what does it take for a white girl to get arrested?

Director, writer and actor Jessie Kahnweiler challenges her own white privilege in a new video.

by i-D Staff
Jun 22 2015, 11:07pm

"Everything I have made, I have been fucking terrified to put out there," director, writer and actor Jessie Kahnweiler told i-D last month. It makes sense, considering her on-camera exploits have included dating a homeless man, hosting open auditions to cast her real life boyfriend, and tackling her own struggle with bulimia. But Jessie's not documenting these escapades for hollow Jackass-esque lols, she's using humor as a means of social commentary. In her newest video, Jessie hit the streets of LA with a singular mission: get arrested.

Now for many Americans of color, of disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions, or who could be perceived as queer-identifying in any capacity, getting arrested for not doing anything illegal — or anything at all — is frightfully easy. When you're a white supremacist homicidal maniac and you actually do get arrested, you're given a bulletproof vest and driven to Burger King. "I wanted to explore and expose my own white privilege," Jessie told i-D of her motivations for creating Jessie Gets Arrested. "I found myself, as a white Jewy liberal pretending like all the horrific stuff that's happening is none of my business. But hating racism on Facebook isn't enough. It's not an excuse to sit on my ass."

In the video, Jessie and co-producer Samson Crouppen interview some LA locals for their opinions about white privilege and police brutality. As residents of the city in which Rodney King's brutal beating incited one of America's most deadly race riots, their answers are depressingly predictable. Putting her privilege to the test, Jessie brazenly drinks in public, tresspasses on city property, assaults a police officer, and cartwheels naked in broad daylight (indecent exposure, in legal terms.) At one point, she walks up to a pair of on duty police officers and attempts to sell them anti-depressants before propositioning a threesome to LA's Mayor, all without any consequence. "Trying to actively get arrested by the LAPD started off as a crazy dare to myself, a joke that became painfully real as soon as we started shooting: this is the conversation no one wants to have," Jessie explained.

Jessie's already taking some heat in the video's comments section, but she's accomplishing her goal: creatively forcing the conversation that not no one, but similarly privileged Americans, are uncomfortable having. "There's obviously a much larger story here, but it was a really eye opening experience," Jessie said. "I understand that I will NEVER EVER EVER understand what it's like to be black in America, but this video is my attempt to challenge my own privilege."


Image via YouTube

White Privilege
jessie kahnweiler