White Millennials Talk About Race in Video Series, ‘Whiteness Project’

Sylvia Cunningham, NBC News, April 14, 2016

Filmmaker Whitney Dow has blue eyes, wears round glasses and is in his mid-fifties. He fits the bill for a “cliché-looking northeastern white guy.” And he finds there’s some discomfort in that.

“How I actually live my life and the experiences I’ve had are so different than how people perceive me,” Dow said.

This sentiment is echoed by some of the subjects in Dow’s latest installment of the Whiteness Project, a video series designed to get white people to think about their own race.

Released online on Wednesday, “Intersection of I” comprises a series of video interviews filmed in the summer of 2015 in Dallas, Texas. The interviewees differ in gender identification and sexual orientation and have varying socioeconomic statuses and religious affiliations. Yet they all share at least two common bonds: they are millennials, ages 15-27, and they identify as white or partially white.

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Produced in association with American Documentary | POV, Whiteness Project’s first installment, “Inside the White/Caucasian Box,” was released in October 2014 and profiled people in Buffalo, New York, whom Dow described as “unabashedly white.” The participants had a range of ages in the first installment, so zeroing in on one generation this time was different, in part because millennials are more focused on the idea of identity, Dow said.

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According to findings from a Millennial Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2012, 58 percent of white millennials believe that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against people of color.

This statistic appears on screen at the conclusion of 17-year-old Nathan’s interview.

“In America now, being a white Christian is the hardest thing,” Nathan said. “And that’s exactly what I am. I’m a white Christian male.”

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