"We know it can be hard to talk about race, especially when you are white," the solicitation reads. "MTV is trying something different, a documentary exploring the ideas, experiences and attitudes of young, white Americans around race. We think its [sic] time to think."
The casting call is part of a documentary effort by a Brooklyn-based company, Punched in the Head Productions. "We specialize in eye-opening, perspective-changing stories about real people," its website says—"the kind that make you feel like you've been 'punched in the head.'"
But it's not what you might think: It's for an untitled "Whiteness Project" being spearheaded by Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who garnered fame and notoriety after revealing in writing that he was an undocumented immigrant.
I've reached out to Vargas, whose journalism mixes easily with policy advocacy, for comment on the project. He may give beleaguered white youths a forum in the upcoming documentary, but he's unlikely to let them dominate the narrative. His nonprofit, Define American, and Punched in the Head are looking for Caucasian kids with other perspectives, too:
- ...Has something happened in your life that's made you confront your own possible white privilege? Do you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 24?
- ...Is your life different than people who live or go to school with mostly white people - for better or worse? Do you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 24?
- ...Do most people look at you and think you're white, but you hesitate before checking the "caucasian" box on forms? Do you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 24?
- ...Are you a white person who's been affected by race in a way that doesn't fit any of the above categories? Do you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 24?