Race relations in America, it’s all good right? Like the white man in authority says in the film”Racism in America is over” but it really isn’t. Dear White People explores how the college youth of America view racial identity within the society of a university. It is very clever and thought-provoking as several different characters view their race in different ways. Stereotypes, prejudice, emotional baggage all play a part in the characters agendas even if they don’t intend it, shows the struggle of how you can’t be yourself because the expectations of others and society. A though provoking drama that can create debate with the audience and for one’s self.
Borrowing from recent headlines of racially insensitive college parties, Dear White People follows the build up of tension within Winchester university until it explodes. Focused on four different African-American characters with different ideologies and how they are all pretending to be something else. Tessa Thompson shines in this film as Samantha White, a passionate film student who sees herself as the voice revealing the institutional prejudice within Winchester university. She is idealistic, aggressive and has no issue calling out the way white people mimic or demoralise black culture. She’s an incredible character and voice of the film, her story showing how race forces someone to make a choice. Does Sam actually want to be an activist? Lead a “revolution”? Or does she do it because she’s black and feels she has to for that reason. She is angry by what’s happening around her but does she need to be the one to stop it.
Justin Simien’s direction is very clever, the way he tells the exposition of the film through title card and narration gives the film a visually distinctive feel. He handles the delicate subject matter in a way that isn’t aggressively telling you that everyone is racist and here’s why! there are subtle things that show how messed up everything has become. A comment here or the treatment of a student there, America thinks just because black people aren’t being lynched and killed that everything is A-OK but isn’t. Simien’s direction of his story shows that racism never went away, it evolved into something much nastier. I agree a lot with the points that Sam’s character was making in the film but was her path of pursing change the right one?
Dear White People gives a glimpse into issues revolving race in America, the end credits show how stereotypes and prejudice are still a major issues in universities. People in blackface, thinking its comedy, not insult. It doesn’t offer any definitive answers on how to solve that issue, the film isn’t about the solution to racism, it never is. You are a person, not a skin colour and this film shows how those lines are so blurred by society that your own personal identity can be lost. I highly recommend this film as it showcases a bright future for the talented filmmakers and cast, especially Tessa Thompson, and a story that mirrors the current reality of America.