Thursday, March 09, 2006

Black, White

Did anyone else here watch Black, White last night on FX (aside from those of you reading from Afghanistan)? I did. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's a reality show where a white family from California is dressed up/painted to look like a black family, and a black family from Georgia is dressed up/painted like a white family. The families then live life as the opposite race in L.A. While this is going on, they actually live together in the same house (they aren't in costume while living together), share their experiences, and coach each other on being a member of the other race.

First, the make-up warrants mentioning. I'm really on the fence about how well "disguised" these people actually are. I think the kids are definitely passable. As for the parents, I'm not so sure. The black dad, in white-face, looks an awful lot like Eddie Murphy on that famous SNL skit where he dresses up as a white dude ("White Like Eddie"). It's really hard to judge what you would think in "real life" though. It's not like you'd actually walk up to a complete stranger and say "Hey, you look a whole lot like a black guy pretending to be white." So, I guess the make-up works.

As far as the show itself, I thought it was very interesting. I'm sure it's highly edited and contrived, but nonetheless, to me, it was an interesting look at race relations in the United States (even the confrontations between the two families when they aren't dressed up). As a cracker myself, I was downright embarrassed by the white parents. They seemed particularly out of touch to me. Their daughter, on the other hand, had a great attitude, really trying to immerse herself into a new culture. As far as the black family, I haven't really formed an opinion about them yet.

Finally, the thing that really stood out to me from the first episode was the differences not between the races, but between the generations. The children seemed much more accepting of all people and all cultures, while the adults, although not "racist" were certainly more aware of race. It seemed like the kids (18 and 16) were much more indifferent about race, saw past skin tone, and focused on people as people. Of course, that's a product of the vastly different times that both generations grew up in.

I could go on for a while, but I'm just rambling now, so I'll end with this: check out the show, at the very least, you'll be entertained. If you watched it last night, I'd love to hear your comments. . . .

EDIT: Here are the metacritic reviews of Black, White.

No comments: