Why did I name it “Dear White People?”
Justin Simien
1K106

I haven’t seen the movie, although I will now after reading this. As a white person, I suppose my initial reaction to the title is the same reaction I’ve had to all of the trends you listed (Shit White Girls Say, What White People Like, etc.): lumping everyone of a certain skin color together is a mistake. I don’t take offense, or find it to be racist against whites, but I don’t think it adds to the conversation to lump together a wide-variety of people whose only shared characteristic being skin color when one of the issues regarding racism is the generalization of black people as a cohesive unit (i.e. if a black person commits a crime, therefore all black people are criminals, which unfortunately is how many ignorant white people see it). A movie addressing all white people to get across a message is fine, and I can respect its usage because even the most enlightened of us pale-skin folk need a reminder of our privilege now and then. But labeling articles “Shit White People/Girls Say” or “Weird Things Only White People Do” is contributing to the backlash from conservative, terrified white people afraid of losing their supremacy (they see it as offensive, and unfortunately, although many such things are meant as humorous, they can be offensive. Insulting people, even the privileged, is wrong). The title of your movie versus the trends you referenced are for me two very different issues, and I’m sorry you’ve faced such vicious and frankly disgusting backlash. I am appalled at those people’s behavior whenever I read an article like this or see a movie like yours, representing a black (or other minority) experience. Black face parties, the tweets people sent you, this boycott of Netflix over the title of a series that shows the racial divide in America . . .

Long story short, I can’t do anything about my skin color or privilege any more than you can change yours or lack thereof. I won’t be ashamed of being white, but I sure as hell am ashamed to have anything in common with those people partying in black face, writing nasty tweets, or generally being racist assholes.

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