Dear White People,
The Movie Dear White People, is not going to make it okay for you to use racial slurs, or say that you understand now the very nuanced experience of being a POC, even a black person, in America. This movie was not made just to entertain, and it was not made just to entertain you, although it was an incredibly compelling film with a dynamic range of emotional tones (from satirical, to raw, to plain-old-hilarious and romantic) with plenty of human characters for all other humans to relate to; however it is also not your "brush up" on how to not be racist. You can't get your "Continuing civics education" from one movie alone. To find out what the movie Dear White People is a bout, why don't you see the movie, and check out writer/director Justin Simien's various interviews over the past half-year or so about the movie, his purpose, and what he hopes audiences will take away from it. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe he made a movie that wasn't for you, white people, but that was for people in general, and you know what? That's okay. Maybe he wants you to understand that in this movie alone we get a whole slew of subtle perspectives on what is to be black in America, in the very particular setting of a prestigious university among people who are supposedly exposed to the most progressive (or is it impressive?) thinkers in the country, implying that you could walk away from this movie having an bit of an idea but never the experience of the overt or subtle depths to which racism can penetrate and the myriad perspectives there must be out there for each individual black person.
Maybe, the best thing to do then is to just keep. listening. Keep watching the movies made by those who have a different voice and a different catalog of thought to draw from- they're not all the same, they're not all completely different from your own either-there are still basic human themes we can all relate to, and yet, it's important that we don't then just assume that it's still okay to mostly staff the mainstream media and hollywood with white writers, producers, editors, actors and actresses...etc. Just because there are universal human experiences and emotions- fear, love and a justified hatred of most people who say, "Brah" un-ironically-it doesn't mean that the voices out there right now cover spectrum. We need to demand more from these institutions, and we need to do it now. If our voices have any power, let's use it for good for once, eh?
I am a white person. I am a white ally. I want more movies like this and completely different from this one. I am so.fucking.sick. of seeing white people on the screen and being told what "Black America" is and isn't by white people writing scripts and op-eds. I am not even diving deep enough, because there's more to the race conversation than just "black and white", and so I want even more perspectives, even more universality that arises from the apparent dissonance, as well as to be shown those experiences I can never understand, and not for the purpose of educating me but because it is valuable to everyone, including those who already live those experiences. Maybe they need something that we don't, and it doesn't matter at all if we relate or not. So this is not a comment about what anyone's "America" is; it's a call for white people to recognize that they should a.) go see this movie because as a movie, it is simply great b.) stop trying to speak on behalf of groups whose perspectives we can never share (and seriously, just stfu about our own because we are done here. Our voice in the conversation about race needs to be muted for now) and finally, c.) demand to know why it is that every copy of Birth of a Nation has yet to be burned until the damn thing is just completely swept into the dustbin of history, or at least stop heralding it as a masterpiece. If D.W. Griffith hadn't done it, someone else would have. That's very likely. And if we hadn't been so busy systematically torturing and enslaving, then oppressing (which was usually just enslavement in a different way) entire races, then who knows? Maybe that person would not have been a white Klan member with a disgusting propagandist message to perpetuate.
I really don't know how to come off here, and I kind of think it doesn't matter. It's not that my voice as an individual doesn't matter, but more that as an ally and a lover of all things with a narrative, whether it be audio, visual, or both, all I can really do is try to support voices different from my own.