“You People”: A Tone-Deaf ‘Rom-Com’ 


Riya Bathina, Staff Writer

These past years, social media has been utilized to help and weaken subjects regarding prejudice and racism. With more discussion regarding the mistreatment of Black people, films and shows have attempted to represent Black issues and shed light on complex subjects regarding race. An example of this is the new Netflix movie “You People.” The main protagonists of this movie are Ezra and Amira, an interracial couple, as Ezra is a white man and Amira is a Black woman. This movie highlights the struggles of being an interracial couple as both sides of the family and their personal views come between the couple on multiple occasions. However, it fails to show the audience why we should be rooting for this couple to stay together.

A significant problem in this movie is Ezra’s lack of respect for Amira and her culture. Although Amira fails to bring up her religion often throughout this movie, her family is Muslim, which affects her outlook on life considering her religious upbringing. After getting engaged, Amira recognizes that she would want an imam (a religious leader who leads prayer) at her wedding. Hearing this, Ezra is quick to question Amira and her overbearing father’s religious dedication. In a condescending and aggressive tone, he says, “I loved that four hours ago, you became a devout Muslim. Your dad is not even that Muslim! He once heard ‘Fight the Power’ and changed his name from Woody to Akbar!” This comment is rude and lacking respect, and it is also considered Islamophobic considering that Ezra expects that because Amira is not a reverent Muslim, she does not have a right to ask for an imam at their wedding. This lack of respect and mocking tone sets viewers up to question this relationship, as several arguments with undertones of racism and Islamophobia do not have the audience rooting for Amira and Ezra to stay together.

Another major problem in this movie is Ezra quitting his job to start a podcast on Black culture as a white man. It is ignorant with this is Ezra attempts to comment and discuss Black culture while never genuinely being a part of and facing the struggles being Black comes with. This leads to a criticism of Ezra because although he is supposed to be an understanding and kind character, he is repeatedly uneducated regarding the struggles of Black people. Viewers can see Ezra’s behavior and question why they are together in the first place. This brings up another point: Ezra and Amira lack chemistry, and the guilty culprit here is the movie’s pacing. The film starts quickly, with our main characters suddenly entering a relationship within the first 25 minutes. Another problem the pacing creates is the sped-up ending. With how fast this movie ended, it almost felt like the creators were scrambling to tie loose ends. Thus, these factors make it hard to empathize with and appreciate Ezra and Amira’s relationship.

Despite the main characters’ lack of chemistry, this movie genuinely tackles the microaggressions Black women face through Amira and Shelley, Ezra’s mother. Because of Shelley’s eagerness to have a ‘diverse’ family, she treats Amira like a plaything, as she regularly points out to Amira how much she loves Black people. This poses an issue because Shelley only views Amira as a Black woman rather than her daughter-in-law. One of the best lines in this movie is when Amira confronts Shelley and says, “Because you can’t just see me for me. I will not just be Amira to you. I will always be Amira, the Black woman, not a daughter-in-law.” What this film accurately depicts and criticizes is how even liberal white families still have unveiled biases and opinions towards minorities that, although they may be trying to be respectful, end up being hurtful and ignorant.

“You People” is just another example of a film attempting to be progressive only to fail miserably. Although this movie markets itself as a rom com, its main problem is how characters interact, and viewers stop seeing this romantic comedy as even slightly romantic. Interracial dating is a current and vital topic to discuss, and films like this are a start, but it is clear Hollywood has a long way to go.