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Dear White People Takeaways

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Dear White People Cast
SOURCE: Netflix

Here’s what you need to know about Dear White People on Netflix:

  • Dear White People is not about white people. 
  • Netflix’s adaptation of Justin Simien’s 2014 critically acclaimed film of the same name, is in some ways both a continuation of the source material and a radical departure. 
  • The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk, Adrienne Green, Gillian White, and Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss the whole first season, so spoilers abound.
  • Vann Newkirk:
    • I enjoyed the show, and that’s an accomplishment because I didn’t like the film at all.
    • But one of the things that sat in the back of my mind for all 10 episodes was that I have no idea whether Dear White People is primarily a commentary on race or a college sitcom.
  • Adrienne Green:
    • I would argue that Dear White People juggles aspirations to be both a scripted commentary on race and a sitcom about college students
    • As a sitcom about college students, Dear White People isn’t good comedy either
    • All in all, I think the series, while a detailed improvement on the film, struggles with its intersecting identities as much as its main characters did.
  • Gillian White:
    • I think the archetypes of black students at prestigious, white institutions were limited and somewhat flawed, even in their obvious hyperbole.
    • The bifurcation of the black campus population between the “woke” students—their dress, their speech, their plans of action—and the preppy, weave-wearing, non-agitators they deemed to be decidedly less worthy of that title, was clearly an intentional exaggeration of what kinds of black people exist on the campuses of Ivy League schools.

But that bifurcation still leaves out some important players in the black student space on such campuses: Caribbean and African students

    • Because many are from overseas or have families that immigrated in recent decades, their experiences are often very different than black American students, which brings with it its own set of differing viewpoints on what progress should look and feel like
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates 
    • I didn’t see the movie, and I didn’t see it almost entirely because of the title, Dear White People.
    • There’s a long tradition of black folks pleading with white people. It’s a tradition that emerges from political necessity, so I get it; I’m just not very interested in it.
    • Maybe it was everything I would have loved. But my prejudices kept me away. Make of that what you will.
    • blackness in Netflix’s Dear White People is largely a mode of protest.
    • Nearly everything revolves around racism and the pariah-like feelings it inspires.
    • The show is much less concerned with the interior lives of black people.
    • Is there a single scene of a black party in the series?
    • There is a black sorority, but is there a single step show?
    • I think Dear White People, the show, is a tremendous artistic achievement.
    • But this show feels like it’s more about what happens when your sense of being is married to people who don’t much like you.

Lean more @ The Atlantic

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