Teaching Students About “Dear White People”
“Dear White People” is a satirical drama-comedy film and television series that explores the experiences of Black students at a predominantly white college. It delves into topics like racial discrimination, social injustice, and identity. Teaching students about “Dear White People” can be an excellent way to initiate conversations on race and inequality in our society.
Background and Context
“Dear White People” was first introduced as a 2014 film directed by Justin Simien. The story revolves around a group of Black students attending the fictional Winchester University, an elite, predominantly white institution. In 2017, it was adapted into a Netflix TV series with the same name, further expanding on the characters and storylines.
The series investigates various aspects of racial tension, microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and institutional racism. Educators can use “Dear White People” as a tool to engage students in discussions about diversity, societal challenges, and the importance of empathy.
1. To help students understand and analyze the characters’ experiences of racial bias, privilege, and discrimination.
2. To encourage students to think critically about their own experiences or observations relating to race.
3. To facilitate meaningful conversations around race and identity.
1. Audio-Visual Aid: Utilize episodes from “Dear White People” as a visual aid in your lesson plan. This can make the topic more engaging for your students by using relatable examples from popular media.
2. Group Discussions: Organize small group discussions where students can share their thoughts on the series’ themes or their own experiences regarding race relations.
3. Debate Session: Organize a debate session on specific issues raised in “Dear White People,” such as affirmative action or cultural appropriation.
4. Writing Assignment: Assign your students to write an essay reflecting on how the show relates to their personal lives or experiences and how it adds to their understanding of race issues.
5. Guest Speakers: Invite professions who work on race relations, diversity training, or cultural awareness as guest speakers to discuss their experiences and insights.
Assess your students’ understanding of the topics discussed through written assignments, classroom discussions, and their participation in debates. Remember that learning about race and biases is a continuous process, and the goal is to spark ongoing conversations and self-reflection among students.
“Dear White People” tackles complex issues surrounding race relations in contemporary society. Teaching students about the show can open up fruitful discussions on challenging topics that are essential for promoting inclusivity, understanding, and empathy. Implementing these lesson strategies can provide a solid starting point for addressing race-related topics in your classroom.