Dear White People

TV review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dear White People TV Poster Image
College is complicated in series on race, sex, activism.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Students speak out against the racist climate on their college campus. A character exposes the undercurrent of racism by breaking into an organization's Facebook account and sending a blackface party invitation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

An African-American female student admits to breaking into the Facebook account of a group in a subversive effort to expose the racist climate on campus. This character also has a romantic relationship with a white male. At first, she hesitates to make either the break-in or the relationship public, fearing retribution. But she follows her heart and speaks the truth of who she is socially and personally. Some ambiguity among some characters. There's some negative stereotyping, infighting, and personal attacks among people in the groups working together against racism.

Violence

Some characters crash a blackface party where there's obvious racism and the potential threat of violence. Brief discussion between a white male character and an African-American male character about getting into a fight.

Sex

Multiple discussions related to the college campus casual sex hookup culture. At least one scene of full-frontal nudity of a woman. One girl talks jokingly about another girl "going down" on a guy. A scene depicts two characters obviously having sex in bed, but no sensitive nudity shown. Three characters discuss having fluid sexuality and start planning a threesome but are interrupted. A character listens in on his roommate having loud sex in the next room; the same character is implied to be masturbating, although only his face is shown. A student has sex with a professor who's wearing only lingerie under a coat in a boathouse. Reference to "makeup sex." A couple has sex in a car. A group of students on campus gets together weekly to watch a popular television series; one scene that they're watching shows a male president telling a female staffer that her job is to "blow" him.

Language

Frequent swearing including "s--t," "motherf---er," "f--k," "ass," "dick," "p---y," "bitch," the "N" word, and other racist and sexist words.

Consumerism

Consumer and media brands mentioned in the first episode: McDonald's, Forever 21, Game of Thrones.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

College party scenes with excessive drinking shown throughout the series. One character asks another for urine to help him pass a drug test. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dear White People is a drama/comedy that tackles the issues of race, class, and gender on college campuses. Set on a fictitious Ivy League college campus, the show uses humor mixed with serious discussions about tough topics to address real-life, current events. The series' main character is a student named Samantha who is a campus radio personality with her show Dear White People. When her show gets backlash from the popular student satirical publication, she sets out to expose the racism in its ranks. Dear White People also portrays the realities of the college party and hookup cultures, as well as social media's influence on college students' reputations. There's a lot of talk about (and scenes of) sex, including full-frontal nudity of a woman and a student having an affair with a professor. There is also lots of language (including "s--t," "motherf---er," "f--k," "ass," "dick," "p---y," "bitch," and the "N" word) and some disturbing scenes of racism and misogyny at a blackface party as well as on a television show watched by a group of students.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMichelle R. April 28, 2017

Mislead-this is for adults, if that!

I got on this website specifically to check out this review before watching with my 18 year old high school srnior. I was flabbergasted at all the sex! 4 scenes... Continue reading
Adult Written byBlackwmn22 July 24, 2018

Get Ready for a Rollercoaster ..of Emotions?

By rollercoaster I mean that this show is all over the place. (Im a 22 year old college student, and watched all of season 1 and 2 ) One show I'm like... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLildivaty100 May 8, 2017

Educational

This is extremely educational, and is a valuable necessity to all black people and all white people.
Teen, 14 years old Written byNotObsessedHeh February 12, 2018

It contains nudity, Innuendos and very mature themes.

By episode 2 you see a girls lady bits and before that you see some umm... questionable sex scenes. On top of that the entire series has themes some young child... Continue reading

What's the story?

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is set on an Ivy League college campus where racism is felt by the minority students and ignored by others. The series' main character is a student named Samantha who is a campus radio personality and leader of an African-American student group. Samantha's radio show, Dear White People, gets backlash from the popular student satirical publication Pastiche (think Harvard's Lampoon), so she sets out to expose the racism in Pastiche's ranks. When it's exposed that she broke into Pastiche's Facebook account to send a blackface party invitation -- and that she has a "secret white bae" -- Samantha is caught in the middle of her political, social, and personal worlds.

Is it any good?

For older teens not yet in college (and adults long out of college), this show offers a look at the modern realities of life for many college students. The main characters find themselves embroiled in some serious issues of racism, sexual politics, ethics, and social justice activism, all while their social media feeds are constantly updating them on what other people think about what they do and say.

Samantha, the host of the campus radio show Dear White People and head of an African-American student group, is a particularly thought-provoking character. She tries to hide a "hookup" relationship with a white male teacher's assistant; once exposed on social media, however, she eventually decides to go proudly public with her feelings. The constant cursing and sexual references throughout the show are a bit over the top, and they can be a distraction from Dear White People's important main messages. That said, this is a show about college, and overuse of swear words and sexual humor in college isn't a huge stretch from reality. Amid the iffy language and jokes about sex acts, Dear White People is smart, relevant, and worth watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the college drinking and hookup culture and how it's portrayed in Dear White People. Since it's a reality on many college campuses, discuss the choices your teen will soon be facing and how they can stay safe and responsible in college.

  • Ask your teen what they think about the show's title: Dear White People. If they had to name a radio show to talk about the social ills they'd like to expose, what would they talk about and what would they name it?

  • Families can talk about Samantha's choice to break into the campus' satirical publication's Facebook account to send an invitation to a blackface party. Is it OK to do that to expose hidden racism? Would you have made that choice? Why, or why not?

TV details

For kids who love comedy about serious stuff

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate