Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Race Card

"Racism still alive, they just be concealing it."
Never Let you down - Kanye West

Was reading an article on the new TV 'reality' show Black White created by Ice Cube. Remember Fox had/has a show called Wife Swap where families basically swap moms well this new show, apparently starting in March on FX, could be alternately entitled race swap.

The premise is one familiar to anyone who has read John Griffin's Black Like Me where a white dude somehow, on purpose, dyed his skin to appear black and used that to try to find out what it was like to be a black man. This show however doesn't use dye it uses Hollywood makeup artists to change the skin color of two families, one white and the other black, so that they can pose as the opposite race and experience what its like to be someone else.

And of course given its a reality show, both families have to live under the same roof for a given amount of time so we can watch some exaggerated interaction.

Sigh! Although the producers talk a good game with quotes from Cube like he hopes that the project "will expose the subtleties of racism, the layers of racism" I really cant see this show as anything more than your typical reality TV fodder which will play up the extremes for increased rating share.

Trivialize racism by reducing it to a reality TV series we can laugh and joke about at the water cooler why don't we. Ok so maybe we should be discussing racism at the water cooler and this is a good way to get a discourse started or so it may seem but in reality, well sorry in my opinion, racism really isn't that good at the water cooler cause some folks just never ever get it.

Oh well maybe I'm being too harsh, maybe there is a point to getting racism out in the open Hollywood reality style. Maybe it'll make discussion of racism cool.

Naa this show will gloss over the essence, stick to the predictable, the trite and the already known giving us a bunch of stereotypical behavior from both sides while introducing new hip phrases and trends into the public lexicon. Get ready for the n word debate, the typical so-called 'hip hop' behavior, the purse clutching, and the like while the deeper attitude issues get ignored.

Its good to read during Black History month that we are preparing to trivialize racism but maybe trivialization is the only way to start discourse who knows.


Angry Dog said...

Yeah, I agree with you JDid...I suppose that no matter how noble Cube's intentions are, the program will end up simply playing on the stereotypes of blacks and whites and not really touch the core issues.

Anonymous said...

my thoughts exactly.
and the white mom turned black did not even look black at all...just over tanned lol

Ananse's Web said...

I think it's definately going to trivialize it and Lord knows I hate to see how each family will try to portray the other. But I'm interested in hearing any water cooler talk that would happen here in my office.

chrome said...

dude they'll trivialise anything. like how is this meant to help racial integration? the wife swap genre started here in the UK and while it was fun it spawned many "swap" type progs.

wanna read how far this reality things gone? check this article on a shaolin monk reality show in china.

now that's gangsta.

Ironman said...

Yo man thanks for the comment. I see that you're a Jeru fan, that's tight.

I agree ever since Malik left, they've lost their touch.

I plan on seeing this new show "Black and White" I saw a sample on Oprah. I don't know if this show is the best idea [since it'll cause so much drama] but it should be interesting to watch.


juliana said...

I think it's a good idea. Yes, I agree it'll probably play on sterotypes etc, but at least people will be talking about race around the water cooler than not talking about it at all. You can't expect a major discussion to take place over night.

Dr. D. said...

Reality TV...rubbish...reality TV about racism....nope...IMHO

nahmix said...

though i am sick of "reality" tv, i am interested to see how this is going play out.

Unknown said...

I agree Jdid. Just another "reality" TV show, just to make some money.

Unknown said...

It won't really do anything other than entertain.

Sunshine said...

Hi Jdid-passing through. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jdid

Good points.

We linked to your story and will be doing a little bit more on racism in Barbados. We've had tons of email about this issue - seems like nobody talks about it but its always there just below the surface.

Keep up the good work

Barbados Free Press

Abeni said...

I dislike reality shows so I won't even know how thi sone goes.Basically,I find most of the reality shows to be real crappy

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Speaking of Black History Month, our Guyana media have done nothing to highlight the achievements of black folks here or anywhere in the world.

Hm, now that I'm grumbling here, I might as well go ask our media people why they haven't.

Jameil said...

i disagree. i've been excited about this since i first heard about it. and reading the article and several others in the last few months, i feel like yes, like you said, some will never get it, but for others, it will be that lightbulb finally going off. if we don't try, what can we do? sit back as the world reverts backwards toward racism or actually do something about it? people have got to start talking somehow right?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to reserve my criticism of the show until after I see it. But I must say you do make some very good points as you always do.