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Parents' Guide to

American Race

By Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Spotty but sincere docuseries examines race in America.

TV TNT Reality TV 2017
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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The show has good intentions, but Barkley isn't a particularly savvy host -- rarely does he ask the probing questions that would take this show's conversations about race beyond the surface level. He's long been a polarizing media figure, who has gone on record defending the George Zimmerman verdict and defending the NYC police officers who put Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold. As such, he's an odd choice to be mediating these sorts of supposedly neutral discussions -- a fact which more than one participant calls him out on. His desire to hear "both sides of the story" can seem overly indulgent, such as when he talks with a casting director who insists that when she casts actors in stereotypical roles (a Mexican playing a criminal, a Muslim as a terrorist) that "it's not racism, it's just what's required." This assertion goes totally unchecked as he assures her that she's "just doing her job" -- though in the same episode, he agrees with rapper/actor Ice Cube that it's important for minorities to see positive depictions of themselves in the media. Though Barkley himself may be out of his depth as a host, he does speak with some inspiring and knowledgeable activists, business owners, entertainers, and professors who bring American Race more substance.

TV Details

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