PLNU students review new film, ‘Dear White People’: Katie Seals

Photo courtesy of Katie Seals
Photo courtesy of Katie Seals

As a mixed-race (half-black, half white) college-aged female, I should be able to identify with the main character of “Dear White People,” Sam White. I felt like I could relate more to the “wizarding” ways of Hermione Granger while watching “Harry Potter” than I could while watching the feisty broadcaster of this film.

This film claims to be based off a true story, but, hopefully, it is a loosely based product of Hollywood dramatization because I cannot imagine a modern college community of educated young people act as ignorantly as the students of this film.

“Dear White People” is a film about social acceptance disguised as racism in an American college setting. A “Black Panther” inspired group of black students are pitt against their white peers who belong to a “douchey” all white male fraternity. The climax of their rivalry is a Crunk-in-the-Club themed party that encourages the mocking of African-American culture.

Here are some of my thoughts throughout the movie:

*The showing I went to began at 10:20 pm

10:47: She just asked if the black girl’s hair was “weaved”….? That’s not something you should be asking like your asking “Is it cold outside?”

10:50: What part of America is this set in? Do people actually talk like this…?

11:00: Ew. I think they’re trying to tick me off, I’m kinda pissed. They are making all of these people sound so stupid. They must be doing this on purpose.

11:36: Ummmm super annoyed. Who decided mixed people feel the need to overcompensate?

11:40: Did he just say mulatto….LOL. I wish I could say I haven’t been called that before.

11:56: Woah sexuality conflict. This just opened up a whole new can of worms.

11:58: This party sounds like a Lil Wayne memorial.

12:00: And it looks like Riverside…(I’m from Riverside).”

12:05: Woah! Lionel (the homosexual writer who is trying to fit in with the Black Student Union) just started a riot. Where did all this strength come from!?”

12:17: Awww peace and harmony. Wait a second, this movie is still going…but where? Where is this going?

I do not identify with this movie because I have never experienced racism on this scale. I come from a world where skin-color is not the first thing you see when you look at a person. As idealistic as it may sound, I grew up never defining a person based on skin-tone. In middle school, sometimes white kids made black jokes and black kids would call my family “white-washed” but that was only immaturity. I identify with traditions and stereotypes from both the African American and Caucasian race. I’m not white Katie during the week and black Katie on the weekends. I, like most Americans, am a product of the melting pot.

The main character Sam White tries to overcompensate for feeling misidentified by taking on the role of an angry activist in her community. She comes to find that being true to herself is much more effective. Tessa Thompson, who played Sam White, put on a very compelling performance and kept the story moving. A movie based on defining young people by race alone is an accurate look at social inequality. Social equality will be achieved when people start to appreciate the people around them for the many different elements they are made of. People should fight for their right to express themselves but if we want equality, we need to stop segregating, especially if that means segregating ourselves. The film was interesting but strung on a muddled storyline. I felt like they missed the mark on what it is like to be me, a mixed race individual in America.