Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea tackles how white privilege has impacted America culture, with Chelsea Handler exploring the issue in her own way.
Netflix documentary Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea will be received in two ways; it will either be shelved by audiences or hailed as an insightful discussion that needs more limelight. Ironically, at the start of the Netflix documentary, a young black woman tells Chelsea Handler that she was only able to make this feature because she is white. In many ways, the young woman was right, so to hail Chelsea as inspiring, or doing a “good deed” for our education would be somewhat shortsighted.
As the title suggests, Chelsea’s documentary centres around white privilege and how it has shaped cultures in America in the present day. Chelsea travels the country meeting various black communities, social commentators and white people who are flagrantly racist but resist any suggestion of that face. Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea is a white person leading the way to raise awareness of white privilege, and writing that feels painfully strange.
As a subject matter, Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea is a documentary that peels away the truth. When Chelsea Handler interviews a select group of white people at Oktoberfest, it’s abundantly evident that hard-right wingers refuse to acknowledge that their life has reached a particular stage due to the color of their skin. It’s horrifying that many of these people refused to acknowledge any issue in America at all, despite the fact that systematic racism has structured the USA for hundreds of years, bringing us to the landscape of the present day.
Chelsea Handler balances the Netflix documentary by considering various voices, and even admits to the white privilege she has experienced, and gained from, and in some instances given her a lucky escape from prison. If any white person was ever to do this documentary, then Chelsea Handler, the outspoken, hard left-leaning comedian, who serves ironic jokes and awkward silences, was genuinely the best person to lead on it. Chelsea does not care about the jaded interviews or the complex confrontations — as her weekly chat show suggests, she is one of the most anti-Trump celebrities in America, and she takes pride in it.
I watched Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea at a convenient time as recently I went on a stag do. Every single man in the group was white, and as the only non-white person in the group, I spent most of the holiday having to skew my frustration due to an obvious racist comment, or when a throwaway statement was made. What occurred to me when watching this Netflix documentary is that these men I had the pleasure of drinking copious amounts of alcohol with were so enshrined by their white privilege that they did not know what racism was. During one meal, one friend shouted, “blackie,” and when I raised my eyebrows, another member of the group shouted, “this is such a minefield!”. Not one member of that group had the open-mindedness to consider a different scenario, and wonder how they would have felt if the roles were reversed — they didn’t consider it because of white privilege.
Well, that was a segway, but I think this conversation needs to be regularly discussed, and Netflix documentary Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea is another feature on Netflix that highlights a broken divide based on years of oppression.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.