bruno: … BLACK.WHITE

More in-depth look at every single episode of "Black. White.",

Undergoes surgery in order to play a black character.

As he stretches* *kchunk, ziiiip, psssshhhhhh* *dramatic sting*.

What the hell? *Rummaging* *Dusts and blows on the disk player* *Button presses, a mechanical whirr* *Disk hits bowl, toilet is flushed* *Case hit repeatedly, the drive whirrs closed* *CJ gets comfortable* *A clock ticks*. Bruno: "My name is Bruno and I became a black person* *Clock keeps ticking* *Upbeat music as clock ticks*. Bruno: "I feel totally confident that no one will be aware of the fact that I'm a [BLEEP].". Person: "Are you ready to go? Are you ready to go?" Bruno: "Yeah, wa-hey.". Bruno: "You know so far I'm kinda waiting for someone to go 'Hey, [BLEEP].'" *Crunch, rustle*. Bruno: "And this guy with a gang thing over his head was like looking at me like, y'know ". Lady: "Y-ye-yeah.".

Bruno: "I'm gonna fuck you up if you don't get outta here. "We've all been enslaved. Please, get a job. "I believe it begins in the home with mom and dad, if he's around. "Ok, we all know in the black community, blacks oft-, or the dads often take off. "I would love to sit here and say that everything was just great, but it wasn't.". CJ: Oh yeah, this is gonna be spicy. Bruno, with an echo: "Yo" *Intro music plays*.

The 2000s, where absolutely nothing bad ever happened. Nothing. Ever.


THEY HIT THE [BLEEP] PENTAGON.". The 2000s seem to be a treasure trove of curious and controversial social experiments that just couldn't be made today, such as 'Boys and Girls Alone', which I've already talked about on this channel. And on today's edition of People Ruin Everything Again We're gonna take a look at a show that's aged about as badly as a Lost Prophets tatoo. And if you didn't understand that joke Consider yourself blessed.

Race swapping, which is the act of using makeup and other devices in order to appear to be a member of a different ethnicity, is generally considered to be a bit of a faux-pas, unless you're an out-of-touch celebrity, a late 2000s youtuber, or a TV show that I guess just couldn't find any black actors? Narrator: "During questioning, Clark admitted that he had robbed the restuarant and shot the police officer.".

Clark: "I was the one that shot that policeman.". Narrator: "But when detectors pressed him for details, Clark recanted". Enter 'Black. White.', a reality TV series that aired on American network FX in 2006, in which a white family and a black family swap races using makeup in order to experience life on the other side. They live together in a house in Los Angeles for 6 weeks, sharing their interactions with others and their perceptions and experiences of race, while a film crew constantly follows their antics. Split into 6 episodes, each one covering roughly a week of the experiment, 'Black. White.' follows the Sparks parents, Brian and Renee, their 16 year old son, Nick, and the Wurgels, with parents Bruno and Carmen, and their 17 year old daughter, Rose.

The sparks and the Wurgels? Sounds like a bad Illumination movie. But yes, this was a real show that was actually made by real human beings. And it is fascinating. It was even partly produced by rapper Ice Cube, best known for this reaction meme and that classic romance anthem "No Vaseline". He also wrote and performed the show's theme song, "Race Card", the music article for which is pretty bizarre, to say the least. I suppose it's not the worst idea for a show that's ever been pitched. Hell, there was that dating show that tricked a bunch of American women into thinking they had a chance with Prince Harry, but it was actually just an impersonator. Maybe I'll talk about that in another article.

But the contemporary reaction to 'Black. White.' was somewhat mixed, and the network seems to have done everything in its power to forget that it ever existed. However, I managed to find a copy on DVD. So lets spread these cheeks and go balls deep. In all seriousness, this wasn't the first time someone had the idea to swap their race as part of a social experiment. In 1948, white journalist Ray Sprigle, with the support of the NAACP and Civil Rights activists, disguised himself as a black man and spent a month in the southern United States to report on conditions under segregation and the injustice of racism. And similarly, in 1959, white journalist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin using a combination of makeup, medication, and sitting under an ultraviolet light for up to 15 hours a day in order to go incognito as a black man in the deep south. He would share his experiences in the book 'Black Like Me' which was fictionalised into a movie in 1964.

