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Dear White People

Hogeye's Movie Review


Nov 1, 2015
“Dear White People” is a hilarious comedy, with some seriousness about race attitudes near the end. Most of the movie is a send-up of politically correct demofascist attitudes about race, mixed with college and sex comedy, and a little light romance. The plot mainly follows two characters, a black woman video blogger and race humorist/activist named Sam, and a gay black male budding reporter named Lionel.

The serious part of the movie is disheartening. A white fraternity, along with some documentary makers and the black activist, arrange to have a blackface party at the frat house, hoping that it would be both controversial and a blast. But suddenly, Coco the black woman emcee, gets cold feet, and Lionel, quite out of character, goes absurdly PC, and squeals to the Black Caucus the terrible thing going on. At this point, I’m envisioning a happy ending, with the blacks and latinos joining the whites at the party, with everyone getting stoned and drunk and having sex together, with racial understanding and tolerance prevailing.

Darn! That didn’t happen. Instead, the blacks and minorities freaked out and became, basically, a violent mob. It was so ironic and sad that, in the end, the black students reverted to a violent nigger stereotype! Especially so, since they had an opportunity to make a wonderful non-violent anti-racist point by just joining the party, and showing the whiteys how to dance and rap. Instead they start breaking whisky bottles, destroying electronic equipment, assaulting people by pulling off masks and costumes, and knocking over furniture. In short, the activists blew it.

To me, it was implausible that the meek gay guy would do what he did. He abandoned his newspaper story, out of the blue, over a politically incorrect theme party that he knew all about and expected. Then he ran off to the Black Caucus to express horror about something that, a day before, was just a story he was working on. To me, it seemed that he’d be the last person in the world to go redneck and start violently busting bottles in a crowded party. It seemed too out of character to me.

I was disappointed in Coco for losing her nerve at the last minute, and wimping out of recording a wonderfully edgy episode of her (counter) “Dear White People” video blog. She’d gone to all that trouble to arrange the bizarre blackface affair, and wusses out! But that was believable - it was a live show, for a white audience, rather than comments recorded in her dorm room, and the party got too weird for her to handle. Fortunately, the professionals did film the blackface party and the ensuing riot footage, so in the final bit of comedic irony, the university’s bad publicity for the race riot was more than compensated for by a cut of the movie profits.


Addendum: Tina Gaston, I didn’t have the chance to answer your question about my “Dear White People” movie review. You asked what the “violent nigger stereotype” was. It is the brutal savage criminal stereotype seen by the bad guy in “Birth of a Nation,” the “drug crazed nigger” in the Reefer Madness scare, the Staggerlee of folk and blues songs, perhaps the gangster rap drug boss of today. Here’s an article about the sterotype:

“The brute caricature portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal -- deserving punishment, maybe death. This brute is a fiend, a sociopath, an anti-social menace. Black brutes are depicted as hideous, terrifying predators who target helpless victims, especially white women. Charles H. Smith (1893), writing in the 1890s, claimed, "A bad negro is the most horrible creature upon the earth, the most brutal and merciless"(p. 181). Clifton R. Breckinridge (1900), a contemporary of Smith's, said of the black race, "when it produces a brute, he is the worst and most insatiate brute that exists in human form" (p. 174).” - The Brute Caricature, Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Ferris State University.
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