TV

‘Dear White People’ is funny for all the right reasons

From the moment I stepped into S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, I knew something exciting was on its way. While it may start off with fairytale-like beginnings, “Dear White People” is not a fairy tale. It is a depiction of the reality people of color face on college campuses across the country.

On Monday night, the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium was kind enough to let Netflix host an exclusive screening of its new series “Dear White People,” a spinoff show of the 2014 film of the same name. Held in partnership with Revolt TV, the event was hosted by Syracuse University alumnus and host of Revolt TV, Lawrence Jackson. Jackson riled up the audience and prepared us for what was to come.

Lorraine Branham, dean of the Newhouse School, followed with a few remarks of her own. Then it was time for the main event: Netflix showed us the first two episodes of the show’s first season and it was amazing.

From the get-go, the show is laced with an important message. And like the movie, it screams that message loud and clear, with a heavy dose of sarcasm added to the mix. The message is simple, but it’s also one a large group of people still refuse to accept: racism exists.

“Dear White People” follows the lives of black students on the campus of the fictitious Ivy league institution, Winchester University. Each episode is focused on the perspective of a certain student as he or she explores the radically racist events that unfold on the campus.

The show is a wonderfully curated cross between ABC’s “Black-ish” and a Wes Anderson movie. With aesthetically pleasing shots, completely unforeseen plot twists and a great use of classical and opera music, the show still manages to stay fresh and young. And it doesn’t just cater to the black community, perhaps one of its greatest strengths.

As an Indian international student straight from Mumbai, I didn’t get a lot of the references and jokes they made. But I got the message, and that is the most important part. And while the show may start off with a hint of mockery, it boldly addresses issues of racism black communities still face, not just in college, but in the real world too. While most of these problems are exclusive to the black community, as a woman of color, I would be lying if I say that I couldn’t relate.

And I certainly wasn’t alone in feeling that way. The audience, comprised of mostly people of color, laughed, gasped and howled during the screening. After all, they were watching an exaggerated depiction of what they go through on an unfairly regular basis.

As I walked out of the auditorium, it wasn’t the free t-shirts, lip balms or one-month Netflix subscriptions that make me excited for the show’s premiere next week. It’s the fact that this show isn’t scared of anyone. If it isn’t on your must-watch list, you’re watching TV for all the wrong reasons.

“Dear White People” is live on Netflix April 28. Watch it.

Malvika Randive is a freshman writing and rhetoric major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. You can reach her at mnrandiv@syr.edu.

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