Dear White People,
#DearWhitePeople polarizing title, but a hella relevant series. DWP explores life at the predominantly white Winchester University through the lens of its persons of color. This post contains spoilers. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.
The show’s name comes from the main character’s radio show. The series shies away from perpetual stereotypes.
Each character has their own internal conflicts that shape how they move in the world. Colandria AKA Coco, a brilliant kid from Chicago’s Southside attended private school most of her life with the help of a wealthy white benefactor. Troy, the legacy kid and son of the dean, reluctantly follows his fathers’ footsteps to power becoming the first black student body president. Lionel, the introverted, gay and heavily underestimated writer of the Winchester Independent. Reggie, an intelligent, militant debater with a resting bitch face that just won’t quit. Samantha (main character), the provocative, outspoken, biracial protester torn between two very different worlds. Gabe, the community organizer and super supportive “white bae” of Sam, well aware of what it feels like to be the only white person in a room full of black people. And Joelle, Sam’s funny smart BFF who is loyal to a fault.
The series explores light skin vs dark skin, black vs white, high society (boogie) vs regular folk, the climate of police shootings and police procedures as it relates to the black community. The show starts where the movie left off showing campus life after the black face party titled Dear Black People.
In an OITNB style of storytelling the episodes explore the stories of individual characters. All of this and they still had time to poke fun at Iyanla Fix My Life, Scandal and the Tarantino Movies riddled with the word nigger (with the hard R). We are not worthy!
The satire takes a serious turn when campus police are called and a white police officer pulls a gun on Reggie in front of black and white partygoers. One group of students plan to protest the incident. The other group led by the dean plan a town hall meeting. The shit hits the fan when Sam learns Gabe called the cops to the party.
During the town hall Coco selects the people she perceives the most non threatening to speak. Lionel takes the mic and exposes the school’s bigoted donors and the intent to integrate the lone black dorm on campus, Armstrong Parker. As the town hall happens inside Troy is sent outside to calm the protesters. While outside he learns he’s been used by his father as a pawn to sweep the incident under the rug and to pacify the black community on campus. Troy, now locked out of the meeting, picks up a shovel and throws it through the glass door. The police arrest Troy as his dad stands paralyzed in fear for his son’s life.
Not sure how they packed all this into ten episodes. Back in my college days though brief I learned why it’s a bad idea to cut your hair short before going to a 90% white college in a small town. The only hairstylists we had worked right out of their dorm room (they addressed this too). And my burrito, ramen noodle and tuna fish eating self was way too broke to afford a cut anyway. When my man in the show stole the Shasta Grape Soda I knew these writers were onto something huge. So kudos to the writers and the ensemble cast for spitting the truth while throwing shade in every direction.
The College Dropout
P.S. I left all of the mushy relationship drama out of the post. Gotta watch for yourself!