Oh man, MTV. Your Fucks to Give reservoir has apparently dried the fuck up, exposing a parched lakebed littered with Singled Out reruns and Gideon Yago’s corpse. You’re releasing a documentary called White People that explores white privilege, white guilt and the effects being white has on today’s youth? Dear god. The Internet could melt this movie down use the remains to fuel think pieces for the next thousand years. Three more Republicans just entered the GOP presidential race on the strength of this trailer alone.
Check out these juicy, context-free lines from the trailer, each delivered by a Caucasian:
— “You kind of get the feeling things belong to you.”
— “If I bring up any sort of race issue with my parents, they immediately feel like I’m demonizing them.”
— “It feels like I’m being discriminated against.”
Um, uh, ah, er…FUCK THIS IS REALLY AWKWARD! My hands were shaking so much after the initial viewing that I spilled a nine-dollar Starbucks secret menu latte all over my artisanally dry-cleaned suit. Stupid immigrant barista didn’t put the lid on right, obviously. THIS IS LITERALLY THE GREATEST ATROCITY COMMITTED AGAINST ANYONE IN MY LIFETIME, AND I DEMAND REPARATIONS!
I’m completely undecided about whether this a worthwhile examination of white culture (whatever that is), or clueless, tone-deaf troll bait designed to capitalize on the country’s grotesque racial divide by throwing blood-drenched meat to the both sides’ most undesirable elements. Asking kids to explain the trials and tribulations associated with being white at a time when predominately white police departments murder unarmed minorities once every other week seems stunningly aloof. “If you say the wrong thing, you’re a racist,” says a clearly racist hipster with a persecution complex. Yeah, well, if you’re black and say the wrong thing — or look the wrong way, smell the wrong way, or even breathe crooked — you might get your spine snapped in the back of a paddywagon. So we white people still come out ahead. Reminds me of a great Chris Rock joke about white people bemoaning the fact that we can’t say the N-word. “Last time I checked,” Rock says, “that was the only advantage I had. Let’s switch. You yell the N-Word. I’ll raise interest rates.”
On the other hand, there’s value in asking young people questions like the one White People’s Pulitzer Prize-winning director Jose Antonio Vargas poses to a group of students: “How might your life be different if you weren’t white?” Anything that gets anyone to consider different viewpoints and perspectives is a net positive. One girl in the trailer talks about how she’s never had to internalize the often horrific past actions of white people in America, but here, she “can’t avoid it.” White guilt labels aside, there’s a benefit to providing impressionable youths with an understanding of how history shapes culture, actions, thoughts and feelings. Maybe that saves a life or forges a bond down the road.
A word of warning: unless you want to your fellow humans more than you already do, I strongly discourage you from browsing the YouTube comments on this trailer or reading reaction pieces with an InfoWars URL. I only spent five minutes scrolling through a few different sites before being overcome by an uncontrollable urge to perform some Falling Down cosplay.
White People premieres July 22 on MTV. I’d be lying if I said I won’t watch.