In season 2, Dear White People takes on trauma and the internet

In April 2017, when the first season of Netflix's acclaimed Dear White People was released, many critics and viewers commented on how "timely" it was. After all, the half-hour series – which explored topics such as racism, black identity and the myth of "post-racial" society – debuted just a few months after Donald Trump took office. The second season, which premiered on Friday, May 4, focuses mainly on the resurgence of white supremacists, right-wing trolls on the Internet and the psychological effects of racial trauma. Surely it will be announced as soon as possible, if not more. But the "timely" description also seems a bit easy: when did not these issues have been timely within the black community?

Created by Justin Simien and based on his own film of the same name from 2014 (some actors even repeat their roles), the series Dear White People successfully extracts laughter and introspection from subjects that are not usually Not prominent on television, especially as long story arcs. The first season was a delight, surrounding students at Winchester University as the biracial radio presenter Sam (Logan Browning), his equally attractive but often relegated to his best friend, Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson), the smart and charming activist Reggie (Mark Richardson), gay introvert and journalist Lionel (DeRon Horton) and Troy (Brandon P. Bell), the dean's son who ends up frustratingly breaking a glass door with a shovel.

Dear White People resonates because he is adept at finding those little moments that feel like jokes to black viewers, and the ways we use humor to cope with life in a less than cozy country. In a transparent way he presented the microagressions that come along with being the "only" in the classroom, the alienation of being a black student in a predominantly white university, the works of black activism and the push and pull of multiple worlds astride at one time . His long bow looked at boiling racial tensions on campus after a black-faced party, and a major and heartbreaking turning point occurs in "Chapter V," when a white campus security officer pointed to Reggie at a party. The officer did not believe that Reggie could be a student, regardless of the claims of partygoers, while students were surprised that campus security even carried firearms. However, they were not surprised at how easily and quickly the gun was fired.

The conflicts finally reach a critical point at the end of the season, during a town hall meeting (naively held as an attempt to defuse racial tensions on campus) and a simultaneous protest. Season 2 reveals that there was a fire in the dormitory during the protest and it was supposed to be a riot "because, you know, the black people were involved," explains Giancarlo Esposito dryly, as the anonymous narrator of the series. The students of that dormitory move to the black house of Winchester, Armstrong / Parker, and this integration becomes one of the focal points of the new season.

The premiere of Season 2 takes place just two weeks after the protest (and about three weeks after the Reggie incident). The campus wound is still open, allowing writers to probe the minds of students while they are still processing. Their emotions around the event are still raw, still simmering on the surface, and for some, they still mentally reproduce over and over again, as they try to find a different and better ending. The approach allows a deeper examination of past events, but also allows the creators of Dear White People to correct some minor mistakes of the first season.





Tyler Golden / Netflix

For example, although "Chapter V" introduced the necessary subject of police brutality through Reggie's ordeal with the campus police, the remaining episodes of the season did not explore the repercussions internal as much as they could. We got a broader picture: impacted students, predictable debates and the domino effect on top executives (and prominent donors) from Winchester, culminating in the town hall meeting, but the show only briefly, slightly touched on how exactly this dug into the Reggie's psyche. Okay, the season had a lot packaged (there's also a similar problem at play this time) and there's certainly something to be said about how the trauma sneaks up on people long after the inciting event. But the brief initial presentation of the series remained a concern.

In the second episode of this season, "Chapter II", focusing on Reggie (many of the episodes shine individual focuses on the characters), Dear White People begins to delve into the psychological ramifications of trauma race specific Throughout the episode, I thought about Jenna Wortham's 2015 interview New York Times with psychologist Monnica Williams about "traumatic stress injuries based on race or emotional distress a person may feel after suffer harassment or racial harassment. " This "link between racism and post-traumatic stress disorder" felt immediately familiar, and its symptoms (which Williams says include depression, intrusive thoughts, anger, avoidance and more) accurately describe the consequences of not being "directly targeted by the racial discrimination "or aggression", but also seeing it secondhand on social networks.





