Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dear White People...Get a Grip!

Hello, 59-year-old white woman here...

Apparently there is a huge new controversy about a TV show debuting in a couple of months on Netflix, a show based on the 2014 indie film "Dear White People."

Now I saw the movie and am looking forward to the TV series (though I'm not so sure it will be as effective without Tessa Thompson in the lead: she had the perfect comic snarkiness for the role). Frankly, I loved the movie. It was very funny and at the same time a pretty important values lesson. It's not a "comfortable" movie; it's not supposed to be. It's about racism in America in what was alleged to be a "post-racial" era (2014, during Obama's Presidency). The main character, the ironically named Sam White, has a radio show on the college station during which she makes such pronouncements as "Dear white people, this just in: Dating a black person to piss off your parents is a form of racism." Her comments are generally humorous but always within her snark there is an element of anger: why at this time in history do I still need to tell you people this stuff?

In the trailer for the TV show, Sam calls out frat partiers dressing in blackface, which were the actual events that stimulated the movie in the first place. In this Trumpian era, when the KKK and neo-Nazis have somehow been elevated into the mainstream, when we can already see civil rights being rolled back for immigrants and LGBT+ people by Presidential fiat, when our nation's public schools are now under the control of someone whose goal is to make them more Godly (sounds great for minority students who don't fit within the fundamentalist Christian mainstream, doesn't it?), when we've followed the most diverse cabinet ever with the least diverse one in several Presidencies, when the majority of white America truly does not understand why a movement like BLM is needed and thinks it is some kind of domestic terrorist thing...when it is 2017 and we are seemingly more divided into a "white America" and a "black America" than we've been in God, why would we NOT need a show like this?

Just look at the response from the right to the show's very existence: there is actually a movement to #boycottNetflix because of it! Because of a paid streaming network's television program, one that most of the country doesn't even have access to and those with access may never have even known about, let alone watched. (Now, of course, with the controversy, the right ironically has guaranteed better ratings for the show.) All of which leads to the simple and obvious question: WHY? What causes such an emotional and outsized response? What is the right afraid of? If the show's depiction of white people is so incredibly wrong, it should sink under its own misinformed weight, shouldn't it? Or are they afraid that the show is actually revealing an ugly truth that they'd really just rather not talk about?

You know what? We need to talk about this truth. We need to talk about why race relations in this country are so totally screwed up. We need to talk about why, the second a black man was elected President, it so freaked out the white establishment that they decided to abandon any pretense of governing and make limiting him to a single term their one and only agenda. Not only that, but a significant part of the country joined them in feeling this way. Why? For all the "post-racial" talk, we quickly learned that what we actually had was a country in which racism simmered just below the surface and had, perhaps for decades, been waiting for something to cause it to boil over. Well, it's boiling over, people. And if a satire like "Dear White People" can help us to examine it, GOOD! Because something definitely needs to help us. We don't seem to be doing it on our own.
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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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