Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: White People Gets It Right About Being White

TIME

The most shocking revelation to come out of Jose Antonio Vargas’s MTV documentary White People is that according to the film, 4 out of 5 young white people feel uncomfortable discussing race issues. I want to know who that one person is who doesn’t feel uncomfortable, because he or she is lying. In my completely unscientific survey that I’ve just pulled out of my nether regions, 5 out of 5 people—white or black—feel uncomfortable discussing race in mixed-race company, which is where most of these discussions need to take place. The reason for this discomfort is that one always has to be on guard about inadvertently saying something offensive and being labeled a racist, a radical, or a “thug.” This fear chokes off the open discourse necessary to actually change minds and make serious inroads against racism.

Fortunately, Vargas is excellent at creating a non-threatening atmosphere that encourages these young…

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