10 Take-Home Lessons From MTV's Provocative Documentary 'White People' (VIDEO)

I was dubious at first that a huge corporate media conglomerate like Viacom could provide a useful outlet to discuss racism in a meaningful way, but Jose Antonio Vargas's new MTV documentary, White People, has proved me wrong. Vargas travels the country engaging in earnest dialogue and asking awkward, but essential questions in an effort to figure out what it means to be white and how white people perceive their whiteness. It's an eye-opening and long overdue discussion of race in a country that would like to discuss anything but. 


Here are 10 take-home lessons from the film.

1. "Ghetto" is code for the n-word. Don't use it, even ironically. 

2. "Reverse-racism" isn't a thing because racism is a system and we don't live in an alternate universe. When this alternate non-white universe manifests, one is welcome to use this term. Until then, no.

3. Almost all of our history lessons are racist white-washing European narratives. Reconsider them. 

4. 50% of whites think they are discriminated against for being white. The notion that discrimination is a shared experience is a huge barrier to constructive dialogue with whites.

5. The idea that whites don't have access to private scholarships is mostly based on white-echoed urban legends. Whites are 40% more likely to get scholarship than non-whites. 

6. Being confronted because your delusions that stem from white privilege are factually inaccurate is not being "attacked." Being attacked is being attacked.

7. Many working-class and middle-class whites confuse across-the-board economic hardship with "reverse racism." They blame not getting college aid on affirmative action, rather than recognizing that college aid is simply hard to get.

8. Three-quarters of whites say they think the world should be "color blind." But racism, like global warming and STDs, won't just go away because you ignore it. 

9. Acknowledging white privilege is not "ashamed of being white" any more than acknowledging gravity makes one ashamed of having mass. It's simply an acknowledgement of a well-documented reality. Reality, as it turns out, is indifferent to your feelings. 

10. "Empathy" is a better term for political correctness.

Watch the full documentary below: 

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