Adam Rose / Netflix

In "Chapter II" it is clear that Reggie is experiencing this PTSD based on race, and ] Dear White People shows him with intelligence Reggie has to undergo compulsory counseling, but as he ironically points out, the school should have given the security guard a psychiatrist instead, throughout the episode, Reggie (played brilliantly by the talented and charismatic Richardson) continues to deal with his trauma, suffering nightmares, having memories and, sometimes, having difficulty controlling He can not escape from that; students pity him regularly or tell exaggerated versions of the story that make Reggie feel even smaller.

At the same time, some of Reggie's friends are dealing with similar problems. Troy, back on campus after experiencing what it feels like to be thrown into the back of a patrol car, does not seem to have been prosecuted either. Instead, he deals with his identity. As the narrator says, it has gone from being "good to good for nothing". Before the protest, many of Troy's conflicts were rooted in trying to strike the line of being black while trying to "disarm the white people". the pressure of his father, the dean of the university, did not help much.) Now, he says, "mine will not trust me". As Reggie says, he is basically "the black in a white comedy". This season, Troy can not understand where he belongs: he is no longer seen as the president of the student body of nice people, he is the black guy who pulled out a Mookie. And he has never really committed himself to any image.

Finding out his next moves on campus includes a bit of trial and error, but his identity crisis manifests itself mainly in a lot of drinking, drugs and sex, activities that also attracts Reggie, since Reggie is on his own mission to numb your brain.





Tyler Golden / Netflix

Meanwhile, Sam spends much of the season facing his own racial trauma: an ongoing troll nicknamed "AltIvyW", attacking Sam on a social network cloned by Twitter. The comments of AltIvyW are the typical racist abuse of social networks: say that Sam only entered Winchester due to affirmative action, commenting on the crime black on black, refusing to identify because of the rush of black people towards violence , personal insults about Sam's biracial identity. The harassment also expands to IRL: someone leaves a bunch of bananas on the door of Sam's bedroom with "bitch" written on them.

Sam becomes obsessed with fighting the troll, losing entire nights – even on weekends – to sit on the same clothes, drinking energy drinks, and clapping on Pseudo-Twitter for hours. Friends warn him not to take the bait, but it seems Sam does not shy away from hurtful comments. "Something has changed," he explains to Joelle. "Logic, reason, speech: it is outside the window". Since the protest and, of course, since the actual election of 2016, these racist trolls have become more emboldened, open and confident. Just as we are dealing with the emergence of real-life alt-right personalities and impossible-to-use Twitter accounts, The Dear White characters are in similar territory, so much so that a rival radio show called "Dear" Right People "appears in the series, with its participants repeating conservative audio grills.

As Monnica Williams mentioned, stress based on race can also be the result of witnessing racism on social networks, from watching obsessively videos of police brutality to racist comments that flood your Twitter account.In the case of Sam, she is being specifically attacked, to the point where the attacks are affecting her daily life and her academic performance.

In season 2 of Dear White People the narrator has a recurring refrain: "Look closely." One of the longest bows of the season is a mystery centered on n Lionel's investigation of secret societies on campus, and the racism that has plagued the campus throughout history, so both the public and the characters in the program should closely observe the clues that have been omitted. But it seems that in season 2, the creators were smart enough to take their own advice, by looking closely at the internal conflicts of their characters. One criticism of season 1 was his treatment of Joelle, who fell into the trope of a dark-skinned woman who rarely rises above the status of buddy among her best light-skinned friends. Season 2 allows her to slowly become a true co-star, giving Joelle her own stellar episode and stories. Coco (Antoinette Robertson) also has highlights that force her to look more closely at her life and her desires.

There are still some concerns in season 2, like the first season, it contains too much information and plot in 10 episodes (although that may be preferable to lengthen it in a longer season). The arch of the secret societies does not always work and, sometimes, it is in disagreement with the rest of the plots. In general, the second season is not as consistent as it could be. But even the disorder of the series is endearing. It's a stimulus to listen to that narration, to see it all again … this time to look even closer.

The second season of 10 episodes of Dear White People is now broadcasting on Netflix ].