Has anyone watched the new television series Black. White. ? It’s been airing here in Canada on Sunday evenings. I’ve seen two episodes so far.
If you haven’t heard of this program it’s about two families. One black couple with their teenage son, and one white couple with their teenage daughter. For a period of 6 weeks, I believe, they all live together in one house. A crew of make up artists work with each family to change the color of their skin from white to black, and black to white for various outings. When they are together in the home they are without the special effects make up, but when they go out in public they take turns experiencing life in the other families skin color.
The show is an experiment to see if each family can experience what life is like for the other family. It’s an interesting show, not quite as enlightening as I hoped it might be, but there are still several episodes to be aired.
I think they could have cast the white family better. I like the teenage girl. She seems to really want to understand the experiment, truly tries to experience life as a black teenager when she is made up to appear as one. The parents on the other hand, openly state they haven’t spent much time with “black people” although the father mentioned playing golf with a work buddy who is black. They say things to the other family that come off as sounding naive and racist. At this point neither of them have felt that they have experienced any racism when they have been out in public made up to appear as black people.
In the first episode that I watched the white couple is made up to look like a black couple and they attend a discussion panel with other black people to discuss racism that they have experienced. The man jumps right into the discussion, even though this is the first time he’s appearing as a black man and discusses what he’s experienced when he’s been called a n*****, stating I believe that he just reacts like “why would you call me that?” and would not get angry at all. Somehow I don’t think this would be a normal reaction at all.
The black couple seem a bit more realistic about the whole thing. I’m not that sure that they are that open to learning and experiencing life as white people. The man seems more open to the experience but seems to see racism in the way people talk to him in everyday conversations and even in the way they move to the side when he walks by white people on the street. From what they have shown on the show it’s possible that he is perceiving racism that isn’t always there. I haven’t seen his wife on an outing dressed up as a white person on her own yet, but in the way she talks and acts in the home she seems to have more of a wall up than her husband. The son pulls off looking white best, but from some of his statements he doesn’t appear to want to try to “pull off” being white when made up to look white.
Again in the first episode the black couple is made up to look white and they attend a discussion panel that talks about racism. I can’t recall them doing anything at that discussion that stands out but I was amazed to hear what some of the white participants attending the discussion had to say. The most startling statement was from a man that said, with apparent dismay as if knowing his reaction was very abnormal (or at least I hope it is!) “When I shake hands with a black person I always feel like I have to wipe my hands on my pants afterwords.” I just can’t imagine anyone feeling that way.
Make up wise- I don’t think any of the family members really pull off looking black or white 100% successfully. They appear to when they are out in public … but they just don’t look right to me. I think the black family looks slightly Hispanic, and the white families features are much too Caucasian to pull off anything but perhaps a light skinned black.
Has anyone been watching this show? If you have, how do you feel about it?
Whatever your color or race – Do you feel that you’ve experienced racism? If you have experienced racism, has it been subtle or outright “I don’t like you because of your race” racism? And what Country have you had your experiences in?
I’m white. I don’t believe that I’m racist, however depending upon how you view the world I suppose it’s possible that some of the things I say, the way I say them or my actions could be taken as being racist by a person with a very negative view. What I mean is that if I interacted with someone that saw almost everything as racist then yes they might perceive something I said as being racial.
I have experienced subtle forms of racism though. I am part Native Indian. You probably wouldn’t know if unless you looked at me very closely, or saw pictures of my other family members. It upsets me when people talk badly about native Indians, sometimes trying to bring me into the conversation and get me to agree with them. Most of the time they don’t realize that I am part native Indian and when they do they make excuses “well I didn’t mean you, you’re not like them”.
I’m currently living in what is viewed as the most diverse city in the world- Toronto, but I didn’t always live in such a diverse city. I originally came from Ottawa which was, at the time of my childhood, a very white city. I think there were only two black students in my lower school. I remember my first day at kindergarten, the very first child that I met happened to be a little black girl. Of course I know now that she was black but I don’t think it really occurred to me when I was little, all I remember is that she was the first little girl I met on that scary first day of school and she wanted to be my friend- and friends we were.
Perhaps becoming friends with Faith on that first day of school helped form my view on race. Either way, I don’t react to people by the color of their skin. I try to form my opinions of anyone that I meet by what they say, how they behave. By their actions not their color.
Depending on what kind of comments I get I might delve further into this topic. Please keep your comments informative, and civil. Derogatory comments will be removed.