MTV announced the premiere of their new, provocative documentary White People, and we now have an uncomfortable trailer to go with it.
The doc, a partnered effort between MTV and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, will examine an often overlooked aspect of American culture…what exactly does it mean to be white in today’s society and how do we get young white people to talk openly and honestly about race?
“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.”
Read about the cast of the doc, and watch the uncomfortable trailer, below:
Dakota grew up in a small town in Virginia and was rarely exposed to people of color. It was in this conservative town that he was taught by his community to be apprehensive of black people. Despite what he learned, Dakota chose to attend a Historically Black College where he experienced being the “minority” for the first time. The film documents Dakota introducing his black friends from college to his white friends from childhood; a scene that highlights the importance of dialogue and mutual understanding.
John is born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn—a historically Italian area his family has lived in for decades. Bensonhurst has since gone through a dramatic demographic shift making white people the minority. Vargas and John uncover how the change is affecting both the Italian and Asian residents in the neighborhood and explore whether or not John and his family can adapt to the “new normal.”
For financial reasons, Katy was forced to sacrifice her dream of going to Grand Canyon University. When Jose meets Katy, she is convinced that being white prevented her from receiving scholarships—a belief echoed by other young white people across the country – and one Vargas sets out to investigate.
Growing up in Washington State, Lucas was rarely exposed to people of color but when he went college, his perspective on race broadened. He became passionate about the topic of race and began teaching white privilege workshops, an aspect of his life he had not shared with his family. The film documents his work as well as an emotional and thought-provoking conversation between Lucas and his conservative parents, prompting them to attend one of his workshops for the first time.
The day after California native, Samantha, graduated from college, she got on a plane to South Dakota and began teaching on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Samantha and Jose explore what it means to be white in an environment where she’s seen as “the other,” and where there’s a long history of tension between Native Americans and whites.
White People airs Wednesday, July 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
Photo Credit: MTV