Or does it matter? On March 8 at 10PM, the FX channel will be debuting a reality show entitled “Black.White” in an attempt to show the subtleties of racism.
In the show, a white family and a black family, with the help of technology will change
races and live as the opposite race. The families are both middle-class, with all adults being college educated.
The idea of this show is an extension of the idea that caused author John Howard Griffin
to change his race in 1959, and experience life as a black man in the south. He later penned the phenomenal book Black Like Me based on his experiences.
I’m not too sure how I feel about this- partially because it’s a reality show, and at this point in television, reality shows seem to reflect everything BUT reality. I also feel that there are other ways to show the subtleties of racism- years ago 20/20 did a show that displayed the subtleties of racism and sexism it by having whites and blacks, men and women, with equal qualifications go into different settings and apply for jobs, attempt to buy cars, and apply for loans.
However, perhaps what this show will get to accomplish is that it will allow the families to understand the different feelings that might come from a different race- from having “white privilege” or from being discriminated against, and it might be those feelings that can cause people to really change their attitudes.