Illegal immigrant and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ documentary White People debuted on MTV Wednesday night, and Vargas believes in the film’s message: white Americans must embrace and be included in conversations about race, because it’s their destiny.
The hour-long feature delves straight into what it means to be “white” in America, and follows the daily lives of five Caucasian millennials, some of whom share their guilty feelings of the so-called privilege of being white.
The film also mildly attempts to demonstrate to its subjects how their lives are positively influenced by their race, and forces them to accept the existence of white privilege, all while dismissing many of their complaints as invalid.
Vargas has insisted his narrative is to start a conversation about what it means to be an American in a time of changing demographics, a discussion he says must include white people, who tend to be more apprehensive when opening up about the topic.
“Too often I think when we talk about diversity or we talk about inclusion, we don’t include white people in the conversation,” Vargas told TheWrap prior to the debut of White People Wednesday, “diversity is the destiny of this country.”
July 3, he wrote in the Los Angeles Times this is not “the 1960s version of America that we study in history books,” and cited California’s racially diverse population for driving his desire to open up a dialogue, saying, “as California goes, so goes our nation.”
“When talking about diversity, which is our destiny, how do you ensure that everyone, including white Americans, are part of the conversation?” he asked. “What is the emerging American identity, and where do you fit?”
Vargas told TheWrap Wednesday, “We are living in such a politically charged and politically correct time that sometimes I wonder how willing are white people to say what they really think and really feel.”
The immigration activist also added, “I would rather you [white people] say it than not say it, because then you just internalize it … and we don’t talk about it at all.”