Dear White People TV series is Netflix’s adaptation of Justin Simien’s 2014 critically acclaimed film of the same name. In some ways it is both a continuation of the source material and a radical departure. The original film’s satirical portrayal of race relations and black identity at the fictional Ivy League school Winchester University followed a group of black students, led by Samantha White (Tessa Thompson), and a budding campaign against the predominantly white humor magazine Pastiche that culminates in a blackface party and small-time race riot.
The TV series picks up where the movie left off, with the first four episodes of the show reconstructing the party and backlash that ended the film, and begin a story on a campus — and within a racial climate — that’s much different than the one viewers last saw in the movie.
The larger goal of the show appears to be to emphasize how the grievances of black students on majority-white elite campuses are often discounted, manipulated, or ignored by the administration. The series succeeded in highlighting the imperfections in the strategies students use to cope with identity politics, and the challenges that will likely stay with them once they leave the campus.