MTV Examines White Privilege in New Documentary ‘White People’

MTV is taking a stand against racism in America and exploring the concept of whiteness and white privilege in a new documentary made in partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, Jose Antonio Vargas.

White People has been in the works for over a year and, on the heels of the tragedy in Charleston, the network is premiering the timely documentary which will explore race, whiteness, and specifically how young white people perceive their racial identity in an increasingly multiracial America.

Vargas is the founder of Define American and founder/editor of #EmergingUS, an upcoming digital magazine in partnership with the Los Angeles Times that will cover race, immigration and identity, as well as white Americans as an emerging racial minority. His documentary follows him across the country as he uncovers the stories of five young white people from varying backgrounds, as well as many more young people who participated in conversations at their local schools and community centers about race.

“We saw last week the dire effects racism gone unchecked has on our communities. The need for an honest and open conversation about the roles race and white privilege play in our society is more needed than ever,” said Jose Antonio Vargas in a statement.

“Race is a sensitive subject no matter who you are and our goal with the documentary is to treat each person, story and community featured in the documentary with the utmost respect, all while exploring what race means to them,” he added.

“Whiteness often remains unexamined in conversations about race in this country, even as it acts as the implicit norm against which other racial identities are judged,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV in a statement. “By shining a spotlight on whiteness, we hope ‘White People’ will serve as a powerful conversation starter that encourages our audience to address racial bias through honest, judgment-free dialogue.”

Fact: 4 in 5 young people are uncomfortable talking about race*.
Fact: Nearly half of white Millennials believe that discrimination against white people has
become as big a problem as discrimination against racial minority groups*.

The doc premieres on Wednesday, July 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Let us know what you think of the doc, what’s been going on lately and your take on white privilege in the comments below.

Photo Credit: MTV
*2014 MTV/David Binder Research Study. For full results, please click here.


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