Despite what the eye-catching title may imply, “Dear White People” is a letter to us all.
The 10-episode Netflix series, based on the 2014 movie of the same name, dives deep into the lives of black students at Winchester University. Despite the school’s Ivy League status, it’s home to plenty of characters, situations and events that everyone should be able to relate to. Much like the movie it is adapted from, the show kicks off with a black face party that drives African-American students to protest.
The film, and then the series upon being announced, was knocked with harsh criticism, simply due to the title of the film. White people assumed it was bashing them using racially driven, anti-white rhetoric — but any haters out there simply have to watch the movie or series to learn it isn’t about white people at all.
In fact, it isn’t really directed toward anyone specifically. Of course, there’s the token racist “white people” in the series, who represent the the small minority of those who will drop a racial slur and then play the victim card when the very people they’re discriminating against are offended, but to interpret the show to be an attack on an entire race is entirely wrong.
It’s an open letter to people who might think that black people are different than white people. “Dear White People” shows that aside from skin color, people aren’t that different after all, and go through (more or less) the same struggles.
The first character introduced to viewers is Sam (Logan Browning), the host of a college radio show called “Dear White People,” which she uses to express frustrations with being a misunderstood woman of color on a predominantly white campus. She is joined by a group of similar, but very different students who make up the Black Student Union at Winchester. Though the group is mixed with biracial members, the offspring of militant Black Panthers, sorority girls, and even the son of the university’s dean, each character intersects with one another for the common goal of standing up for the rights of all black students on campus.
The interesting thing about “Dear White People” is how you may find yourself laughing out loud in one moment, while being struck by the emotional impact of the scene seconds later. The show touches on friendship, identity, police brutality and even power, all rooting back to the idea that we are all one in the same.
There is a deep exploration into the life of college students, who are just as confused as any of us. They’re outspoken, aware and ready to act out on any and all unfair and unjust battles against them at school, all while trying to keep it together as individuals.
There’s a lot more going on in “Dear White People” than a battle between races to prove one is more significant than the other. It’s a step into someone else’s shoes that should help viewers realize, “Hey, we’re not all that different after all.” This show enlightens us not only about “white people” or “black people,” what we get is a beautiful attempt at embracing the inevitable intersection of young lives.
“Dear White People” is a refreshing and well-rounded comedy that takes dives into sex, society, and race without ever feeling too deep. It’s smart and pop-culture savvy, all while showing everyone, particularly those who think this show is about them, why it’s time to pay attention.