“Dear White People” could serve as much-needed wake-up call


The poster advertising the show.

By Camille Montano | gargoyle@flagler.edu

I was lucky enough never to have experienced general discrimination based on my race or gender on any personal level. But certainly, not all can say the same.

That’s why the original Netflix series “Dear White People” is one of the most important shows any young person could watch in this day and age.

“Dear White People” takes place in the fictional Ivy League College Winchester University, a supposedly post-racial institute whose careful persona gets shattered after the students take place in a black face party. This event makes everyone at Winchester realize the racism that has been bubbling below the surface for a long time. The racism is juxtaposed with the students of Armstrong-Parker House, a dormitory made up of entirely black students who’ve known about the race issues in Winchester and now whose stories are the main focus of “Dear White People”.

The story of “Dear White People” is told in a format similar to book chapters, with each episode following the perspective of a different character. This allows the show’s writers to not only examine the characters as individuals but examine the plot of the story from a different light, allowing for some grey morality even with something as awful as the black face party.

Along with showing how ethnic diversity is a good thing, the show makes a case for moral and ethical diversity as well when dealing with systematic problems. The Martin Luther King method of peace and forgiveness is not going to work all the time, but neither is the Malcolm X brand of anger and aggression. Racism is dealt with in a very natural and realistic way that makes it easier to understand the plight of the students of Armstrong-Parker House.

Despite its heavy subject matter, “Dear White People” has a strong comedic edge. Dear White People is a satire, it is comedy rooted in real life problems and situations. The creators of “Dear White People” don’t just satirize race issues but also college, dating, friends, family, relationships, sexuality, journalism, social media, politics, gender, and movies. “Dear White People”‘s brand of satire is handled the same way the issue of race is handled; very natural and realistic.

The best part about “Dear White People” is the characters, from the main characters to one-off side characters, everyone is memorable or distinct in some way. Every character on screen stays and has some sort of memorable moment, be it funny, poignant, or otherwise. What makes the characters, specifically the main characters, so great though is how relatable and flawed they are.

What makes “Dear White People” so good is that these characters are not just symbols, but real people with their own flaws, opinions, goals, and desires that have to deal with a multitude of problems along with systematic racism that threatens to break them. These characters are treated like real people, so you might not like them or agree with them but at the very least you can understand them.

With topics such as police brutality, Charlottesville, the Muslim immigration ban and the rise of the Alt-Right, we need to be reminded that racism not only exists, but is a serious problem. Along with being a good source of entertainment I hope “Dear White People” can serve as a wake up call to a lot of people.

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