"Dear White People": Productive Conversation Starter

Lacy LangleyLife

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Dear White People is set to hit theaters on Friday, but America is already talking about the film.

Some good, some horrid.

True, those who only read the title and watch the trailer may think that this film by Justin Simien is simply another comparison of black vs. white and our respective cultural quirks.

However, for those that are willing to look a little deeper into the premise of Dear White People, there is an interesting concept that just might ignite some real conversation on the matter of not just racism, but how all of us portray ourselves to the world and how we really are inside.

Justin Simien says of Dear White People,

"We all struggle with who we are versus who we appear to be. So it was an attempt to articulate that very awkward process of moving culturally between spheres and knowing my experience is a singular one not everyone else is having around me.

"And that's part of my black experience, needing to articulate that experience but it not always feeling safe to do so. When Sam says certain things in the film, it is labeled as reverse racism and does cause some controversy. But some of those things need to be said, there's no other way to say it — 'Stop touching my hair. It's inappropriate.'"

Simien has named the directors that inspire him and his film, Dear White People, and they are a surprising mix indeed.

From the obvious, like Spike Lee or John Singleton, to the not-so-obvious, like Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Fritz Lang, it's safe to say that Simien has a seriously wide range of inspiration.

Tessa Thompson, who plays the lead as Samantha White, says the film is absolutely like no other.

"I'd never seen a project like it," said Thompson of Dear White People.

Thompson said that before she was even cast as Samantha White in Dear White People, she wrote a letter to Simien saying that whether she was cast or wasn't, she was excited to follow his voice and career.

"I didn't know what kind of life it would have, but I knew I hadn't read anything like it."

Are you excited about seeing Dear White People?

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.