Jessie Kahnweiler's "Jessie Gets Arrested" Video Proves White Privilege In America Is Very, Very Real
With the recent headlines being made in the U.S. about race, it's somewhat astonishing that so many people still don't believe that white privilege is real — but as Jessie Kahnweiler's video "Jessie Gets Arrested" proves, it most certainly is. Kahnweiler, a comedian and filmmaker who knows she enjoys the privileges afforded to her simply by being white, set out to actually try to get herself arrested to see whether she would experience any racial bias in policing in the process. The video was a reaction to so many of the brutal and tragic events that have occurred over both the past several weeks — the McKinney, Texas pool party, the racist shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, Rachel Dolezal, and more — as well as over the past months and years. "We can all agree that what's going on with the police and black people right now is totally insane," she says in her video and she is absolutely right.
And yet, still, many continue to insist that white privilege does not exist. So, in order to solve the mystery once and for all, Kahnweiler decided to try as hard as she can to get arrested. After all, if unarmed people of color can be shot just for walking down the street, how hard could it be for a white girl doing illegal things to be put in handcuffs?
As Mic points out, the tone of the video is comedic; however, its message couldn't be more serious. Good comedy, like all good art, comments on the state of the world and forces us to reexamine ourselves in new, frequently uncomfortable, but absolutely necessary ways. Here's how Kahnweiler's attempts went:
Crime #1: Being Drunk In Public
Most places have rules against public intoxication and open container laws, meaning you can't be drunk or drinking on the street. It doesn't seem like anyone really notices Kahnwelier's drunkness, though, and this arrest attempt ends up being a failure.
Crime #2: Assaulting a Police Officer
During a parade, Kahnweiler starts to pose for pictures and hug police officers in a way that definitely seems a little creepy. She also jumps in the middle of the parade in order to do this, which I'm sure is some sort of violation. Nevertheless, the officers don't have much of a reaction to her antics and they don't arrest her.
Crime #3: Selling Drugs
In what may be the most eye opening of all of her arrest attempts, Kahnweiler approaches two police officers and offers to sell them antidepressents. They inform her that selling prescription drugs is illegal, but don't arrest her or take any further action against her. Do you believe for a second that if she was a person of color, she would have been let off the hook like that? Once again, her attempt at getting arrested fails.
Kahnweiler attempted several more crimes in an effort to get herself arrested beyond these three, as well. If you want to see the outcome of her experiment, watch the full video below:
Images: Jessie Kahnweiler/YouTube (4)