Television Tuesday: Dear White People

I was unfortunately unable to post this last Tuesday, I didn’t have the time to write the review. However, I have had time to really think about the series.

The Netflix produced tv show Dear White People, was released 4/28. When its first trailer was uploaded there was some initial backlash to the television show. People claimed the show promoted “white genocide” and deleted their accounts, others said that it isn’t helping racism.

Having graduated from one of those Universities that had a blackface party, a “satirical” (their words not mine) paper that tends to write highly racist articles, and is still “trying” to address the lack of reaction from the administration, I felt that it is important to see the show since there were so many parallels.

The show follows several students in and attached to the traditionally black residential hall after a series of incidents at the college; however, it does focus more on Samantha White (Logan Browning) the controversial talk-show-host-student-activist who is struggling with whether she should date Reggie Green (Marque Richardson), her male counterpart in the BSU and poet or Gabe Mitchell (John Patrick Amedori) her white summer bae with whom she shares a passion for film.

After a blackface party thrown by the school’s satirical paper Pastiche (I wish our “satire” paper could’ve thought of something clever like this, but alas), the many groups and organizations of the historically black dorm rise together to bring to light that the college is not as post-racial as it thought it was.

One of the most heartbreaking episodes in the entire season is Colandrea “Coco” Conners’s (Antoinette Robertson). The episode was deep and depressing as you watch her hiding pieces of herself in order to fit in in society. She shows how many people have to walk the impossible line of their culture or race or ethnicity and the normative acceptable behavior she is expected to achieve. She spends her time and money in trying to make herself less black, less of a threat in order to fit in with her white friends even though they would and do go to the Blackface party.

It’s a really eye-opening television show, and it isn’t abrasive as the first trailer made it out to be. It shows the intersectionality of identities and how society, the media, and other external forces sometimes make the ability to freely manœuvre through society difficult if you don’t fit as neatly in the box as expected.

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