I'm sorry I jus- I can't take this seriously. It just doesn't look good! And at this point we do have to ask, and I'm sure many of you have already been asking, is the use of makeup in this way blackface? Well, yes but also, no? Historically, blackface was when white performers would use makeup to impersonate black people usually in order to mock them through stereotypes and caricatures.

as well as to exploit their appearance and culture while at the same time denying them any actual participation or respect. There's a lot of very real baggage that's gonna come whenever you raceswap, but context does matter. For example, Robert Downey Jr.

in Tropic Thunder plays an actor who

Undergoes surgery in order to play a black character.

The whole point being to take the

Piss out of method actors who go too far and he's called out for it multiple times in the film.

Tugg: "I don't believe you people" Kirk: "Huh! What do you mean, 'you people?'".

Alpa: "What do you mean, 'you people?'" Kirk: "Huh?". CJ: And when it comes to 'Black. White.', and also what those journalists did, it isn't black face in the sense of say Justin Trudeau or those old cartoons that Disney and Warner Brothers would rather we forget about. *chuckle* I love that these are marked as being for kids. But back to our subject matter, the intention isn't to mock but to disguise oneself in order to experience life as a member of a marginalised group, highlight differences in how they're treated and shed some light on the continuing existence of racism. Which is a noble goal, even if the method is somewhat cringy? I don't know man, I think you can definitely take it too far and end up with someone like Rachel Dolezal. Reporter: "Are you African American?". Rachel: "I don't- I don't understand the question".

CJ: I think the more important question to ask though is: Was this really necessary? When Griffin did it, it arguably was. On the whole, white people wouldn't listen to or believe black people when they talked about racism and black people wouldn't talk to white people about racism because they were so afraid there'd be repercussions. Griffin knew that disguising himself was theonly way he was gonna be able to collect honest testimonies from black people about their experiences in the south. He would then use his privileged status as a white man in a racist society to tell the truth about how bad things really were. As well as encouraging fellow caucasions to listen to black people themselves. But in 2006? Mmm, not so much. How we think about and analyse racism continues to evolve, and the emphasis is rightfully more on hearing from black people themselves. And the topic of raceswapping is now so controversial that it overshadows any positive result that such an experiment might achieve.

Another huge difference, of course, is that Sprigle and Griffin were putting themselves in very real danger by doing what they did. Yeah, it turns out that racists don't actually like having their racism pointed out. Griffin for example had an effigy of him burned in his hometown, was beaten up by a group of white men wielding chains, and had to move with his family to Mexico for years to escape all the death threats. But of course the producers of a reality TV show aren't going to let anything like that happen to their cast members, and the chances of it happening were much smaller than in the past anyway. But it does mean that their taking such a controversial step has far less weight and thus power of persuasion than it would have had in the civil rights era. And there's also the more fundamental question of why does one need to live in the skin of a minority, if such a thing is even possible, in order to grasp why racism is bad. Why not just listen to them, or why not just hook up cameras and mics onto black people as they go about their daily lives, and see if, and in what forms, they experience racism. That might have been a much more acceptable and effective format for a modern audience.

But lets not bullshit, they're using the controversy to sell the show. That's what it's all about, this is reality TV after all. These are pretty complicated and sensitive topics, and it isn't my intention to do more than dip my toe into this political quagmire. There's only so much I'm gonna be able to say about these issues anyway because I am, unfortunately, British. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! *Rule Brittania plays*. And in any case, we're not really here to talk about racism, we're here to talk about a bad show. I've had to leave a lot of stuff out because otherwise we'd be here until racism is actually non-existent. Which is a depressing thought.

So if you want a more in-depth discussion of this show from the perspective of a person of colour, go check out Jarvis Johnson's series of articles on it.

Now, the most obvious stand out feature

Of the show is that raceswapping makeup.

So lets talk about that for a bit. And upon seeing this, I know what some of you immediately thought of. Kevin: "Brittany and Tiffany Wilson-" *crashing sounds*. Kevin: "Sorry. Um um They're new.". CJ: That's not a coincidence by the way, since all but two members of 'Black.

