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.


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.

Parenting While Black … and Middle-class on TV by Lisa B. Thompson | NewBlackMan in Exile

This review of Blackish by Lisa B. Thompson is well worth the read. As a former student of her classes, – and I mean classes, there is no one better to review our media. She has the energy, insight, and talent to find and critique most of our popular culture. Thompson’s work is guided by a serious love for her work and an insane passion for theater. Catching this review of Blackish was a gem. Thank you, Professor T.

Parenting While Black ... and Middle-class on TV by Lisa B. Thompson | NewBlackMan in Exile


This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Bill Cosby’s black middle-class family sitcom featuring Cliff and Claire Huxtable and their five brilliant, gorgeous children, once the most popular program on TV for viewers of all races. Even children today who catch episodes become instant fans. 

Unfortunately, till now, American television has yet to replace it with another show about a middle-class black family. In fact, images of black middle-class families have disappeared from the cultural landscape, reinforcing false notions only one authentic black experience. 

Lisa B. Thompson is the author of Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class and the play Single Black Female. She is an associate professor of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin where she is an OpEd Project Public Voices fellow. Follow her on Twitter @playprof. #OYRchallenge

via Parenting While Black … and Middle-class on TV by Lisa B. Thompson | NewBlackMan in Exile.

HawthoRNe: A Eulogy


The 2009 TNT television series, HawthoRNe, produced by and starring Jada Pinkett-Smith, advances the African American perspective beyond the slapstick connection to the arts. Hawthorne’s interconnected vignettes of hospital politics and healthcare issues include an eye into the characteristics of race and class from the African-American perspective. Nurse Hawthorne, portrayed by Jada Pinkett-Smith, seamlessly utilizes unconventional methodologies to combat preconceptions of African American responses to medical care, as well as reality-based scenarios of doctor, nurse, and patient relationships. Just as NBC’s 1984 to 1992 Cosby Show depicted an upper-middle class African-American identity contrary to public opinion, Hawthorne accentuates the resourcefulness and wholeness of the African American in a professional environment. The same can be said for ABC’s Lincoln Heights and its collective drama of complete family values. Nicki Micheaux’s nurse, however, does not connect with the professionalism of the nursing profession as does Pinkett-Smith.  

In the premiere episode, head administrative nurse HawthoRNe confronts a suicidal jumper, an arrogant doctor, an indigent mother (with a newborn); and referees challenges between her nursing staff and the other hospital actors. All of this in one day at the hospital. If you have ever had a doctor try to insert an IV in your vein, only then can you appreciate the skill of nurses in the hospital environment. They are the catch all, and Pinkett-Smith captures these qualities (sometimes to excess).

Nurse Hawthorne also contends with the one year anniversary of the death of her husband, a teen-aged daughter, and an antagonistic Caucasian mother-in-law. If we thought that race does not matter, Hawthorne’s start toward the realization of the African-American worldview within the African American network of life, denotes subtle inconsistencies between professionals, pedestrians and how they perceive life between the spaces we have manufactured for them. Pinkett-Smith navigates these waters with grace which may seem close to neutral in this series. The relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law did evolve into healing as the series progressed.

Pinkett-Smith’s character needed to be strengthened, yet the loss of pertinent social commentary, outside of comedy, was a great loss. Hopefully the Smiths will use this experience as a stepping stone to something more.