Dear White People is More Smart and Righteous Than Funny

Dear White People

Simien’s created an opportunity for himself rarely granted to a person of color in Hollywood: the chance to criticize and expose racism almost entirely on his own terms. (The film gained steam via a successful Indiegogo campaign). Watching Dear White People, I got the sense that he’s putting it all out there now, because who knows when the next chance will come? I applaud him for his honesty; Dear White People will certainly succeed in provoking an honest dialogue about race in the here and now. But Lee was able to do the same with Do the Right Thing without sacrificing consistent storytelling in the process. He melded didacticism (Radio Raheem’s “Love and Hate” speech) with theatricality (the repeating mantra of “Wake Up!”) and naturalistic, loose, funny conversations among characters. I nodded my head in agreement many times while watching Dear White People, but I can’t say I was ever truly compelled by the story it tells.

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