By Maylyne Togafau |Staff Writer|
If you genuinely believe that you live in an America where all men (and women) are created equal, this article is not for you.
As a person of color (POC) in America’s climate today, talking openly and effectively about racial issues is arguably as hard as covertly enduring them.
Netflix’s Dear White People presents a satirical show that, in contrast to its title, has more to do with interracial relations than it does the race in which the title is addressed.
The 10-episode series touches countless issues plaguing a college campus: gender and sexuality, domestic/dating violence, financial insecurity, privacy concerns/hacking, drugs and alcohol, self-identity, and most important—race and racism.
Most those issues are non-discriminant; plenty of students have struggled financially, most are still trying to figure out who they are, everyone waits to do their homework until its due; but not all people have experienced living in a nation whose declaration of independence claims self-evident truths of equality for all men. Except the ones with different shaded skin.
The show purposefully addresses several heavy topics, admittedly shallow, because it demands that the viewer return, uncover, and proactively discuss the truth under the satire. So, to not be misunderstood, I can only focus on one scene in the first episode.
Sam White, our half-white and half-black protagonist—plagued by the prejudices of her dark roots and privileged by her lighter shaded skin—acts as our eyes through the boasted post-racial Ivy League Winchester University.
Gabe is Sam’s progressive but white “Summer Bae” who she’s too ashamed to reveal to her black friends likely in fear that it would discredit her blackness.
Reggie is the black alpha male, who Sam is drawn too because of his passion for their shared cause in advocating for the black plight
However, to move forward with Gabe, she invites him to the exclusive weekly screening of Defamation, a hilarious Scandal parody, in the all black dormitory.
Gabe attempts to engage by asking if Reggie is speaking of the Black Face party that was held by the Ivy League’s independent newspaper, claiming that he too was in outrage and disbelief that in 2017 incidences of racism still occur.
Reggie’s responds, “really? Because I can; it’s almost as if we attend two different schools.”
As progressive as Gabe appears to be, when Reggie leans forward to ask him what he is doing here, Gabe retorts with the question, “what, are you going to hit me?”
He wasn’t going to hit him. But did you believe he would? Why? Gabe was uncomfortable for an hour or so, but until the blatant black face party, he didn’t even think that racism was still possible.
Reggie knows that racism existed before the party, during the party, and sadly will continue after.
But it doesn’t have to. It shouldn’t have to. I hope one day that it won’t.