“Excuse me, can I bother you for a second?”
Onscreen is Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Washington Post political reporter turned filmmaker and entrepreneur. He’s holding a poster-sized section from the 2010 census, the page that asks readers to describe their race.
In front of him are White people, pulled aside for interviews on a street in Iowa. Vargas asks: When the census asks you to tick a box, which option do you choose?
“The people who are Hispanic, they have options,” Vargas said. “White people have one box.”
It’s a tricky subject to navigate, and the exchange could easily go sideways. But Vargas steers the interview to productive waters with a laugh, a persistent smile and deftly placed questions.