8 Ways Dear White People Earnestly Bridges Racial Divide, Not Attacks It
Tell me, how did it make you feel when you heard Netflix was adding Justin Simien’s tv series adaptation of his controversial film to their roster? If you recoiled from anger or disgust over news of Netflix’s Dear White People, then the show is for you. Furthermore, this article has your name written all over it. Although in all honesty, anyone not living under a rock needs to watch this show.
The series received an overwhelming amount of hate, right off the bat, based on the title and the message that it conjured in everyone’s head. Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment here and say that if the mere title summoned any negative feelings, that’s more a statement over what you think there is to say to white people and less over the show’s actual content.
I understand that there’s a certain element of hypocrisy over how acceptable some see the title to be, but let’s take that title and analyze it. On the surface, it’s nothing more than an attempt to address the audience that the show especially wants to reach for educational purposes.
Warning!!! Minimal Spoilers Ahead.
8. Does everything the film does, but better.
It’s just as it says. The series is more refined than the film and everything in it reached a higher level of quality. We’re talking better dialogue, better performances, better story content and structure. The film and show’s creator, Justin Simian, even agreed that the series’ length and structure allowed for more comprehensive coverage than the film. Check out his interview with GQ here.
7. It may be called Dear White People, but it’s a show for all races.
While some of the issues are ones that white people have spearheaded or inadvertently taken part in, others have been shared between ethnicities. Ignorance itself does not discriminate and neither does political incorrectness, so it’s important to acknowledge your role in enforcing either.
6. The moment when Reggie almost became yet another police shooting victim.
Words will fall shamefully short if I attempt to describe the rigidity of the moment when a campus officer held Reggie, an innocent college student like any other, at gunpoint for refusing to show his ID. Of course, we all know the real reason. The traumatic experience changes him instantly and monumentally in heartbreaking ways.
5. Shows the struggle of being white and socially aware, but disregarded or ridiculed simply because you’re white.
Everyone has a struggle and no one has the right to place theirs above another’s. A struggle can be unique to the race, social class or even to the individual. As a white person, woke or not, your character and integrity automatically faces judgement simply because of the pigment of your skin. Dear White People acknowledges this.
4. The show isn’t as preachy as you think and it features tons of humor.
It’s easy, natural even, to expect lectures disguised as narrative from a show of this nature. Instead, feast on a mix of wisdom kernels, culture references, and whimsy. It’s more lighthearted horn of Amalthea than you’d think.
3. The moment that Sam, the lead protagonist, had her privilege checked.
Sam’s identity, in the eyes of many of her peers, is as a bottle rocket of racial justice. To enlighten her of the relative freedom that her light skin allows her in the fight for racial equality, is a bold method of asserting that everyone has privilege. So regardless of your ethnicity or nationality, we all have something to learn.
2. Perfectly captures black culture of the newer generations.
I’ll never get tired of seeing more black culture properly being represented. With so many inaccurate depictions of black culture distributed through popular media, their purpose reaches no end. From the hashtags to hate watching shows you… well… hate. Just take a look here at Buzzfeed’s collection of tweets based on a meme inspired by attacks on Dear White People.
1. Portrays the struggle between embracing your “blackness” and camouflaging it for acceptance or self-preservation.
Notice the lack of quotation marks around self-preservation. The absence owes itself to the weekly evidence of black teens or otherwise shot to death for no reason other than being themselves, a person with brown skin. So we’re faced with a choice: be ourselves and embrace our differences from the majority or assimilate to increase our likelihood of making it to our twilight years. This is perfectly expressed in Troy, the series’ poster child, who tiptoes around glass until his revealing fate at the end of the series.
You may have your reasons for labelling Dear White People new age propaganda aimed at white people and made to fuel hate. Whatever your reasons, you can not deny the need for an open dialogue over the mistakes of the past and the weight they’ve held over race relations up to this day.
It might not be the perfect answer, but it’s undeniably a step in the right direction if you give it a chance. Leave a comment and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear it.