The movie Dear White People hit select cities’ theaters last weekend and opens nationwide this weekend. They have done a lot of guerrilla style marketing and mainly used social media to promote the film and reach their target audience. Not only is that a brilliant low-cost strategy, but it’s also probably a glimpse into what we can expect in the future.
As part of their promotion efforts, they recently released a short video called Racism Insurance: Coverage for White Privilege. The tagline says: Covers everything but the N-word. Ha!
In the promo video, a clueless white man spews racist comments—”You are so hot, and I’m not into Black girls, like at all”—at various Black people who all react with stank faces and what did you just say attitudes. Giving a shout out to the State Farm Insurance commercials where an agent suddenly appears and rescues drivers from terrible situations; Racism Insurance kicks in just as things are going south and the white man summons a Black dude by saying, “Ooops, I was racist, Black guy, come here.” All of a sudden a Black dude, a magical Negro if you will, appears and is able to translate, interpret, and defuse the situation.
It’s pretty perfect.
Discussions about white privilege are finally and deservedly being inserted into mainstream discussions. Jon Stewart recently challenged Bill O’Reilly to acknowledge that white privilege even existed. He reluctantly did. These conversations are a good thing because it forces white people to check themselves and how they look at the world. Also, it proves that Black people (and people of color) aren’t cray and we aren’t making this ‘racism’ stuff up just so we can sail through life.
And yes leaning on stereotypes about Black people (and people of color) falls under the racist spectrum.
The video also does some tongue and cheek checking about how Black people act in terms of what words we can say vs. what we won’t “allow” white people to say.
Again, it’s pretty perfect.
It’s on time, fresh, and real. And even though it’s using humor and satire, there is a truth behind it that continues to push the white privilege conversation forward. Here’s hoping that things like this can produce a dialogue and then get us towards some real solutions and actual policy changes.
Check out the video below.
Were you able to see Dear White People? If so, what were your thoughts? Do you plan to go this weekend?
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.