The movie Dear White People was extremely relevant to 2020 and the racial reckoning this country could be experiencing. When Sam starts her radio show, she does not hesitate to call her white classmates out for racist actions even if they are small. The fact that the white students and faculty don’t support her is one thing; however, their animosity towards her shows something more cynical about White people’s relationship with racism.
While Black people often have a clear understanding of what is and is not racist, white people will often craft definitions of racism that exclude their own actions from being racist. When White people do this, they make themselves very unwelcoming to their actions being labeled as racist. These actions often include micro aggressions such as asking about a Black women’s hair or commenting on a Black person’s intelligence. In the movie, one action that many white people do not see as racist but Sam does is the pervasive “White” culture at the school. Indeed, she challenges White people at the school to make two Black friends. The White students and faculty do not respond well to this as evidenced by the black face party at the end of the film.
One of the more interesting parts of this movie to me was the existence of an all-Black residence hall. In the film, the school administration attempts to get rid of the race restrictions on the hall in order to include diversity; however, some Black students don’t respond positively to this effort. In their opinions, the existence of an all-Black residence hall empowers Black students rather than oppress them. I understand where both sides come from in this story. The administration believes that the only way to increase diversity at the school is to mix the residence halls. However, is mixing communities the right thing to do if the minority group is asking not to be mixed in? In my opinion there needs to be a balance. At Winchester, Sam is clear that the “White” culture is not only popular but it is pervasive. This would mean that increasing diversity as the administration hopes to would only attempt to assimilate the Black students into the culture of the White students. This is wrong. Therefore, schools that struggle with diversity must find ways to promote pluralism — peaceful coexistence — rather than simply encouraging diversity.
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