Netflix boycott due to “Dear White People” reinforces the importance of upcoming television adaptation


Hey Netflix, by now you must have noticed the intense backlash that has been generated from the trailer to the upcoming series based on Justin Simien’s independent smash Dear White People.

I would hate for you to react in the wrong way to this controversy and put your business and product at jeopardy.

With hundreds of people cancelling their subscriptions in response to a 30-second trailer telling them blackface is not okay and supposedly promoting “white genocide,” I would like to commend you for several reasons.

You’re sticking by your product and not caving into the demands of a baying, ignorant mob that feels threatened by a minority-focused entertainment product cropping into their binge-watching haven.

You’re proving how necessary a show that questions the “post-racist” era actually is, when the mere suggestion that “we aren’t there yet” can get such vehement and prejudiced response.

And, because it has barely been mentioned by most of the coverage for this faux-controversy, you’re supporting independent filmmakers and bringing them to a wider audience, give or take a few reactionary users who think their nine dollars a month means they have a say in what shows get made.

As ridiculous as this has gotten, it goes without saying that you have no agenda in making Dear White People.

You aren’t “race baiting” or “virtue signaling” or other neo-conservative buzzwords that seem to appear whenever something non-white and critical gets brought up.

You are a business who saw the recent financial potential in television that addressed issues of race and black identity, such as the recent hits Black-ish, Atlanta, American Crime Story, Queen Sugar and ironically your own Luke Cage (one that stayed off any backlash by virtue of being a comic book franchise).

It seems your audience enjoys black entertainment as long as it remains non-confrontational. Here is a show that’s only real statement regarding race so far is shaming people who wear blackface and the collective outrage machine that is the internet went into hysterics.

It seems, Netflix, that they had thought that pointing out that the racial divide is still a very real thing was somehow substantiating it and not working towards eroding it, as if calling something out as racist or bigoted, in their topsy-turvy perspective, was the real racism here.

Your trailer on YouTube is currently crawling with actual and well-liked comments like: “blacks doing what they do best: complain” and “this is what you get for years of trying to be sensitive to blacks. Every inch you give they take a mile” — and somehow it’s just the trailer that is causing this!

But you still saw potential in Simien’s 2014 film of the same title, Netflix, and I applaud you for making the perfect snare that has exposed so much pronounced and indefensible racist opinions.

So what if they are cancelling their accounts? They will be back for Daredevil and Orange is the New Black. Probably not for The Get-Down, though.

Who cares if the people who need this show the most won’t watch it? Most likely none of them saw the film, which would have put this entire thing into context.

They can’t be convinced and would rather shut out the opposing opinion completely by deleting their accounts and feeling proud about themselves because of it.

Netflix, please continue to support Dear White People and other diverse content for your platform. The backlash created by it justifies the endeavor completely.

Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.