Black. White. TV Poster Image

Black. White.

(i)

 

Daring reality show for older teens, adults.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The boy is very negative about the race-swapping experiment and doesn't seem eager to learn anything from it; the teenage girl, on the other hand, has a good head on her shoulders, is enthusiastic about the experiment, and often questions the boy's behavior. When the teenage boy blows all his money on an impulse purchase, his parents give him a huge lecture about being responsible with money and thinking about his future.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

Lots of strong language; "f--k" is bleeped, but "ni--er," "s--t", "bitch," and others are not.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this potentially controversial series contains strong language, it explores the issue of racism in such a way that older teens could learn valuable lessons from watching. The show really gets viewers thinking about what it might be like for a white person to have the "black experience" and vice versa.

Kids say

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What's the story?

FX's reality show BLACK. WHITE. takes a black family and a white family, "changes" their race through the use of makeup and hairpieces -- the black family becomes white, and vice versa -- and brings them together to live in the same house. The purpose of the experiment (which is executive produced by rapper/actor Ice Cube, among others) is to get whites and blacks to see the world through each other's eyes and then discuss their experiences with one another. Each family -- the African-American Sparks family and the Caucasian Wurgels -- includes a mother, father, and teenager. As is to be expected, not everyone is enthusiastic about the experiment, which creates some friction right from the start. As the various family members do things like going to a slam poetry group, attending seminars about racial differences, working as a bartender in a white neighborhood, or simply walking down the street in a black neighborhood, they're all in for some stunning revelations.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

It's encouraging to finally see a reality show with good intentions and a serious message, as opposed to all the drivel out there meant simply to entertain (or disgust) viewers. The show's conclusions about basic racial differences may not exactly surprise most viewers; what's truly surprising are some of the things the participants had never thought about -- or had always just assumed -- concerning the other race.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about racism and how it affects the way we perceive things. Do you think black people interpret white people's actions a certain way because they expect to be discriminated against? Do white people act a certain way around blacks because of stereotypes? Have you ever been discriminated against because of your race? How did it make you feel? Another discussion topic could be how family members treat one another on the show -- whether within each family or across the two families. What are some examples of when they're supportive and understanding? What are some examples of when they're insensitive toward each other? Is any of it racially motivated?

TV details

Cast:Brian Sparks, Bruno Marcotulli, Rose Bloomfield
Network:FX
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Black. White. was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byKona April 9, 2008

Educational Entertainment

Unlike most reality shows, Black White tackles the social issue of racism in a way that really makes you think. The show is creative and thought provoking. My husband and I are compelled to discuss each episode and our views and opinions. It could be used for educational purposes at the high school or college level, as long as the instructor has had some amount of diversity training and is prepared to moderate a potentially firey discussion. Kids and parents may find that they have highly divergent viwes on the issue of racism... prepare yourself for an invigorating discussion!
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

it is a good show

it is about when people change colors to see how the other color lives
Adult Written byMindypin April 9, 2008

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