On April 28, 2017, Dear White People began streaming on Netflix. This series, based off of the 2014 film with the same name, is about the blatant racism and microaggressions that black students at a predominately white institute are forced to face. This struggle comes to a boil when a group of white students host a “Blackface Party” for Halloween. For Samantha White, this does it, and she lashes out at her Caucasian peers—as well as some of her non-woke black peers—in a morning radio show that she has affectionately titled “Dear White People.”
“I get that being reduced to a race-based generalization is a new and devastating experience for some of you, but here’s the difference. My jokes don’t incarcerate your youth at alarming rates or make it unsafe for you to walk around your own neighborhoods. But yours do. When you mock or belittle us, you enforce an existing system.” — Samantha White, Dear White People
This ten-episode series tackles a variety of social issues, including—but not limited to—racism, police brutality, misogyny, homophobia, and the stigma and hardships that come along with being in an interracial relationship. All while being unashamedly black. Millions of African-Americans can relate to the predicaments displayed, regardless of if they’re in college or not. As stated billions of times before, representation matters, and it always feels good to see a group of characters that you can deeply relate to.
For white people wanting to watch this show—or, at the very least, curious about what the show entails—do not be swayed by the split-second judgements of your Caucasian peers on Twitter. This show is not “racist” and will not hurt your feelings. If you are a good and woke white person, you’ll get a lot of laughs from the show, and you’ll probably feel more eager to go out and support the next Black Lives Matter march. If you are a bad white person, however . . . Well, turn the volume up. You might need to hear this.
“Cops everywhere staring down the barrel of a gun at a black man don’t see a human being. They see a caricature, a thug, a nigger. So, nah. You don’t get to show up in a Halloween costume version of us and claim irony or ignorance. Not anymore.” — Samantha White, Dear White People
Above all, I would rate Dear White People with an 11/10. Call me bias, sure, but it’s just hard to give a bad score to something so excellent and rich and timely. The plot was perfectly paced, the characters were real and imperfect and insanely comical, and the ending left a lot of room for more development in the future. Justin Simien truly outdid himself with this project. My one hope is that this show can reach as many people as possible, because media truly has the power to change the views of others and progress the world. And with the way that the world is starting to look, Lord knows that we need some progress.
Also, there better be a Season Two. Just saying.