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With a small number of offended white Netflix subscribers (including neo-Nazis) threatening to boycott the streaming giant—claiming its new series Dear White People is racist—showrunner/writer/director Justin Simien has responded, addressing the so-called “boycott” via his Medium page.
“Equality feels like oppression to the privileged, and thus, three benign words send them into a fight for their very existence, which happens to it actually not [being] in any real danger,” wrote the director. “This is how a minute-long date announcement becomes a distorted call for white genocide in the minds of some people. Despite all signs to the contrary.”
Dear White People—the feature film that inspired the series, released three years ago—elicited a similar response.
Simien also added a great deal of social history and commentary in his lengthy response, which included a truncated history of the word “nigger,” and a unique hostility that stems from guilt:
Scholars of the black American experience such as James Baldwin asserted that a kind of unexpressed guilt White people naturally felt over this often violent and ugly subjugation of their neighbors evolved into projections, fantasies and open hostility towards blacks. This hostility was then passed on pathologically through the generations.
Even the ‘Black Revenge Fantasy,’ itself a fantasy of white extermination at the hands of blood thirsty blacks, was crafted and spread among white people as an extension of this unexpressed guilt.
Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.