Overkill? Racist? Just straight-up reality?

Tomorrow I’m going to see “Dear White People,” a movie about racial politics at a fictional college called Winchester University, with a few friends from my PhD program. It should be fun, awkward at times, and certainly a different way of voicing the collective fumbles, idiocies, and aggressions that Black people experience in mainstream America every day. Lines like the following, “Dear White People: Please stop touching my hair. Does this look like a petting zoo to you?” are sure to make viewers laugh, shift, reflect, and hopefully get a little pissed off, maybe all at once.


I’ve been looking forward to seeing the movie since I heard about it this summer and have been inspired by other thoughtful, youthful commentaries put out into popular media that seek to challenge assumptions and highlight alternate narratives that come both from the oppression, and from the vitality, of African-American, Latino, Asian, and other non-White communities. While much poppier and playful, Buzzfeed, a media collective based in LA, has produced several shorts with clear, albeit comedically-situated messages. Check out “If Latinos Said the Stuff White People Say” and “If Black People Said the Stuff White People Say,” and “If Asian People Said the Stuff White People Say.” If it seems like it’s overkill – or if you think they’re racist – imagine living these experiences as the script of your life in America as a non-White person.


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