Review: Dear White People by Justin Simien & (illustrated by) Ian O’Phelan

Dear White PeopleDear White People by Justin Simien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the satirical tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like comes this witty companion book to the “incredibly entertaining” (Indiewire) film of the same name, which “heralds a fresh and funny new voice” (Variety).

Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students on a predominantly white college campus. The film, Dear White People, garnered a Sundance Award for “Breakthrough Talent” and has been hailed by critics everywhere. Channeling the sensibility of the film into this book, Simien will keep you laughing with his humorous observations, even if you haven’t seen the satiric film.

News Flash—the minimum number of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Rather than panic, readers are advised to purchase a copy of Dear White People. Whether you are a dear white person wondering why your black office mate is avoiding eye contact with you after you ran your fingers through her hair, or you’re a black nerd who has to break it to your white friends that you’ve never seen The Wire, this myth-busting, stereotype-diffusing guide to a post-Obama world has something for you!

With decision-making trees to help you decide when it’s the right time to wear Blackface (hint: probably never) and quizzes to determine whether you’ve become the Token Black Friend™, Dear White People is the ultimate silly-yet-authoritative handbook to help the curious and confused navigate racial microaggressions in their daily lives.

Based on the eponymous, award-winning film, which has been lauded as “a smart, hilarious satire,” this tongue-in-cheek guide is a must-have that anybody who is in semi-regular contact with black people can’t afford to miss!

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the movie or the show, you need no context from those to enjoy this satirical book, mainly because it has nothing to do with the stories of those. Dear White People, the book, is a series of essays, ranging from ‘Don’t touch Black People’s Hair FFS’ (I’m paraphrasing) to the personal perils of being the only Black friend in a group. It is funny, insightful, and is illustrated with stuff like quizzes, posters, algorithmic charts, etc. As a non-American PoC, I’m probably not the target audience, (it is mostly directed at how white people act, though I must say, non-BIPOC are not exempt from educating themselves, and also directed at Black folx in some parts) and sometimes the pop culture or historical references might go over your head, but that only points out how much you have to learn about.

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

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