White.'s makeup department had previously worked on 'White Chicks', which explains a few things. According to the DVD commentaries, of which I'm probably only like the third person to listen to, the transformations seem to have been a very complicated process. Because unlike in a film where shooting angles and lighting can be tightly controlled, they were trying to create an appearance that was convincing to the naked eye at all angles and all possible lighting conditions, which was a monumental task. They also had to take into account each individuals skin tones, the imperfections in their skin, their physical and mental state, and other variables, so they had to keep changing up their approach. This is why the makeup ended up looking different both throughout the day and between different days. It took most of the cast around 2 to 3 hours for makeup, but poor, unfortunate Rose, because of her skin, took between 4 to 5 hours. Every. Single.

Day. Just for comparison, this actor who played Grishnakh in Lord of the Rings spent around 4 to 5 hours in makeup to achieve this look, which should give you a rough idea of how complex this process must have been. Oh, and if you're that one person in the comment section whose gonna claim that I just compared orcs to black people, Please, please, I'm begging you here: please, do not reproduce. Something like this hadn't been done for television before, and maybe they did the best job they could given the circumstances, but, man, it just doesn't look good. Bruno ended up looking like a slightly less rapey Bill Cosby. Brian got given a 70s pornstar mustache because that's apparently what looked best on him? But it really makes him look like Eddie Murphy in that Saturday Night Live sketch. Carmen and Renee do not look convincing at all, they clearly look raceswapped. The crew got a lot of flak over Carmen's hairstyle, which they were told no self-respecting black woman would ever have, but again, apparently that's what worked best.

And of course they gave Renee a "Karen" wig. Nick looks okay? Except they made him look like that weird kid in class. You know the one. And for some reason they gave him braces, which he didn't need and, of course, he hated. And Rose looks passable, I guess? But given all the time it took, she should have. Man, Twitter loses their shit over hairstyles in article games, imagine what they'd've done to this girl. This show won an Emmy for its makeup by the way, just thought I'd throw that out there. Given how unconvincing most of them look, I'm not sure how everyone just bought it.

This could be because we know that they're raceswapped and if we didn't know that maybe we'd fall for it too? And to be fair, it is a really awkward conversation to have with someone. At least on camera, no one seems to have noticed or taken an issue with it. Except for one guy in a poetry class who gets disgusted at Rose after she tells them the truth, and the others loudly rebuke him for this.

Unless they edited out all the other

Bad reactions because, y'know, that would make them look bad.

But as bad as the makeup is

And as much as it makes us want to wince and whisper: "is this ok? like, i don't know, like, is this i'm not feeling 100% comfortable in this situation, like "is this is this ok?".

That's arguably the least controversial or cringeworthy thing about the show. Yes, it actually goes downhill from this! Going back to the show's premise, the idea is to explore racism and race relations in a post-millenial America, particularly in a more liberal and progressive area like LA. Producer R.

J. Cutler said he wanted to stimulate discussion and debate around these issues and *chuckles*. Well, he most certainly did. But the problem is that the public discussion revolved mostly around the issue of raceswapping, with the other topics being left by the wayside. There's a reason this kind of series hasn't been made since. The show admittedly does have some revealing moments where racist attitudes do indeed surface. For example, at Brian's first day as a bartender in a predominantly white bar, a customer spouts off a bit of thinly veiled bigotry. Customer: "Well this is pretty much a white area, so you won't have any problems *unintelligable* "And this is one of the last somewhat unaffected bastions of middle-class caucasion America inside Los Angeles".

Brian: "I think that if I wasn't white (?) of course I wouldn't get that kind of information "but, because he thought I was white, he had that comfort zone, he spilled his guts. "I was really blown away for him to say all that to me. It was tough. "I know there is some people like that, but you wanna think of this as a much better place.". CJ: Renee later goes to the same bar and has a similar conversation with another patron. CJ: Much later, Carmen and Rose go to a white neighbourhood while in black makeup and experience being treated differently than they had been before. Rose: "Every now and then, you would run into that person that wouldn't look at you. "Hi But like this, because it's my home area, it's weird.

"Hi Everybody just veered away. *chuckles* Holy [BLEEP] "Yeah that's what we go through sometimes". CJ: They look for a job in a clothing store and are treated with more impatience, scrutiny, and dismissal than they have been previously. Rose: "One of the hardest experiences was, basically, going in and being watched. I was asking lots of questions, "She kept shaking me off a little bit, like, y'know, like impatient, doing the light smile it felt like, like, "yeah, no, okay, okay, like, stop talking to me. Are you done yet?". Manager 1: "You know what? We've run out of applications". Rose: "Got it, thank you" Manager 2: "You're welcome".

Carmen: "What I detected in their faces and in their turning their heads away, was fear. "I can see how over time, that would either empower the hell out of me, or make me lose it.". CJ: And there are other moments that are worthy of discussion. Like Rose's struggles to fit in with her black slam poetry class because try as she might she'll never fully share their experiences. There are also discussions about the differences in how white and black people live and whether you can even say anything definitive about these issues at all without relying on generalisations and stereotypes, which is certainly food for thought. And there are indeed some positive moments on the show. Like Nick gaining a sense of confidence and awareness, Rose performing a poem in front of a big audience, and Renee making friends with a white woman and having some wholesome times.

Problem is that these good moments are

Entirely overshadowed by the many ways in which 'black.

White.' shits the bed harder than Amber Heard. The show's methodology, if you can even ascribe one to it, is deeply flawed. First off, as much as I understand that you have to keep things simple for the purpose of the experiment, you can't really just focus on race exclusively and treat it in isolation. Prejudice and privilege are very complex and there are many other factors that contribute to it such as class, wealth, sexuality, and culture. but 'Black. White.' assumes that everything can be reduced to black or white in sweeping generalisations, despite the shows claims that it doesn't do that, when the reality is way more complicated. So right off the bat, the show is far too narrow in its focus. Throughout the series, the participants put themselves in various situations to see how differently they are treated because of their race.

One big issue is that they don't do a before and after where they go to the same place both in and out of makeup or have both families go in one after the other, so we really don't get a basis for comparison. We just have to take their word for it when they say it's different. And for something that's meant to be documented on a TV show, it makes for a much less compelling case. Also, just putting on makeup doesn't mean that you become the other race except in the most superficial way. You're never gonna truly understand what it is to be a member of another race. Because it isn't just a few weeks worth of experiences, it's a whole lifetime of experiences, observations, and reactions that contributes to your self-consciousness as a member of a race in a particular society. You may not recognise those subtle signs of racism because you have no prior experience of it, and this does in fact happen in the show. And since only some of these scenarios were filmed with hidden cameras, the presence of cameras must have affected the results.

Because most racist people aren't admit to or act on it while obviously being recorded, except for the loud and proud racists who obviously aren't the focus here. Like, for example, Brian goes shoe shopping in white makeup and says that he recieved better service than he's ever had before. But of course the shop assistant is gonna give a good service; he's on camera! And some of these scenarios are just flat-out anti-climaxes. For instance, after many frustrating attempts to get Bruno to understand racism, Brian takes him to a white neighbourhood to see how many good samaritans will help them with their car trouble. This backfires, excuse the pun, because they do find a lot of people willing to help, which frustrates Brian while validating Bruno. Obviously you're not going to experience racism in every situation, but they keep striking out, and it makes you wonder why they even bothered to include this scene. On that note, lets move on to the show's editing and structure, which are both pretty bad. According to Cutler, around 2 and a half thousand hours of footage was shot, so naturally huge amounts would have to be cut.

Including some really cool stuff like Renee and Ryan talking to an ex-Nazi skinhead, which would have been really interesting to see. In favour of placing more emphasis on more inconsequential stuff like family drama than they should have. But that's what makes for more juicy car crash TV, I suppose. They played around with the timeline a lot, changing the order of scenes in order to make the episodes flow better, follow and establish narratives and character arcs, and reinforce or explore messages. But despite them doing this, the show still ends up confusing as fuck. It's poorly edited and paced, with events jumping around all over the place, not allowing us to get a firm sense of timing in the progression of events. The timeline is hard to follow, making the show frustrating to watch. It also means that sometimes entire episodes pass with little to no presence of certain participants, leaving you wondering whether they'd been temporarily banished to the shadow realm.

