Now and then, you stumble upon a show that makes you grow as a person, that makes you criticise yourself in the best way possible. Browsing through the popular trends on Netflix, I felt drawn to a title that seemed to talk to me : « dear white people ».
As I am « passing as white » 1, I thought I would have a look. From the very beginning, I got intrigued by the lives of Sam, Lionel, Reggie and more. Each episode revolves around a character in an intricate story-telling. The University of Winchester, U.S, is where future leaders are born and raised. With a long history of conservatism, the school is the environment in which a group of african-american students have to fight everyday for their rights. Not only is the institution a place of intolerant traditions, but it is also a nest of denied-racism on the part of the students themselves.
A compelling cast
Samantha, a biracial passionate women is torn by the lack of black culture on campus and decides to steer things up. Through her polemical radio show on campus called « Dear White People », she tackles every problem that her university is ignoring in regards to racism. Through the story of each of her friends, we discover a variety of personalities. They are all linked through the struggles of finding one’s identity amongst the numerous labels that pave this world. The series evolves gracefully towards a criticism of american society and their biases towards african-americans.
If you’re white, deal with it !
The Netflix original series addresses the problem of white priviledge in a sublte way, where one can realise where one has gone wrong in the past. It is a bonified schoolbook on what not to do as a white person. And I won’t lie, it made me think. Was I ever insensitive on the account that i’m white ? One scene of the series made me realise that yes, I was. As I watched an action that I myself did, I grasped how wrong it was. It was not a nice feeling. But a necessary one. This is not only an american problem. Belgium is touched as well and we would be fools to think that racism is dead. It is everywhere. So is white priviledge.
« Dear white people » makes you definitely think. It is short, well written, and treats a serious subject with ease and humour. This series represents the challenges of the american society towards a world more and more violent regarding difference. It is a part of a current stream of documentaries, movies and series such as 13th, I am not you negro or even Get out, that finally treat a subject that was taboo for such a long time. Another win for Netlfix.
1 Passing as white is when someone with mixed ethnicities is viewed by society as part of the caucasian group.