It’s “white history month.”
All kidding aside…
Yesterday, MTV, as part of its ongoing “Look Different” anti-bias campaign, debuted the trailer for its first-of-its-kind documentary exploring race, whiteness, and how young white people perceive their racial identity in an increasingly multiracial America. Titled “White People,” the network collaborated on the project with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, whose non-profit organization, Define American, uses the power of stories to transcend politics and shift the conversation around immigrants, identity and citizenship in a changing USA.
That documentary airs on Wednesday, July 22 at 8pm ET /PT on MTV.
Ahead of that, below you’ll find a short documentary (not related to MTV’s project) titled “A Conversation with White People on Race,” a New York Times Op-Doc produced by Michèle Stephenson and Blair Foster. If Stephenson’s name is familiar, it’s because she co-directed (with her husband, Joe Brewster) the 2013 feature-length documentary, “American Promise” – a 12-year journey that follows their son and his best friend, from kindergarten at a private prep school, all the way through high school graduation. It was covered on this blog.
Blair Foster is an Emmy Award-winning producer whose films include “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.” Her previous Op-Doc is “A Conversation With My Black Son,” which is part of this series.
By the way, Op-Docs is The New York Times editorial department’s award-winning section for short, opinionated documentaries (op-docs), produced covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects. Launched in 2011, Op-Docs videos are produced by both renowned and emerging filmmakers.
Regarding their Op-Doc, the filmmakers say… “we’ve attempted to lean into that discomfort [white people finding it uncomfortable to talk about race] and prompt some self-reflection. We are all part of this system, and therefore we all have a responsibility to work toward dismantling it. If we’re going to have an honest conversation about race in America, that includes thinking – and talking – about what it means to be white in America. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s a conversation that must involve all of us.”