An exciting new program will debut on MTV July 22 called “White People.” As the trailer (below) suggests, the show seeks to examine white privilege through the eyes of young caucasians, almost all of whom probably have a leg up on African Americans, Latinos, and perhaps even some Asians in terms of smarts, education, and job opportunities, simply because of the color of their skin.
In fact, it’s hard to believe that fifty years after the Voting Rights Act racism is still buried deep in the hearts of white America, evident in the appalling Charleston shooting rampage last month.
This show really looks like it will hit the mark because it does something I could never do in my college classroom (at least legally), and that’s challenge young privileged whites to stop and think about how advantaged they are, simply because they were born with their skin colored “white,” or white with freckles.
“We’ve never had to internalize what white people have done in America,” one apparent white interviewee ponders, “but here you can’t escape that.” Words can’t convey the gravity of such a profound insight.
It’s true. If whites didn’t want to perpetuate slavery there would have been no Civil War, and the Great Emancipator wouldn’t have been slain. And look at all of the nation’s industrial and political leaders–all white men who justified their rule on a flawed social scientific paradigm suggesting that non-whites were somehow undeserving of “the higher learning.”
Imagine a world without prejudice, inequality and hate. That’s a world in which whites begin to atone for … well, exercising the privileged legacy they exert for being white.