White people talk white privilege in Netflix film
Courtesy of GQ
It’s sad but true that race has always been a dividing factor among Americans since the beginning of the country’s history. As people look toward the future they can’t help but delve into their pasts, uncovering the roots of issues that we face in today’s society. In the Netflix documentary, “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea,” American comedian and white woman Chelsea Handler took it upon herself to explore a rather controversial topic in modern-day America: white privilege. Beginning her career in stand-up, Handler now stands up for those oppressed within the black community.
The documentary forms its narrative so as to not to be one-sided. It makes sure to show both sides of the argument – those who believe in white privilege and those who don’t. Collecting takes from those who strongly advocate for the existence of white privilege as well as those who are ignorant of the matter, Handler travels across the country to chat with professionals and pedestrians alike regarding the heavy topic. It’s important to note that while the concept of white privilege is not new in its creation, the term itself has been created in more recent times as a way to define those who truly experience what it’s like to have full freedom.
The film journeys back to Handler’s childhood to disclose some rather personal moments in her life. Audience members can look forward to better understanding the successful comedian on more than a surface level. Handler connects her newfound awareness of white privilege to various instances from her past as a way to unfold thoughts on certain issues she had potentially never considered before.
A key point Handler consistently conveys in her work is the fact that white privilege is not an issue that should have to be solved by black people. In other words, the black community should not have to or feel obligated to deal with the issues within the white community. With this in mind, Handler questioned multiple white people firsthand about their opinions on the controversial concept. Those asked were not able to come to a consensus, as many different people provided commentary that spanned both sides of the spectrum.
In addition to people of her own race, Handler took time to hear out those being oppressed by the subject matter itself: black people. Handler speaks with several black people, from college students to members of the Black Lives Matter movement, about their feelings toward white privilege. Successful black comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish also make an appearance within the film to share their takes on the touchy subject.
As one could expect, this adventure wasn’t all peaches and cream for the curious comedian. Handler faced her fair share of backlash, some even arguing that a white person doing a documentary about white privilege is a privilege unto itself. Many questioned the celebrity’s motives, as well as what this documentary was really going to do for the issue, several believing that it would ultimately not solve anything. Nonetheless, the fearless celebrity admitted to actually appreciating the criticism, as she knew it in her heart that this was a concern she wanted to further explore.
“Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea” further investigates a concern that has persisted since the beginning of American history. Regardless of where someone stands on the subject matter, this movie was made for all to feel as though their opinions were heard. Furthermore, the hour-long film made clear to the comedian that the issue of white privilege is no laughing matter.