Logan Browning, activist and star of the Netflix show “Dear White People,” spoke in the Lohrfink Auditorium on Oct. 3. Browning plays Samantha White, a rebellious radio show host and racial activist on the show.
“Dear White People” is based off of the 2014 film of the same name, directed by Justin Simien. The show’s first season debuted in April 2017, and Browning just recently finished filming its third season. Viewers have applauded the show for its timeliness as it focuses on issues of race, with the second season focusing heavily on the re-emergence of white supremacists groups.
Browning said she related to her character’s passion for activism. Browning has recently been working with Swing Left, an organization which supports Democratic candidates in swing states, and gave students advice on how they can practice advocacy. “I would like to bestow upon you that it is your privilege and your responsibility, if you so choose, to find your avenue of activism,” she said. “You don’t have to be arguing with someone on social media, but find your avenue.”
Browning also touched on the importance of acknowledging privilege and utilizing it for activism. “Sitting in this room right now, at Georgetown, is a privilege,” Browning said. “I think why it’s hard for some people is because when you grow up in a place where you always have certain privileges, learning that you have to relinquish some of those is not easy.”
To be a better activist, Browning emphasized the importance of educating oneself, especially before posting on social media. “When we talk about social media, not immediately sharing something that you see that is like ‘Woah oh my God that just happened,’” Browning said.
Browning voiced the importance for allies to step back and listen to those they want to support. “When you do show up to be an ally, don’t try to be the bigger voice. That happens a lot. People show up to support, and they don’t listen…. That’s not how you do it.”
Browning addressed the lack of representation, specifically social economic variance, of students at predominantly white institutions. “Because “Dear White People” does tackle so many topics, I believe that the writers have to pick and choose what would be the most effective,” Browning said. She feels there are still has a number of issues that have yet to be discussed on the show.
In closing, Browning emphasized that the show has taught her about compassion. “Because it follows a group of African American students, but a group that anyone can relate to no matter their race, I think it unifies us,” she said. “You are able to empathize with a character who doesn’t necessarily look like you but may have the same traits as you.”