The Episode Of ‘Dear White People’ Everyone Needs To Watch
Just like the 2014 movie that originated its story, Netflix's new series "Dear White People" includes one shocking, all-too-real event everyone who watched the show is going to be talking about.
In the original movie, that event was the college blackface party; in the new show, it's an incredibly tense moment of racial profiling by a campus cop.
Though many of the lead roles have been recast from the movie, the new Netflix series can be best described as a continuation of the film, which ended with the black students at the heavily white Winchester College crashing an offensive party thrown by the campus humor magazine featuring white partygoers in blackface.
In the aftermath of the party, the first few episodes of Netflix's "Dear White People" show us how our main characters are coping and continuing to struggle with racial tensions on campus -- the outspoken activist Sam is ashamed to reveal she's dating a white man, shy reporter Lionel comes to terms with his sexuality and student body president candidate Troy is forced to swallow his convictions in order to get elected.
But the episode that really takes your breath away is episode 5 — the best of the entire first season.
In it, we follow Reggie, a black student whose outspoken activism is matched in fervor only by Sam. While at a house party, Reggie asks his white friend not to use the N-word when singing along to a song that's playing.
It's one of those intricate, racially-coded instances that the characters grapple with constantly, and the situation erupts into a fight.
But then, things get real. Two campus security guards barge into the house, and one asks to see Reggie's student ID. Reggie asks why they only need to see his ID, and amid a room full of partygoers confirming that Reggie is a student, the campus cop pulls a gun on him.
Immediately, the room falls silent, and it finally sinks in for everyone that the debates and protests they've engaged in on campus pale in front of an actual, life-threatening instance of racism playing out right in front of them.
Reggie's hand shakes and his breathing becomes heavy as he slowly hands his ID over, still at gunpoint. In an absolutely crushing scene, the episode ends with Reggie breaking down into tears on his dorm room floor as Sam pleads for him to fight back from the other side of the door.
One of the reasons episode 5 is so heart-wrenchingly poignant is because it was directed by Barry Jenkins, the man behind the recent Best Picture winner "Moonlight." It's also an incredibly timely issue, since police profiling of black men and women continues to cause protests and debate.
So before you click play on episode 5 of "Dear White People," be sure to have a box of tissues ready.