serious thought into their outfits eeeeeevery day (ESPECIALLY Wednesday), and I’ll just leave it at that.

Anywho,

The first screening of “Us” that I went to was in company of people who talked to each other in hushed tones during the previews, opened their snacks before the lights dimmed, and didn’t make noise during the movie (except for a few needed shrieks and gasps)…

After the movie, we left.

Well-written.

The second screening I went to however, was an experience I had to learn to love, and one I now find more comfortable than the first. As a collective we all agreed which coming movies had to be seen and which weren’t worth the time. We yelled at the screen to warn characters that couldn’t hear us, seconded motions blurted out by someone 3 rows ahead of us, laughed when the characters did “dumb shit”, and had a grand ol’ time.

After the movie was over, we talked about the highlights as we left the theatre and went our separate ways. I’d never met any of those people and would probably never see them again, yet we watched the movie TOGETHER, like we were friends that hadn’t seen each other for a while.

Well-executed.

It was all like a weird reverse culture shock… without the shock? Maybe like a, culture shift?

Same movie, but two different perceptions…

Same me, but two different “mannerisms”…

So many dualisms appeared from that simple realization…

If you’ve seen the movie, then you know how trippy this entire thought process initially was for me. I’m not really sure what I learned, but man oh man, this was cool to think about.

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