reappropriate

Sunday, February 12, 2006

FX's Black. White.

No matter how you look at it, this is blackface.

10 Comments:

Anonymous tekanji said...

If the show does what it purports to do, which is spread awareness about how racism still pervades our culture, do you think it is necessarily the same as white people dressing up as black people for the express purpose of mocking them?

Personally, I can see your point but I can also see the point of the show. Part of what makes privilege so insidious is the ability not to see that something as minor as a change in skin colour can have a major impact on a person's life.

Do I think this show will open the eyes of all its privileged viewers and make them say, "Damn, racism does still exist!" Well, no. But if it makes a positive impact on even one family, then I'm not sure I would equate it 100% with the traditional definition of blackface.

2/13/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger phillyjay said...

Ok, I wasn't too sure when I first head of the show, but now I have got to see it.The guy looks more like a mixed ethnicity then white to me.

2/13/2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

"If the show does what it purports to do, which is spread awareness about how racism still pervades our culture, do you think it is necessarily the same as white people dressing up as black people for the express purpose of mocking them?" - Tekanji

Yes.

Because they can take off the psuedo-melanin at the end of the day, and I can't. When people reduce my struggle to a few grams of misapplied Max Factor, it's mockery of the most insidious kind. No supposed educational value for White America changes that sad and obvious fact.

Further, it's disgusting to me that in 2006, reality television still believes that increasing cosmopolitanism amongst White people makes enjoyable TV. I'm sorry, but I don't find diversity education for White folk fun to watch. And Black. White. can only be diversity education for White people - Black folk already know how good it is to be White; we are constantly exposed to the privilege we do not share. It's White people who not only turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to racial inequality, but also produce demeaning television like this to absolve themselves of their irrepressible guilt, a by-product of continued historical privilege. What else explains the involvement of Ice Cube, 1990's-era militant Negro rapper, as an executive producer of this show, other than political cover against logical charges of racism?

This is just another minstrel show. The only relevant question is, why doesn't this premiere on BET with all the rest?

2/13/2006 02:47:00 AM  
Anonymous sheldiz said...

I agree that the show falls way way short of its supposed intended mark of bringing out racial understanding, etc. It reminds me of the whole trend of dressing people up in fat suits to see how they're treated by the general public. James, you're right, at the end of the day the costumes come off and nothing changes.

2/13/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous tekanji said...

Blah, I keep trying to write a reply and it all sounds so stupid. So I'll keep it short and sweet: Thank you for your insightful reply to my question. I think you've raised some excellent points, especially in the insidiousness of the entire endeavor, and the way that reality tv turns a seroius issue into what amounts to a freakshow. Now I'm going to stop typing before my foot-in-mouth disease gets worse.

2/13/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger thefayth said...

at the end of the day costumes come off and everyone is changed. i think you'll enjoy all the bits where people first react the most...visit thefayth.blogspot.com on march 8th for more on what an innocent bystanding poet chick had to think about being involved in the project!

2/14/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Hmm, I may seem insensitive but I'm curious to see this one. We watched Oprah last week between landers and saw her run through the cast and show clips. Everyone in the office (which was mixed race) was surprised by some of the things they showed people saying.

2/18/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks real stupid. The show has nothing to do with spreading understanding of folks from different background. This like reality tv in general is bascially a excuse to abuse people, and put on a good freak show. I mean you have other ethic groups in the US not just whites and people of african decent. As a black man I find this show backward and offensive.

2/21/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger mylifeisgood1982 said...

Who produced this show?

3/09/2006 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger sandraw said...

I only managed to watch one complete episode of this program. The only one who came off looking decent was the daughter. The white people looked weak, ignorant, painfully earnest and well intentioned. The black family came off looking arrogant and angry. They said they didn't need to know anything about white culture, they knew it all already. Then why were they on the show? To teach the white people what it was like to be discrimanted against, to open their eyes to prejudice.
Well, as someone who grew up as poor white trash, I can tell you that that is no fucking walk in the park. There are many, many forms of prejudice of which racism is only one. All prejudice limits, harms and treats people unfairly. Prejudice in many forms kills sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.
People of all colors, shapes, sizes, religions, sexual orientations, ages etc need to value others and see that we are enriched by the experiences of others.

5/08/2006 02:16:00 PM  

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