Dear White People

‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae

“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”

Dear White People

You’ve heard or heard of statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.

Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.

As a returning African American and retired Systems Engineer student, after 20 years absence from academia, these microaggressions, not only by whites but surprisingly from other African American professors, raised my blood pressure. The first two weeks with an unfamiliar professor was a tight rope walk between maintaining respect for their proficiency and battling their cultural and class ignorance.

I must add to the author’s short list of microaggressions with these.

The patronizing African American father,
“I know your struggle. We were so poor…”

First day of class,
“You might want to take an easier class.”

The Master’s research meeting,
“We may want to refer to … for more information on the local drug scene, street life, …”

Your eyes bulge, but hopefully not enough to be that one person every African American does not want to stereotype at these venues. The Angry Black Woman or Man. So you recline, count the hours until you can make a hasty retreat, count up how much you are spending for this abuse, open your books at night and push the demons away to let in empirical evidence that this is all not a waste of time. This article places the response to these microaggressions better than I ever could.

“The greatest microaggression, some say, is that they feel unable to express their displeasure. That’s because they don’t want to be perceived as “angry” people of color who constantly play “the race card.” A few others say they’ve learned not to get angry or paranoid: Microaggressions, they say, reflect the flaws of the people dishing them out. Better to invest their time and energy on working on things they can change.”

In business, there is the option of consulting attorneys in the worse cases. Academia does not afford students this option. Students are locked in by a financial and personal investment. These perpetrators know this and find no need to leash their ill-behaviors.

The article points to a book, a supplement to the film “Dear White People,” “Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America,” which hopefully all academic professionals and students will absorb. If they cannot find the time, there is also a chart or shortlist to guide them through their internal war with their past and present demons toward a more cultured future.

via ‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae.

Link to Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America  by Justin Simien, Ian O’Phelan on Amazon.com

Book_DearWhite People

Racism Insurance: Coverage for White Privilege – YouTube

Racism Insurance: Coverage for White Privilege – YouTube.

See “Dear White People” opened nationwide on  October 24, 2014.

‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism | #OYRchallenge

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe interviews 31-year-old writer-director Justin Simien on his journey to produce “Dear White People” due to hit nationwide theaters on October 24, 2014. Already, the film’s various samplings circulating social media is causing the necessary buzz to go blockbuster. But is this all buzz and no bear? We’ll see next week.

Excerpt:

When you’re writing and directing a satire like Dear White People, how do you blend narrative content and social commentary so that they effectively inform one another?

For me, the thing that I always try to do is to decide very early on what it is the movie’s about at its core. If a scene that says a bunch of things I want it to say can’t hang on the core of the film, then it doesn’t belong there. For me, I felt like the film was really just about the conflict between a person’s identity and their true selves. Everything that happened in a scene has to hang on that conflict and specifically has to hang on that conflict in relation to the arc of the four main characters.

via ‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism.

Dear White People and the Myth of the Post-Race College Campus | NewBlackMan in Exile | #OYRchallenge

Dear White People and the Myth of the Post-Race College Campus | NewBlackMan in Exile

In this comprehensive review of Justin Simien’s first film “Dear White People,” published in “NewBlackMan (in Exile)”, Stephane Dunn teases out the academic and cultural notations guiding this redress on post-racialism. The film’s production and acceptance by the viewing public stands as a step forward in the overt race conversation. The title alone, in earlier years and still today, would have whites and fearful Blacks running the other way. Yet, “Dear White People” is making its rounds in theaters across the United States. Progress at least among some populations.

