Director Jose Antonio Vargas’ Documentary “White People” Confronts White Privilege In America
Jose Antonio Vargas, director of the MTV documentary White People, joined Roland Martin onNews One Now to discuss how millennials view White privilege and race relations in America.
Martin, host of NewsOne Now, described the conversations captured in the film as “kind of complicated” and extremely uncomfortable.
Of the documentary White People from MTV:
What does it mean to be white? MTV’s ‘White People’ is a groundbreaking documentary on race that aims to answer that question from the viewpoint of young white people living in America today. The film follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, Jose Antonio Vargas, as he travels across the country to get this complicated conversation started. ‘White People’ asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means, and what it’s like to become the “white minority” in your neighborhood. For more information on ‘White People,’ and to join the conversation, head to race.lookdifferent.org.
Vargas said that in this context, White privilege is “something that you are born with … and I have to say this is a concept many Americans — White Americans — really struggle with.”
“It’s almost as if saying White privilege is like calling them racists…this was a really, very treacherous territory,” he continued. “Frankly, I feel like the documentary really touched a nerve.”
The director later said we’re living in a “country that was created by White people for White people.”
“Even that statement for me is a very obvious statement of who the ‘Founding Fathers’ were and how this country was constructed. I’m not saying that to be ‘un-American.’”
Vargas explained that when the trailer for the documentary was released, he received numerous messages from people saying he was “shaming White people” and “making White people feel guilty.” Some even asked how he dare question “the very structure that was created for me.”
“What’s stunning about that — even that statement from that young White woman in the trailer she said, ‘You get this feeling that things belong to you.’ That’s an incredible statement.”
All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast