Last night I watched two episodes of the Netflix documentary, "Chelsea Does," starring Chelsea Handler. I went in not knowing much about Chelsea other than the fact that she regularly offends people. However, I'd seen a few things on Twitter about the documentary series being surprisingly funny so I decided to give it a shot. There are only 4 episodes: Chelsea Does Marriage, Chelsea Does Silicon Valley, Chelsea Does Racism, and Chelsea Does Drugs. I opted to begin with Chelsea Does Racism and I was pleasantly surprised.
I found a relatively unbiased documentary on the plague of racism not only on a country-wide scale, but global as Chelsea visited Israel and the Mexico/US border. She made her way around the U.S. and spent a bit of time in the south talking to people of all different races and allowing them to weigh in on the topic of racism.
I honestly learned something during the process and, for me, that was unexpected. I expected to laugh. I expected to be offended. I did not expect to sympathize with and learn from people outside of my own demographic. Maybe that's my white privilege speaking, and maybe it's just me being oblivious. Regardless, the documentary made me hate white people a little bit.
I mean, if we're totally honest, I've seen just about everything white culture has to offer. Barring any new outbursts from Lady Gaga, Shia LeBeouf, or some stupid online viral video, I've seen it all at some point. When it comes to Chinese, Phillipino, African, African-American, Mexican, and Argentinian culture, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of those cultures and dozens more. But I want to.
I'm genuinely interested in the things that set us apart. Food, language, verbal cues, body language, history, and more. I could spend a lifetime trying to fill those gaps.
What struck me most about this episode of "Chelsea Does," is that she interviewed people with all sorts of backgrounds, and they all thought they were right. They all entered the situation believing that they were right about their perceptions of race. The problem with this mindset is that no one can ever win.
"I'm sorry if you were right, I'd agree with you." -Robin Williams
What if instead of assuming we're right about everything, we assumed we were wrong about everything. Heck, what if we assumed we were wrong only 50% of the time or even just 25% of the time? Can you imagine how many more conversations we might be able to have about race? Without dissension killing the conversation immediately?
I wish I lived in a world where color wasn't an issue. But it is. So it's my responsibility, and honestly the responsibility of everyone to not only talk about race, but do something to turn the tide and change attitudes about race.
Here's to having tough conversations and getting far outside of our comfort zones.