Imagine my delight, in this global and multicultural age of ours, to discover that there’s a critically-acclaimed film specifically for my people: White people. Unsurprisingly, Dear White People has virtually nothing to do with my people and everything to do with the frustrations and festering resentments of a very small segment of Black people, a sliver of the talented tenth.
All but a handful of token Whites are two-dimensional white noise, with those two dimensions being cluelessness and hostility. The deceptive title led me to presume that this preachy film would be directed at Whites, but it became apparent within the first few scenes that this film is an entirely internal affair. As such, I’ll forgive its flat attempt to humanize the White characters because doing so is beside the point. After all, films by and for White people (back when that was allowed) never truly humanized or developed the occasional Black characters in the background, and they shouldn’t have been expected to.
Celebrated eighties director John Hughes avoided Black characters in his popular films because, as he admitted, “I’m not going to pretend I know the black experience.” Disney’s Frog Princess reciprocated, keeping the white characters largely undeveloped and in the background where they belonged in a quality screenplay primarily aimed at inspiring and encouraging Black children. Non-White people have every right to make their own movies for and about themselves which happen to feature limited and even insulting depictions of White people.
With that in mind, I tried to bite my tongue […off!] about all the implicit and explicit anti-White racism in the film and attempt to appreciate and explore its message in its own context.
It begins with a battle for the president of the black students’ dorm, featuring a White-presenting Black man with a White girlfriend who favors a housing “randomization” that threatens to destroy the Black dorm’s racial character pitted against a feisty and provocative Black Power girl hellbent on defending the Black community. As a racialist and a separatist, my sympathies were firmly with the latter, as her struggle is my own in photo negative. I even approved of her teasing and mocking White students on her campus radio show, with such enjoyable barbs as, “Dear White people, this just in: Dating a Black person to piss off your parents is a form of racism.”
“True dat!”, as I like to say when I’m appropriating Black culture.
In perhaps the most implausible moment in a film with more than its share of implausible moments, a lone white kid overhearing all the Blacks in the cafeteria grumbling in unison about how victimized they are boldly reminds them that the President is Black, a disproportionate amount of celebrities and sports stars are Black, and there’s active institutional anti-White discrimination targeting him rather than them.
Blacks assume White people are secretly thinking pro-White thoughts. They know enough from comment sections and bathroom stalls that there are definitely White people around them thinking that way. But the number of White students willing to actually make that sort of public stand on a Western college campus could fit in Matthew Heimbach’s beat-up Toyota Corolla.
True to form, the Blacks have an intelligent and well-developed “separation” vs. “integration” debate, while the pro-White kid is just generally hostile to and resentful of Black people. Neither Heimbach nor any pro-White college student I’ve spoken with would object for a minute to the Black students having their own separate dining hall, and none of them would make a point to intrude on Black social and cultural spaces. Matthew Heimbach’s “White Student Union” never challenged–and even (fruitlessly and symbolically) attempted to collaborate with–his campus’s Black Student Union.
For all this film’s self-conscious Millennial edginess, including awkward interracial homosexual kissing, more awkward interracial homosexual kissing, and even some involuntary interracial homosexual kissing for good measure, the message of this preachy little film is surprisingly anti-Black. The light-skinned Black girl who begins the film as a proud advocate for her people betrays the folks looking up to her because she “grows” to perceive it as a betrayal of her white father, her white cultural tastes, and her white romantic partner, wrapping up her show with “Dear White People…Nevermind.”
Her abandonment of her identity and rejection of Garveyite autonomy from white society is depicted as a victory for herself rather than a betrayal of her folk.
In the final scene, the rich Black guy and the rich White guy strike a deal to get rich off of inflaming racial tension, with the “message” being that confidently asserting one’s racial identity and celebrating one’s heritage is a regressive distraction from the important work of having interracial sex, throwing interracial parties, climbing the status ladder, and making bank. Blackness isn’t a legitimate identity, but rather a loose aggregation of people with peculiar hair issues, catch phrases, and historical hang-ups who desperately want and need to integrate with the dominant White culture.
Not that I have any “standing” when it comes to Black films for Black folks, but Malcolm X is more my speed. It also featured a strident separatist whose aggressiveness and violent rhetoric ebbed over time, but the message of the film Malcolm X is pretty much our message here at TradYouth; One can celebrate, promote, and defend one’s heritage and racial identity without hatred, provocation, or needless antagonism. One can love their own without hating everybody else. While I’m not advocating Islam or the Nation of Islam, that film highlighted a spiritual development of its characters as an integral aspect of one’s relationship with one’s identity which went entirely over the head of this disposable after-school special.
Besides, couldn’t all of this extracurricular bullshit and distraction from their coursework have been avoided if they had all just attended an HBCU?