by Nick Christiansen
I’m a fan of Luke Cage and I think the show is great, but I don’t understand why people are upset about the lack of white characters in the show. The show isn’t about race, it is about fighting crime within an environment that is predominantly one race. We’ve seen white superheroes fighting crime in predominantly white environments and there’s nothing wrong with that other than the fact that it’s been done so many times. Creating a black superhero in a black neighborhood is fresh and allows for a lot more unique storytelling. That’s really it and there aren’t any us vs them racial angles to begin with. Also there are some Italian looking bad guys so it’s not like there’s only black actors.
I either find Luke Cage or the short Hispanic kid from On my Block (Ruby) the most compelling. I find the short kid from On my Block very relatable because I was also very short in high school, always tried to get girls, and had a tough side. The difference with Ruby is that his toughness has a Latin flavor that is shown in the micro expressions of his face and by his swagger. Luke Cage is also a great character because his character is very understated and discreet but noble and very powerful. He’s just a good guy who gets dragged into things and has to whoop some ass in places where no one else can.
I think that Luke Cage and On the Block do great jobs of telling stories from minority perspectives in minority environments because they feel authentic in a number of ways and they have very likeable protagonists. The shows both tell a good message too; Luke Cage gets across the message that you should be humble and strive for good in the world and On my Block tells the message that kids should stick together for support in environments like highschool and that you should try to pull your friends away from gang activity.
What message does Dear White People send? Well that is very hard to say. You could argue that it sends the message that racism is a big issue on college campuses due to blackface parties, but those don’t actually happen often at all. We have to remember that we live in a huge spread out country and that there are definitely people who are racist and don’t see blacks as equals, but that isn’t representative of the whole country. Also, college campuses are very progressive in nature and are probably some of the least racist places in this country. A rural town in the south is going to be a lot more discriminatory than a hub for educated people who care about creating progress and innovation.
Dear White People is as bad and divisive as the title makes it appear. The main character is even shown to be blatantly racist when she reveals that she wrote an article about why you shouldn’t date white men; it doesn’t get any clearer than that. Also when she brings her white boyfriend (who is a big deal due to his race) to a gathering with her black group to watch a show, the white boyfriend mentions that most white people don’t support blackface parties. Now what he said is obviously true, but his words get viciously picked apart and the race card is pulled when he says, “what are you gonna do, punch me?” In context this was a normal thing to say to the guy who is being aggressive towards you regardless of his color. This makes the white character one of the only likeable main characters on the show which is hilariously ironic. The show was extremely unlikeable and the entire premise of their anger towards white people is generally unrealistic. A black face party would never happen at CSU. The only thing you could argue as being racist that happened on our campus was the putting up of “It’s ok to be white” posters which ironically were very neutral and you could even argue as being positive (but that’s a whole different story I don’t have space to elaborate on).
In the other shows, it wasn’t about race, it was about good values and being a good person in a crime filled environment. Dear White People is as misguided of a stunt as the football players who knelt during the national anthem. These football players were protesting violence against blacks by law enforcement (a good cause) but only created more bad feelings and anguish. If these black football players wanted to actually do something positive to counter this sore spot in our country and to heal, then they would have held hands with a white player during the national anthem or done something unifying instead of separating. Think about that for a second. Dear White People is seperating because it squabbles with unrealistic racial problems which results in the audience feeling a sense that there is a huge problem on college campuses when there really isn’t.