In 2006, discrimination still causes a lot of hurt and the premise behind the new television show “Black.White.” is to show that discrimination is still present in the U.S. However, I believe that the only reason cable channel F/X airs this show is to increase ratings. I am also sure that rapper/actor Ice Cube had good intentions when developing the concept, but I do not intend to watch the show.
Many people may think that I am trying to turn my head from discrimination and that since one day I will have to work with Caucasians, it will be important to know how they act and think.
I have spent four years at Howard University mainly among African-Americans, so I could understand where it could be thought that it will not be easy for me to ease back into this “White Man’s World.” Surprisingly, at Howard I have learned the most about what to expect after I graduate. I also grew up around those of European descent in Delaware, so I think I know what I am up against.
My reasons for not watching this show is that the generalizations of Blacks, not only by Whites, but by members of our own community as well, are not true. I refuse to perpetuate those misconceptions by watching it on a weekly basis.
During the first episode, the White father, who will be made up as a Black man, discussed some ways in which an African-American had to act with the Black Father, who will be made up as a White man. The real White man then shows how a White man walks and then the way a Black man walks. Of course, the White man walks with his back straight and proper, but so does a Black Man, the only exception is that he may walk with some groove.
Later on during the show, the real Black man reminds the White man to slouch, as if to say all Black men slouch.
What is that? I don’t slouch, my father does not slouch, and I know some of my Black male peers that do not slouch either. And do not all blacks walk with some “groove” or “jive.”
I feel that this Black man is not helping the situation. To stereotype your own people to someone else who already has those stereotypes in their mind does not help breakdown these stereotypes.
Another thing that disgusted me was when the White girl, made up to be a Black girl, went to a poetry class consisting of Black students. In the class she creates a lovely poem, but is told to use smaller words or to basically dumb down her work.
But why? Blacks are not dumb. What they should have done is ask her to explain the poem. The students should want to know those words. They should be asking themselves “Why don’t I know those words? If she knows them, maybe I should too.”
The poetry teachers should have said “Hey everyone look up the words she used and try to use them in your work.” In this situation it is not assimilation to want to learn the words of the White girl, but the higher level of education which is lacking in the Black community.
The problem with this show is that painting someone else the opposite color and then telling them to act like that color is foolish. The real White man will not get the message in this experiment because the Black man is too busy trying to point out racism and discrimination by others, instead of starting with the White man right next to him. Also, for this to be a real experiment, the families should have been separated.
“Black. White.” is just going to highlight the stereotypes that we already know. It is just another gimmick filled show playing off the emotions that have contributed to the racial profiling of the United States of America.
As far as ratings go, “Black.White.” drew in 1.45 million viewers for its March 22 airing, according to Media Life Magazine. Robert Thompson, Director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told the magazine that “Maybe it’s a little too thought-provoking for the kind of audience that go to reality TV.” This might serve as another reason for me to write a commentary.