Tagracism

Dear White People: Here’s an alternative perspective

Dear white people, check your privilege before proceeding to read this post.

Black Face Pary

Skepticism slowed my eagerness to hop on the “Dear White People” bandwagon. Was this Netflix series going to live up to the high standards set by its 2014 movie predecessor? I soon grew tired of sitting on the sidelines while the internet gave the series raving reviews. Finally, after receiving a high recommendation from my boss to watch the show, I knew I had to check out this series that had my white colleagues in awe. I started the 10-episode season on Tuesday. I finished it on Friday.

Dear White People Cover

“Dear White People” explores the spectrum of Black identity on a PWI’s (Predominately White Institution) campus. As a UNC graduate and someone who has worked in the central communications office of two Southern flagship universities, I’m familiar with the ongoing struggle to control a campus’ racial narrative.

It’s all about perspective. “Dear White People” does an amazing job at examining campus race issues through different lenses. By telling each chapter of the story through the eyes of a different character, the show is able to preach that race issues are not Black or white. There are a lot of complexities, created by life experiences, that influence how someone views and responds to an issue.

Dear White People scene

In today’s American culture, there is a lack of willingness to examine issues from different perspectives. That’s why watching “Dear White People’s” plot unfold from multiple angles is so powerful. It’s easy (and comforting) to surround yourself with like-minded people, but change doesn’t happen in silos. “Dear White People” plants this seed of wisdom from the very beginning of the series, and we see it nurtured throughout the season.

I’ve been writing for MediaWhistle for the past four years. Throughout these years, I’ve stressed the importance of Black people creating a voice in the media. I love that “Dear White People” creates multiple voices from the Black community and provides social commentary on how these varying perspectives can cause conflict and create unity. It is refreshing to have my story told in a way that both challenges my truths and authenticates my struggle.

A Public Service Announcement:

Sam

Dear White People, I am not here for your entertainment – to make you feel cool or make you feel hip. I am not here to make you feel comfortable – to relieve your white guilt with our friendship. I am not here to stroke your ego or be a checked box on a diversity survey.

I am here to fuck shit up. I am here to dismantle the status quo, to attack institutional racism and to challenge your pre-existing notions of my existence. Like “Dear White People,” I am here to share my perspective on life in hopes that you will seek to understand my alternative perspective.

Racism in Our Post Racial Society?

So as you all have probably heard, Donald Sterling (LA Clippers owner) was banned from the NBA for life and was fined $2.5 million for his racist comments made during an argument with his biracial side chick. A slew of tweets, facebook posts, and Instagram memes ensued. ESPN was the first major news outlet to jump on the story after TMZ released the recording. Slowly but surely, other major media outlets such as CNN and Fox joined the media bandwagon of coverage leading up to, what turned oblakeut to be, a much anticipated NBA news conference announcing the consequences Sterling would face for his actions. In the meantime, several sponsors of the LA Clippers wasted no time cutting the Clippers loose, for the time being, and news outlets pulled a plethora of black reporters, correspondents and commentators out of the wood works (who knew so many existed?!) to add to the media dialogue.

From a journalist’s perspective, I was interested to see how news outlets would frame this story, which had several components. The component that received the most attention was the racist comments made by Sterling. Also, Sterling’s long history of racist tendencies was pulled out of the closet for the world to see…I mean revisit. Then there is the issue of privacy and free speech, which begs the question of the legality behind Sterling being secretly recorded in the privacy of his own home. Lastly, you had the local LA NAACP chapter that was in the process of honoring Sterling with a lifetime award. But no worries, they decided to return Sterling’s most recent donation and withdraw this reward.

Donald-Sterling-Clippers-Meme_14Now that we all know what will happen to Sterling (although there is a possibility he will refuse to sell his team and take this controversy to court), I’m curious to see if the news will drop this story from its news cycle, or decide to dig a little deeper into issues such as the institutionalized racism that allowed Donald Sterling to practice housing discrimination.

After talking to a number of people about this issue, a friend of mine mentioned how he took issue with how racism is often talked about as an individual character defect. He said this takes away from the root of the issue, which is institutionalized racism, and I agree. Let’s talk about how black people and other minorities are systematically discriminated against in our criminal justice system, school system and economic system. In our post racial society that apparently no longer needs affirmative action (that’s a topic for another post), I find this problematic.

12 years a slave

I’m glad this story gained the attention that it did and appropriate action was taken by the NBA to begin to address this issue. I urge my readers, and adamant social media ranters to not let this story die as the major news outlets move on to the next big breaking news.


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