Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
In the movie “Dear White People”, a group of African American students work their way through a predominantly white college, where they deal with life, race relations, and politics, in a comedic and satirical way. With its release date on October 17th, the topic of the film is spot on as discussions of race in the black community and how they are portrayed in the media are made aware.
“Dear White People, the minimum requirement of black friends to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count.” Samantha White says as she begins her radio show named “Dear White People”
Tessa Thompson plays Samantha White in this film, and is mainly known for her roles in the 2006 movie “When a Stranger Calls”, and the Tyler Perry produced movie “For Colored Girls.” The radio show sets up a college campus culture war on what challenges and notions of what it means to be “black”.
Co-actor Tyler James Williams, who is mainly known for his role on “Everybody hates Chris”, and is the face of the “Dear White People” movie poster, plays Lionel Higgins.
Lionel is a sci-fi geek who is recruited to an all-white run newspaper. Lionel, who would be the only face of color on the newspaper, is asked to go undercover and write a piece about black culture which he doesn’t know much about despite being “black” himself.
“Lionel please you’re only technically black.” a student says as she pats his afro on the way out of the newsroom.
Dealing with the complexities of black identity in a supposed post racial America is what drives this film and the characters in it. When a terribly themed annual Halloween party called “Unleash Your Inner Negro” is thrown by the college’s humor magazine Pastiche, it ignites an already blazing fire of resentment and wrong prejudices towards the black community.
“Racism towards black people is something I witness far too often and it’s refreshing to see something like Dear White People coming to Hollywood and giving black people a voice.” said Meghan Ianiro, a Caucasian student attending Saint Peter’s University. “Hopefully the film will serve as a platform that will open the eyes of many people when it comes to the things we say and do without thinking.”
Joseph Williams, a student who is both black and white and has experienced both sides of the spectrum of race, says
“Honestly, I think the movie is thought provoking to say the least. From the trailer it touches on some real topics like advantages and disadvantages in the work place, and I’m glad they brought up the racism towards Mexicans because they experience it a lot nowadays. It’ll be one of those big movies that will open up the door for honest conversation on race relations”
As Samantha White says, “The role of counter culture is to wake up the mainstream.”
Art and Entertainment Journalism