Dear white people, this one is for you.
Netflix released its newest original series Dear White People and it’s fantastic, but the sad truth is that the people who need to watch the show most probably won’t. This is primarily from the fact that when people see “Dear White People”, they miss the irony and automatically become offended without having any idea what the show is about. The fact that people do become offended and associate a negative connotation to the phrase, however, tells more about them and less about the show.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for white people to reject ideas, places or things that are not catered to them, cue Get Out. In fact, we must expect this resistance when we bring truth to light.
Nevertheless, if you are still apprehensive about watching the show, let’s discuss some of the key principles of the show that has a deeper meaning than simply the catchy phrase, “Dear White People”.
Dear White People brings to light the Microaggressions that people of color face every day. Sam, the main character of the show, bonds with her roommate Coco after a cringy conversation they had with a group of white girls. Without giving away any specifics of the show, every Black girl can relate to their White counterparts bragging about how their skin will get as darks as yours during the summer! or the assumption that by being their token “Black friend” that somehow makes them safe from being racist. Or hearing every time you get your hair done “how do you get your hair like that?” This show emphasizes to White people, that little comments these are not only not okay but are inherently racist. So dear white people, take notes and just stop
Dear White People also shows the complexity of Black identity. No, not every Black person can dribble or throw a football. No, not every Black person aspires to be the next Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King. We are not all Straight nor are we all poor. Through its diverse cast, this shows exemplifies how that there is no set way to be Black and how we should not be treated as a monolithic group. So Dear White People, don’t turn Rap music on when I get in the car because you’ll think I’ll be able to relate.
Dear White People shows that if you are not Black, you will not be able to say the N-word. Seeing as its 2017, you would think this goes without saying but white people and even some non-Black people of color still try to find an exception. In a scene at a house party, a White guy (seemingly trying to impress his Black friends) recites the lyrics to a Rap Song and says the N-word like it’s no big deal. His black friends, Reggie and Joelle tell him not to say it and that it makes them feel uncomfortable and White guy proceeds to say “well it’s not like I meant in a racist way.” That’s the funny thing about Whiteness and watching it work, they never intend for their skin to give them extra privileges, but it still happens. This same logic can be applied to terminology taken back by marginalized communities. Just as I can not change who I am, you, as a white person, can not change the fact that your ancestors used the N word to oppress people who look like me and for that reason alone you can not say the word we reclaimed to empower our communities.
From police brutality to mental health issues to heterocissexism in the Black community, Dear White People covered it all. This is the show that needs to be glorified because brings attention to important issues without being problematic. This show needs to be glorified for the fact that it doesn’t leave anyone’s wig unsnatched. So dear white people don’t be scared to watch the show, we all need to be dragged a couple times. It’s good for our health.