Dear White People

By: Raina Kamrat

“Dear White People” offers a fresh perspective on the political and social power of film. Instead of buff men and sexy women saving the world, the characters of “Dear White People” are fighting for the freedom to define themselves, along with respect for their identities regardless of race or gender. I particularly loved the focus on the main female role, Sam White, a strong, unapologetic leader determined to challenge the PC mindset of her school. She was a force and inspiration to watch, juxtaposed with Lionel Higgins, a shy, gay black student. Ultimately, both Sam and Lionel are the heroes of this story, despite their convoluted paths to self-acceptance and social change. Their story could happen at any prestigious college; in fact, it has. And that’s what makes the movie scary. The stereotypes about black culture are backwards and offensive, and they are almost left unchallenged. It makes you reflect about the pervasive and ingrained racism of today’s society. Like the Black Student Union of “Dear White People,” we need to protest people, laws, and institutions that perpetuate inequality.

    It’s pretty rare for a film about racial inequality to be so biting and sarcastic to white people. And that is in no way a negative thing. Far too often, films about racial equality feature a white savior protagonist, or are dismissed as “white guilt” movies. Ironically, it is rare to find a movie about race that actually features an array of complex, flawed black characters. Fortunately, Dear White People breaks all tired stereotypes of racial movies. Each of the characters is wonderfully nuanced and layered, from sharp-tongued Sam White, a media student running a radio show called “Dear White People”, to fame-hungry Coco Conners who dreams of having a reality show.
The beauty in the movie is not only in its sarcasm and bite toward white folks, but the balance of politics and interpersonal relationships that the music explores. The filmmakers realize that identity is not simply a matter of politics. Family, romance, and friendship are all discussed in the movie as all the characters struggle to find out who they are aside from their skin color. It is not an exaggeration to say that Dear White People is one of the most refreshing looks at racial politics in recent years.
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