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MTV And Jose Antonio Vargas Present 'White People'

Source: Jason Kempin / Getty

After previously releasing the trailer for its upcoming show, White People,  MTV finally premiered the controversial documentary. The show follows young white Americans from Arizona all the way to Brooklyn. Though the show didn’t nearly live up to the hype, it still added to the conversation of race in America and the privileges that white people have. With the wave of race-related issues being so prevalent this year, from people being killed for the color of their skin to a flag depicting oppressive times being taken down 50 years too late, it’s time for this discussion to begin.

Check out the most important things we learned from MTV’s White People.


How People Feel About The Word ‘Ghetto’

MTV first travels to meet a young white man named Dakota who attends a HBCU.When one of Dakota’s white friends from home met a couple of Black friends from school, the conversation of whether or not they cross the street when a Black person came up. The white friend admitted to doing to before but claims that she wouldn’t do it now. This segment ended with the discussion of the the word, “ghetto.” It’s recently become nearly synonymous with Black people, similarly to the N-word. One of Dakota’s Black friend leaves the dinner in tears, seemingly uncomfortable with the discussion of the word.

White People Can Feel Like Outsiders, Too

The next segment is about the Crazy Horse School, a South Dakota-based school that houses native Americans from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Though all the students are Native Americans, all of the teachers are white. The teachers suddenly understand what it’s like to be outsiders. In fact, there are only 14 people in the entire town. However, the white people don’t feel discriminated against: they just see it as curiosity. The students claim that after awhile the Native American students saw their teachers as family. But there’s also a word in their native tongue, “wasichu,” which means “he who takes the best meat” and is often used as a derogatory term for whites.

The Truth About the Scholarships in America

A young white girl, Katy, feels discriminated against because she thinks she’s unable to get any scholarships because she is white. She was on the honor roll in high school, and had a 3.8 GPA. However, she can’t afford to go to college without a scholarship. Her thoughts were debunked when the director, Jose Antonio Vargas, spoke to an expert who revealed that 96% of scholarships are actually available to white people and whites are 40% more likely to get a scholarship over Blacks. When this news is revealed to Katie she feels attacked at first, but realizes that she may be wrong.

White privilege workshops are a thing and most white Americans claim to be colorblind

A young white man didn’t realize the concept of race until he was in community college and saw the vast types of people in his classes. His parents also neglected to speak about race at home. Studies show that most white people see themselves as colorblind, while some believe that idea to be dismissive and a cop out. We then see a white privilege workshop in a classroom full of white males that is even taught by a young white kid. Rather than discussing the issues that are associated with the privilege, it’s more about how the attendees feel. It’s a discussion with seemingly no means to an end.

How Quickly The Landscape Of Race Is Changing In America

Though most of the documentary discussed people in middle America where most neighborhoods aren’t mixed, the last segment came to New York, one of the most diverse places in the world. The host hits up Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to meet a young 22-year-old Italian kid who is seeing his neighborhood change before his eyes. His parents came to America over 40 years ago to a place where they weren’t welcome and didn’t speak the native language. The 22-year-old sees that Asians are now moving to Bensonhurst, and also don’t speak English. He learns that Asians are the largest growing minority in America, and in 30 years white people will make up less than half of america.

Did you catch MTV’s White People documentary? What did you think?


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