“Dear White People, the minimum requirement of black friends needed in order to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, doesn’t count,” the trailer states.
At 6 p.m. tomorrow through co-sponsorship between Residential Life and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Emporia State will host the movie “Dear White People.” The event is free and will take place in the Preston Family Room of the Memorial Union, located on the second floor.
“Dear White People” follows Samantha White, a “mixed race college student” who starts ruffling the feathers of administration and fellow students with her controversial talk show “Dear White People.” It also follows the lives of three other students, the film’s official website states.
“We want this film to be a part of a broader conversation that our students are more comfortable having,” said Paul Jacobson-Miller, assistant director of Residential Life in an interview with The Bulletin in December. “I think considering the reaction and things on social media from the (Ferguson) protests, to me that shows that we need to be having those conversations out in the open, not on Yik Yak.”
The movie was the winner of 2014 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, according to its official website, and was filmed on a college campus. Universities such as Harvard and other Ivy League colleges were able to screen the film early, which started the conversation about bringing it to ESU once it gained popularity to discuss diversity on college campuses.
“The movie isn’t supposed to be a cure-all for these issues,” said Jason Brooks, director of Diversity and Inclusion. “It’s supposed to be a conversation starter.”
On ESU’s campus, Brooks said the African American population is approximately 4.7 to 4.8 percent (300 students); the Hispanic population is over 5 percent (350 students) and the international student population is approaching 500-600 students.
“I think between our underrepresented student populations, not only by race but also by sexual orientation, we’re probably knocking at about 1,800 to 2,000 students,” Brooks said. “That’s including those who are on love and those who are physically on campus, as well. Demographically, I think Emporia State’s doing pretty well.
Brooks also said that the movie’s use of humor and the fact that it was filmed on a college campus makes it relatable to students. Most importantly, he said, the movie is working toward making ESU a more welcoming campus.
“We’re here for an education… That’s one of the things I love about working at a university – this is where conversations happen best,” Jacobson-Miller said. “You know, you go into the residence halls where people are playing Super Smash Brothers, but then also having a conversation about things that are happening in the news, what’s going on in their lives. They’re having those deep conversations while they’re having fun and so I think it’s really taking a look at our culture on this campus and what can we do to make it better.”