Me Too. Black Lives Matter. Time’s Up. These are just a few of the movements that have made their way to the forefront of the entertainment industry and are demanding some much needed attention. Shows like the Netflix satirical comedy-drama series, Dear White People, dare to confront social issues that affect POC’s, women, the LGBT community, and more in a thought-provoking way. The hand-picked cast provides a diverse approach that has successfully taken the show’s second installment into even greater topics of discussion, with the potential to educate and spark change. With that said, here’s five social issues Dear White People thankfully addressed in season 2.
1. LESBIANISM IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
One of the most unrecognized lifestyles in the black community is homosexuality. It has become a taboo subject, leaving many feeling barricaded in the closet. Although the public has become much more tolerant than in previous years, black people remain the most awkward in handling the news of their loved one’s realization. Season One of DWP cleverly made one of its main characters, Lionel Higgins, gay in order to further normalize the viewing of his sexual status, but it is still an angle we see on TV more often than not –– the image of a man bravely living his truth, whether masculine or feminine presenting. Season Two introduces Coco’s roommate’s sexuality in a rather nonchalant way. The Trini female named Kelsey casually informs, “I’m a lesbian love, gold star,” while in conversation. She is represented in a way that is typically unseen in the media –– an adorable, feminine, and bubbly girl who knows herself and is proud of who she is. DWP’s display of diversity within the gay community helps to further prove the range of individuals who are worthy of being known and recognized for their unique differences and not just their sexuality.
Another important issue that happens to affects women all across the world is abortion. While pro-lifers seek to remove the decision from us, there’s no denying that the subject is far from cut-and-dry, and deserves way more consideration than a meeting among privileged-riddled white men who could never fully understand the ramifications of such a choice.
In the same Season Two chapter as Kelsey’s reveal, Coco finds herself struggling with the discovery that she is pregnant with Troy’s baby. As she moves through her responsibilities as new found president of the on-campus group CORE, the former seemingly un-woke character, Coco, has to deal with the decision of whether or not to put her dreams on hold and raise a baby, knowing that the opportunities she’s been afforded are often non-existent to young women of color, or abort the fetus and continue her path. Knowing she doesn’t want to ultimately end up like her mother, and that the baby’s father is in no position to provide what she truly desires, she decides to take control of her life and future in what she believes is the best way for her.
Resolving the important issue of whether or not to have an abortion is hard enough and, by no means should be open to interception. It is not something that is considered a luxury to women. It is the most difficult decision in one’s life, because at the end of the day, just as Coco confessed, “I having a choice doesn’t make that choice any easier to make.” Imagine the pain of not having a say in the matter at all.
Colorism has been perpetuated since slavery days, placing lighter complexioned black people in higher positions in order to turn blacks against one another through jealousy and the perceived notion that light is closer to white. Today, colorism is more popularly known as believing that one is more appealing than the other in a number of ways. For women, this means the false idea that if you happen to be blessed with more melanin, you are rough and not as feminine. Kodak Black found himself embroiled in controversy surrounding this very topic when he revealed that he doesn’t like dark-skinned women and believes them to be “too gutta.”
Many viewers were thankful to finally see the obvious favoritism towards Sam addressed in Season Two by none other than her best friend Joelle. In spite of the fact that Sam rejected Reggie, her ex-boyfriend Gabe, and even Troy, it seems as though they can’t stop fawning over her. Although Joelle is smart, talented and stunning, her feelings for Reggie are repeatedly looked over as she struggles to get him to take her seriously. We also witnessed the issue of colorism in Season One when Coco was interested in Troy but failed to obtain his attention in its entirety as well.
With all the talk surrounding skin tone these days, what better topic is there than colorism to shed light on in a show called Dear White People?
4. AFTERMATH OF POLICE BRUTALITY
Season One ends with self-realization for some of the characters of DWP, but for Reggie Green it’s the trauma of standing face to face with the barrel of a gun. After a racist police officer points his firearm at Reggie during an on-campus party for being perceived as an outsider, despite being told by students that he was one of their own, he now suffers from PTSD.
Season Two addresses the flashbacks, fear, and anger that surfaces after a near death experience, specifically one that is the result of racial profiling. While a number of white people will never know what it is like to fear for their lives at the hands of those who are appointed to protect them, black people are trained to see law enforcement as a threat. Police brutality doesn’t only involve victims who’ve lost their lives, it encompasses the many others who were treated with great cruelty that are still alive to tell the tale and suffer the consequences of what comes next. Learning how to cope with the great injustice that has been experienced when police brutality occurs while the aggressor walks free can be one of the hardest parts, but it is a common custom in today’s society.
5. THE HIDDEN HOTEP
The term “hotep” is an Egyptian word meaning “peace,” but as we all know, one of the easiest places to hide ill-intentions is behind fancy lingo. A hotep doesn’t always make themselves known immediately, but if you’re unlucky enough to listen to one of them speak freely you’ll soon feel the burning sensation of sexist, homophobic, and non-progressive language in your ears.
In Chapter V, Joelle had the displeasure of getting wrapped up in what appeared to be a delightful relationship with a handsome “gentlemen,” but soon came to realize that she was dealing with a hotep who ended up verbally attacking her and her friends right before they came together to serve the asshole accordingly.
While pro-black and afrocentric groups strive to bring the culture together, some others seek to divide and conquer. They hide behind similar but confusing logic in order to cause chaos, which can be very dangerous for anyone who is ignorant to their overall goal but the only thing more powerful than a lie is the truth and, thankfully, DWP brought it.
In an era where entertainment is more influential than a professor is to a classroom of impressionable student, it’s good to know that there are creatives who are dedicated to producing work with ingenuity. For two seasons, Dear White People has successfully touched on a number of social issues in order to educate and further induce a progressive mind-state in every watcher. While we are unaware of whether or not the controversial show has been tapped for a season 3 by Netflix, prayers up that the students of Winchester University will live to see another semester.