Dallas Millennials Confront Race In The 'Whiteness Project’ | KERA News

Dallas Millennials Confront Race In The 'Whiteness Project’

Apr 28, 2016

In the ongoing conversation on race and identity, we don’t hear much about how white people experience their race. But in the Whiteness Project, candid video interviews explore what it means to be white today.

The second installment of the series was filmed in Dallas, and focuses on white and multiracial millennials.

Creator Whitney Dow says the conversation about race can't occur without a discussion about whiteness.

…On why he focused on Dallas millennials:

“The reason I went to Dallas is because I wanted to do something in a more complex racial environment. Dallas has a traditional black-white divide, but also has a rapidly growing Latino community and Asian community. I really was looking at multiracial people, biracial people, and transgender [to ask] ‘how does race fit into this complex equation of identity?’ That’s where the title comes in. ‘Intersection of I’ is really about identity as lying along the seam of how you perceive yourself and how the world perceives you.

The reason why I wanted millennials was because that generation is really driving this new language around race. When I was a kid, there wasn’t the same language to talk about identity. There wasn’t talk about pronouns, there wasn’t talk about gender identity, the language didn’t really exist in the mainstream and this is the generation that’s really pushing that conversation forward.”  

Watch the trailer for 'Intersection of I':

…On the issues his interviewees had a hard time talking about:

“I think this idea of privilege is really hard for white people to process, especially white people who maybe don’t come from rich backgrounds, or don’t have complex backstories. The idea that they might get some benefit from the color of their skin. I think that also the idea that by admitting that there’s structural racism or admitting that there’s white privilege that they might have to accept some level of guilt for it. I think that’s a really complex area for people to navigate.”  

…On living in a post-racial society:

“I wouldn’t want to live in a society that’s post-racial. I’m attracted to difference. I’m attracted to people who are different than I am. I think that people’s racial identity makes up a big component of who they are. I don’t think we’re ever going to reach a place where race is not a major part of every societal equation.”

About race in America

  • 51 percent of white Americans think slavery is ‘not a factor at all’ in the lower average wealth of black Americans. [YouGov]
  • 63 percent of those raised in the top quintile in terms of income remain in the top half as adults. [Pew Charitable Trusts]
  • White students make up 62 percent of the student population at public colleges. They receive 73 percent of all merit-based grants. [FinAid.org]
  • 39 percent of white Americans have a favorable view of Arab Americans.  [Arab American Institute]

Whitney Dow is a filmmaker and creator of The Whiteness Project, an online effort of the PBS series POV.