This is seriously a great show. Everyone should watch it ASAP.
By Michael Sheridan
As finals are coming to an end, we’ll all finally have time to watch Netflix for hours at a time again. While it can be pretty hard to find a new show that is actually good, one show that I think everyone should watch is Dear White People. Not only is this show enjoyable, it is also important. Unsurprisingly, the show deals heavily with race related issues in a way that I find refreshing. The show is never overly accusatory nor is it preachy: it is an honest look at the way that African-Americans experience the world.
The show is set at the fictional Winchester University, a supposed Ivy league school. Much of the action takes places in the predominantly African-American dorm on campus, which serves as a living space, hang out spot, as well as a place for the several Black Students rights groups to meet and discuss the issues that they face as a minority at a predominantly white campus.
Each episode tends to focus on an individual character and their experiences. What I like about the show is that it shows the variety of experiences and mindsets of the different characters. The main character Sam, for example, is very vocal and passionate about fighting racism on campus, and is unashamed about practicing black culture. However, another girl in the same house, Coco, believes that it is sometimes better to “tone” down her blackness. While yet another character, Gabe, who is white, struggles with trying to check his white privilege while also trying to date Sam and be friends with many other characters. I liked how real everyone in the show felt. No one was perfect, all made questionable decisions, and in the end, everyone just wanted to be able to live their lives without facing discrimination.
What this show isn’t, is an attack on white people. It certainly deals with issues surrounding white privilege, yet never claims that all white people are evil or intentionally racist. It does reveal many actions that white people often take without necessarily realizing that such actions are racist. For example, there is a long discussion related to whether or not it is okay for a white student to say the n-word even if he was just singing along to a song. The black students are all uncomfortable with him saying it, however the white student cannot understand what is so bad about it and immediately gets defensive and proclaims that he isn’t racist, despite never being accused of being one.
I personally have witnessed a similar situation in my life, along with several others on the show, which helped make the show feel incredibly real. I’d like to think that the show helped me to better understand my own privilege and how this can negatively affect African-American students in a college environment.
However, I did have a slight problem with the show as it attempted to also deal with issues surrounding homophobia, as one of the main characters in a homosexual struggling with his identity. I just felt that the way this struggle was depicted, as well as other aspects of gay life, was largely stereotypical and written by someone who has never experienced what its actually like to be gay. I was most annoyed with the fact that the main character has a huge crush on his straight roommate throughout most of the show. I find it tiresome to constantly have straight people think that gay guys are always lusting after them, when in reality almost all gay men respect other people’s sexuality and don’t actively have crushes on their straight friends and roommates. Yet I will not say that the show is by any means homophobic, just a bit outdated in the way it presented the gay experience.
Overall, I would highly recommend this show to anyone, especially us here at Fordham. Fordham, as we all know, is largely white, and does not have the best track record on civil rights. Thus, the storylines of this show can easily to be transferred from Winchester University to Fordham University, shedding light on our own race relations and hopefully start a conversation about how we can continue to improve them at our school.