Dear White People is a punchy, satirical comedy with thought provoking intentions. Dear White People is a film that intends to leave a bitter taste in your mouth, despite you slurping on a Coca-Cola, or munching down your buttery, delicious popcorn. This film intentionally showcases dramatized interaction between races; in order to inspire thoughts about real life interactions among real people.
A question is raised at the beginning of the movie, “What if they made a ‘Dear Black People?” To which our female protagonist, Sam White, rebuts, “No need. Mass media from Fox News to reality TV on VH1 makes it very clear what white people think of us.” You can feel the angst in her comedy and in her words, and at the start the film may feel a little off-putting. But everybody knows that even the slightest shred of truth doesn’t go down easy. This is what I came to understand watching Dear White People.
The film takes place at a fictitious Ivy League school – Winchester University, where the school’s motto for all creeds and colors is, “You Belong Here!” However, the attitudes and the character of their diverse student body simply does not embody that saying.
A new policy created by their school President, the “Randomization of Housing Act” has put black students at Winchester in jeopardy. The act intends to randomize the student housing for sophomores and for incoming students.
Seems perfectly reasonable to the eye, but between the lines, it means the end of Armstrong-Parker house, whose population is entirely black. With this act in place, the future Armstrong-Parker is destined to be divided and eventually completely liquidated. While the other university houses will feel difference, Armstrong-Parker will change. Unlike everybody else, Armstrong-Parker was founded on embracing and preserving black culture at Winchester.
Running on a rebellious campaign, Sam White, head of the black student union and host of the radio show “Dear White People” is shockingly elected as the new head of the Armstrong-Parker house – and she certainly stirs things up.
The origins of comedy often lie in exaggeration. This movie is based on over-dramatization, but just by a small margin. Not every white person lunges to touch every afro they see, and not every white person who listens to hip hop talks black. The intention is to exaggerate these actions to make the viewer think about today’s culture.
Underneath the surface, this film, with its racial satire and strong media criticism, may be the most thought provoking film of 2015.
Rating: 3.5/4 stars