Dear White People
Following her ridiculous racist remarks, Charlotte Lucas, of Lucas Oil Stadium, should see this film.
To begin with, Justin Simien’s Dear White People is so provocative and meaningful that it should be required to be seen by all freshmen sorority and fraternity members in colleges around this country. While the popular slogan that you frequently hear is that racism is dead, the exact opposite is true.
Quite frankly, it is astonishing that Mr. Simien found the financing to make this intellectually intriguing film. It exposes blatant racism that stays alive today while being denied by nearly everyone on right-wing radio and Fox TV, and you simply have to pay attention. Unless you want to take a family vacation to Liberia, racism in this country is more virulent than the Ebola virus. Just ask the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri.
This film takes place at a privileged Ivy League School known as Winchester. Both white and black students are grasping to understand reality, and there are some fantastic performances. It begins with Tessa Thompson as Sam White and Tyler James Williams as Lionel Higgins.
Mrs. Thompson is remarkable as a pissed off college student who is as upset with Fox News as she is with Tyler Perry, and her life is complicated by the fact that she is dating a white student. Mr. Williams is wonderful as he tries to confront the meaning of being a gay black man.
The plot centers on a party put on by a prominent white fraternity where everyone is required to dress in “blackface”. Disaster strikes, a campus riot follows and thoughtful students are left as befuddled as those at Kent State when students were killed on campus during the Vietnam War.
While the film has been criticized due to the convenience of both the white president (Peter Syvertsen) and the black Dean of Students (Dennis Haysbert) having students at the school, I failed to see a problem. More importantly, I couldn’t help but think of the major Universities in the SEC and their fans. While those same fans largely oppose President Obama based on little more than the fact he is black, they blindly support a College Football team on those same terms. Watch a game played between Alabama and Georgia, and see if the stands are nearly completely white while the opposite is true with the players on the field.
I find it appalling that many of the opponents of President Obama dismiss allegations of racism as playing the “race card.” Slavery only ended 150 years ago, and let’s not forget that racism was defended as an American right supported by the Bible.
The appealing nature of this film is found in the simple fact that it provokes an intelligent conversation. If you find fault with any of my comments, pay attention to the pictures shown in the movie credits. They show multiple pictures from recognized Southern Universities that have students actually appearing at parties in “blackface”.
How could it hurt if all High School seniors saw this film and discussed its consequences?