Netflix recently added a new movie to their site, entitled White Girl. In first watching it, it’s striking in how it feels so much like a modern day Romeo & Juliette. Star crossed lovers of Leah (played by Morgan Slayer) and Blue (played by Brian Marc) are from really different worlds; Blue is a drug dealer, while Leah is a liberal arts student at a prestigious college who moved into an apartment in Queens. Leah is a hipster girl, who is portrayed as sheltered and naive in so many ways – mimicking the lack of reality that so many college students exist in, largely because of their privilege. As the movie goes on, she becomes addicted to cocaine, and later becomes obsessed with freeing Blue from jail.
But it’s take on race, incarceration, access, and the nuance that comes with all of this, is unparalleled. The reality is almost uncomfortable. In thinking about race’s intersection with privilege, it explores how Whites have access to drugs without an understanding of the complicated journey it takes – and the lives it affects – to get in a ziplock bag in their hand at a party. Moreover, it confronts the way that the justice system in the U.S. fails so many, like Blue, and inevitably pushes so many into incarceration for decades. In looking for a candid take on the disconnect of the privileged and not in large cities like NYC, White Girl is a perfect portrayal.