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Intercultural life to screen ‘Dear White People’

February 27, 2015


On March 19, the Office of Intercultural Life, Wackerle Career and Leadership Center and ASAP will co-sponsor a screening of the movie “Dear White People” at 7:30 p.m. in Dahl Chapel.

Every March, the Office of Intercultural Life at Monmouth College hosts Cultural Awareness Week. The purpose of the week is to host programs that create awareness and discussion of cultural diversity in modern society.

“Our hope is to create intercultural conversations about diversity in our society,” says Ruby Pentsil-Bukari, the Director of Intercultural Life at Monmouth College.

Cultural Awareness Week gives students the opportunity to educate themselves about the values, beliefs and behaviors of different cultures, and to discuss the challenges and triumphs that our culturally diverse world creates.

The showing of “Dear White People” is the third event of the week. Written and directed by Justin Simien, this satiric drama follows the lives of four black students at an Ivy League college: Sam (Tessa Thompson), a college radio host; Lionel (Tyler James Williams), a gay nerd; Troy (Brandon P. Bell), the son of the Dean of students; and CoCo (Teyonah Parris), an aspiring actress.

The characters navigate personal and external perceptions of themselves in a way that speaks to the notion of the singular “black experience” that is tossed about in our culture. Shortly before its release in theaters, Simien stated that “it is a story about identity, and sort of the limits of identity and the artificiality of the identities that we create.”

“Dear White People” delves into a question that every college student deals with in some capacity, like “How do I survive in this place?” College is a microcosm in which one can experience the independence, adventure and reckless abandon of adulthood with only a fraction of the consequence that exists in the ‘real world.’ However, in the midst of the new and exciting opportunities of a collegiate environment, it’s easy for one to lose their sense of self.

Regardless of how strongly one identifies themselves with their cultural background, the diversity on a college campus is bound to create some self-doubt. “Dear White People” portrays the journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance as the characters struggle with their identities in regards to race, sexuality and religious orientation in a way that any college student can relate to.

If you have questions about this event or Cultural Awareness Week, contact Ruby Pentsil-Bukari at rpentsilbukari@monmouthcollege.edu.

Penny Flynn
Contributing Writer

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