Chelsea Handler Asks How to be a Better White Person to Minorities in New Documentary
Chelsea Handler’s new special explores her white privilege and how to be a better ally to minorities, prompting some to mock her for going on a tour to apologize for her whiteness.
Comedian Chelsea Handler is on a mission to understand white privilege better. In her new Netflix documentary, Hello Privilege, It’s Me Chelsea, Handler aims for deep conversation with a wide range of people on the topic—and what she as a white woman can do to be a better person about it.
“I’m clearly the beneficiary of white privilege,” Chelsea Handler announces in the trailer to her new Netflix special. “I want to know how to be a better white person to people of color.”
Handler hosted a popular late night show, “Chelsea Lately”, from 2007 to 2014 on the E! Channel. In 2012, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world on its annual Time 100 list.
In her new documentary, Handler travels the country speaking with people of color and white folks about the subject including fellow comedians Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and W. Kamau Bell, anti-racism writer and activist Tim Wise, a Republican women’s group in Orange County, CA, college students at an open mic night, and her former high school boyfriend in New Jersey.
The 2016 election of President Donald Trump was a catalyst for Handler’s new project. The political and cultural divisiveness that seemingly erupted or increased with Trump’s administration, however way you want to look at it—led the comedian to ask how this outcome arrived in our nation.
Handler conceded to her own complacency and ignorance as well.
“I was kind of stuck in my own naïveté of, oh, sexism was over, we were going to elect our first female president; racism was over when we elected Barack Obama,” she told GQ Magazine.
“The idealism and the naïveté that came along with that, and not knowing more and not being more educated,” Hander explains, were the motivation behind her new documentary.
She went on to admit that she’d assumed “white privilege was just for a certain section of society, and it’s not,” alluding to the fact that it’s not just an affluent elite that benefits from it, but a larger portion – if not all white people – presumably.
Will this new documentary be enlightening or as some cynical conservatives may dismiss: is it just misguided pandering in an age of identity politics and political correctness? Some articles have already sprung up with the attention-grabbing headline: “Chelsea Handler Travels America Apologizing for Her White Privilege”.
The famously liberal comedian does make an effort to speak to people of all political backgrounds in the new documentary at least, including people of color who voted for Trump.
Hello Privilege, It’s Me Chelsea premiered on Netflix on September 13th.