Excerpt:

Dear White People doesn’t merely copy or recycle still relevant cultural critiques about the racist imagery that infuses film and American culture though Simien certainly traverses some familiar ground – racialized representations in pop culture and warring notions of black authenticity, brought up to date with Aaron McGruder-like Boondock boldness. Dear White People adds its own chapter taking on ‘post-racial’ – ‘post-black’ contemporary discourses. However, that and title aside, its concern is with a range of competing social identities, particularly class and sexuality and the intersection of these with race. Race is as much a device as key theme.- Stephane Dunn

Similar to Ferguson, Missouri’s recent protest in the murder of Michael Brown, among other young Black men and women, some in the African American community sit astraddle the discussion of race. Our scholars and young are eager for the discussion to expand beyond academic discourse. The older and fearful or ‘conservative’ wait to mingle among the crowds that gather or recline – if a spark is not ignited. The mixed bag is historic and similar to any community. Still this historic step forward does not require the total capitulation of the African American community. The mere progress of this film speaks for itself.

Read this review. See the film. Then, bring this conversation of race and identity to your dinner table, clubs, and communities.


via Dear White People and the Myth of the Post-Race College Campus | NewBlackMan in Exile.

Racial attitudes are put under the microscope in satirical ‘Dear White People’ | 107.5 WBLS – Your #1 Source for R&B

The film follows four black students at a fictional Ivy League campus, where racial tensions have reached a boiling point over the party.But for star Tyler James Williams, his biggest problem was his hair.

The actor/rapper, 22, says he wishes he had the script earlier so he would have had time to grow out his character’s Afro. He instead had to sport an uncomfortable weave that he yanked out of his hair one morning.“Then a big patch was missing, so a wig got involved,” Williams tells The News. “It was a low point in my life.”

via Racial attitudes are put under the microscope in satirical ‘Dear White People’ | 107.5 WBLS – Your #1 Source for R&B.

Dear White People – In Theaters October 17 | #OYRchallenge

IN THEATERS OCTOBER 17

Best Picture Winner at the San Francisco Film Festival

Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival

Now coming to theaters near you on October 17, 2014

via Dear White People – In Theaters October 17.

Official Trailer for ‘Dear White People’ Movie – Urban Cusp

The film, written and directed by Justin Simien, is a satirical film about being a black face in a white place.  According to the official Facebook page for the film, “Dear White People follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in ‘post-racial’ America, while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.” #OYRchallenge

via Official Trailer for ‘Dear White People’ Movie – Urban Cusp.#OYRchallenge

This Perfect Poster Is ‘Dear White People’ in a Nutshell | Vulture #OYRchallenge

Dear White People opens on Friday, October 17, 2014. This fan and architect, Nikkolas Smith, created this poster after previewing the film. Can’t Wait!Dear White People | Film

This Perfect Poster Is Dear White People in a Nutshell.

The new, official poster for Dear White People is terrific (and debuting exclusively on Vulture), but the story behind it is even better. A Sundance Award–winning satire about racial issues flaring up at a prestigious university, Dear White People was financed in part by thousands of people who contributed through a crowd-funding drive — so how perfect is it that this poster was made by a fan, too?

Dancing to the tune of whiteness?

Dancing to the tune of whiteness?.

Of all the responses written to the Gillian Schutte article, this one seemed to hit the theme straight on. We as Africans are still eavesdropping on a conversation we must abide, and an argument we should bow out gracefully. It is time for people to heal their own communities and stop tripping over the offenses of the Other. There will be centuries before we stop hearing the weeping, “But I am not racist. I spent good money on MC Hammer tickets.”

Instead of interrogating the validity of the social issues raised by Schutte, the bigots chose to defend atrocious white behaviour and attitudes towards indigenous Africans while creating distractions that deviate from engaging with the core issues.

This they do by innuendos and threats, and by questioning Schutte’s legitimacy to speak her truth; to recognise whiteness, to openly point out and criticise such inhumane patterns that violate human rights and dignity.

But this is nothing new when it comes to whiteness responding to its own pathology. What we also witnessed was that they were not alone in questioning Schutte’s legitimacy; by their sides, a collective of co-opted black South Africans — including so-called “born-free” blacks — made similar accusations.

By association they then get pulled into this apartheid-styled tactic that racists use to prevent people from engaging in a genuine social dialogue that can help South Africa address the power dynamics of racism and social inequalities.