On Wednesday, MTV premiered White People, Jose Antonio Vargas' new documentary on race relations, which showed unscripted portrayals of what it means to be white, and focused on white privilege and how that privilege is manifested among millennials. It's an important topic to talk about — but that doesn't make the conversation easy, especially considering the reaction online. Within no time, White People began to trend on Twitter, and although a debate had definitely been started, the interaction hasn't been very loving.
So far, the response to the documentary has seemed both positive and negative. On the one hand, it's doing what it was meant to do: start a conversation. The documentary is actually part of MTV's larger "Look Different" campaign, which seeks to illuminate biases in society based on race, among other factors. If nothing else, White People has done just that, showing Twitter users proof of biases they already recognize in their own lives or proof of biases they didn't want to believe actually existed. They're tweeting accordingly.
On the other hand, the debate that the documentary is causing may not be the most productive one. As some Twitter users pointed out, the documentary could open the door for blanket generalizations and stereotypes to be made against the people it profiles. Either way, it's likely that this debate will continue on and off Twitter as a result of the documentary.
Ultimately, White People and #WhitePeople have reinforced race tensions that very much exist in modern society. The debate has turned ugly at some points, but most people seem to agree that the documentary raises some important issues that need to be discussed and understood in new ways.