Dear White People

Lunden Rowlett

Unless you have been living under a rock (the sort of rock without Twitter, to be exact), you have likely heard of the show that came out on Netflix a while ago, and blew up fast: Dear White People. Dear White People is one of the rare shows to have received a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it also receiving an Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival. The show is a controversial take on the lives of the young black generation.

On Twitter, there is a popular hashtag, #DearBlackPeople, which came in response to the show. Some of the people using the hashtag are simply addressing the people of their race, not necessarily in relation to the show, but a good majority is in opposition to the messages and themes of the show. “#DearBlackPeople bashing other races isn’t going to get you equality; you’re part of the problem if you do so,” one Tweeter writes. “Needa #DearBlackPeople series, so I can see y’all be infuriated by the white thought,” says another.

Now, maybe you don’t care about my opinion, but then, I’m not sure why you clicked the link to the story with my name on it. These are editorials. They are opinionated. While some semblance of factual evidence should be present in opinion, I am entitled to feel a certain way about things even if they cash with the way another person feels.

So my opinion is, is that the show is brilliant, and it nails what it is like to be living in a westernized world. It nails what it is like to go to Bel Air High School and other mostly white institutions. It is blunt. There is not a “nice” way to put some of the messages addressed in the show.

What I would say to the first tweet is that the things said about white people on the show are not typically bashing; they are true. I say typically because there are characters who take more extreme views on things, and do not necessarily put things in the nicest way. So maybe that come across as bashing, but there is still somewhat truth.

In one episode, there is a party at the college the show is based in, where the theme is blackface. The black people on the show, understandably, are outraged, because it is happening and administration is not doing anything about it. This show is not just a dramatized version of our sore egos. It is real. The New York Times reports the throwing of a party where there was a mock lynching of a man in blackface. Students at Arizona State throw a “blackout for MLK” party. The Lambda Theta Delta fraternity at U.C. Irvine posted a video featuring blackface. The Delta Sigma Phi and Beta Theta Pi fraternities threw blackface parties featuring confederate flags, KKK costumes, and fake nooses. There were more, but I am trying my best to keep this snappy.

“But not all white people are like that!” No, but the ones that are, and the ones that defend them, and the ones who stay ignorant of these things happening, they need to start paying attention.

In addition, you know, our #DearBlackPeople was delivered to us via slavery, segregation, and systemic racism that you would not see. You would not notice it nine times out of ten. It is not happening to you.

I will see you people when I see you, in the meantime, I will be jacking my favorite show’s ratings up all weekend on Netflix, thanks.