By Elizabeth Kim
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’s new documentary White People sparked conversations about race and White privilege on Twitter after airing Tuesday evening on MTV.
The documentary follows Vargas as he travels the country talking to young people about issues of race, particularly about the White experience and role of White privilege in America.
Some of the highlights include a White student attending a historically Black college and his interaction with other students on campus, a visit to a Native American school to explore the dynamic between the White teachers and Native American students, and a trek into a Brooklyn neighborhood where Asians are now the majority.
Many have praised the documentary via Twitter for initiating the difficult discussions about race and the systemic oppression of racism in America.
Entertainment Weekly tweeted:
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) July 23, 2015
Others voiced concurring thoughts with the points Vargas makes in the documentary.
— Azucena Rasilla (@ChroniclesOfAzu) July 23, 2015
There has also been a lot of contention on Twitter regarding White people experiencing discrimination especially in terms of scholarships to higher education.
Privilege: #WhitePeople are 40% more likely to get private scholarships. POC are 38% of undergrads & get only 31% of private scholarships.
— Liz Dwyer (@losangelista) July 23, 2015
— Black Queens (@melaninist) July 23, 2015
— #EmergingUS (@emergingUS) July 23, 2015
Vargas and viewers promoted their messages using the hashtag #WhitePeople and the handles @DefineAmerican and @emergingUS, which are both media groups that advocate conversations about race, immigration and multiculturalism.
Some criticized the documentary, however, and advised White audiences to use discretion while watching the documentary, or even not to watch the documentary.
Two critics said Vargas failed to provoke deep and thoughtful conversations and talked with many assumptions about White people, reports Slate.
Others also voiced negative views of the documentary.
@joseiswriting Dress it up in political correctness all you want. It’s all about skin color with you. Its blatant. It’s racism.
— Terry Welty (@terrywelty) July 16, 2015
Both Vargas and MTV suggest viewers learn more and continue the conversation on race by going to race.lookdifferent.org
Vargas is perhaps best known for his revealing story as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine in 2011.
“You cannot have a conversation about race in this country and not include White people in it,” said Vargas.
You can watch the entire 40 minute documentary below.
Jose Varga’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/joseiswriting