The editing keeps cutting away mid-conversation where they thought it would be more dramatic to do so, but depriving us of context and sometimes making the participants seem worse than they are.

And sometimes they cut between 2 different

Scenes or scenarios with no clear purpose, which further disrupts the flow of the episode.

And the first episode begins with a

Montage of exciting moments to get people hooked, but some of the editing is pretty manipulative.

Renee: "Oh you have lost your damn mind.". CJ: You'd think she was saying that at the Wurgels for doing something stupid, right? Nope, it's directed at Nick for buying an expensive watch. But it makes you wanna watch the show, right? But the main reason this show doesn't work is that it's so I know I've said this word a couple of times already, but it's true, it's so cringeworthy that it's genuinely painful to sit through. I wanted to book myself into one of those euthanasia clinics in Switzerland after witnessing some of what takes place. And this aspect of the show dwarfs everything else in comparison.

And this is due not just to the makeup and the scenarios but primarily due to the personalities involved. Cutler didn't want to just pick radicals or racists from either side since that would be too obvious. He wanted open-minded, progressive families to explore their perspectives, since this would be much more illuminating and not just low-hanging fruit, which is fair enough. I don't have a lot to say about the Sparks, they're mostly alright. Brian was the most enthusiastic about participating, while Nick wasn't that bothered, and it was interesting to see the generational divide between him and his parents. Brian: "You don't know the def- you don't know what racism is." Nick: "Not really.". Brian: "You don't know when you being discriminated against-". Brian: "-or any of that other stuff" Nick: "I don't pay attention to it".

Brian: "Do you know what it is? Do you know the meaning of it?" Nick: "No.". Nick: "I just don't, y'know, really see no point into the racism thing. Nick: "Y'know I'm not the racist person so all that stuff doesn't really matter to me. Nick: "Now I don't pay attention to racism in no way, but my parents, they experience it. I don't.". CJ: Nick is arguably the one who ultimately got the most out of this experience and he seems to have done alright for himself. But the LA-based Wurgels are where things get interesting. The name is deceptive because they actually have 3 last names between them.

And to make things more interesting, Bruno Marcotulli and Rose Bloomfield were both actors. Bruno: "I've actually dabbled in performance myself.". CJ: Rose was in 'The Princess Diaries 2'. Did you catch her? And here's one of Bruno's notable performances: Lenny: "And you wanna send 300 of this country's finest to mop up some dick jelly.". Bookstone (Bruno): "Highly toxic dick jelly.". CJ: I also kinda wanna know what's going on in this scene, but I'm afraid to ask. They somehow knew the casting director on the show, which is how they got an interview in the first place. And in fact, they were the first white family to be interviewed.

It's impossible to shake the suspicion that there was at least some degree of nepotism involved. And I also can't help but wonder to what extent they thought this project would help their careers, because, if anything, it was the opposite. Rose at least seems to have had her heart in the right place, saying the things that an audience would have inevitable been thinking. Rose: "Do we really wanna be, like, saying: ok, so, that's what most black people do therefore I should do it to blend in? "'cause I know that, like, all of us are trying to learn about the other race, "but it's so much in, like, the language of stereotype. "I don't wanna just be sending out [BLEEP].

"You can't act black; you are black.".

CJ: She's a bit naive at times, and she does occasionally embarrass herself and commit a few accidental faux-pas. And I cannot let her attempts to freestyle rap go unnoted.

Rose *rapping to music*: "It's really nice to see you say something that I haven't heard, "But I'm gonna tell you one thing that is true. Here's what I've seen today, y'all faces make me ha-ppy. "But it's all I got, so here's my words, I'm gonna be shot. "You know you rhyme much better than I do and you've got much beat.". CJ: Couldn't've said it better myself. Despite this, for the most part she seems to have had her head on straight. Although the less charitable side of me is inclined to think that she was just excited to go slumming for a bit before returning to her life of privilege. That's just the vibe I got sometimes.

But it's the Wurgel adults who are primarily responsible for turning this already questionable project into a dumpster fire of unintentional hilarity and awkwardness. Rose: "My mom and Bruno don't exactly spend a lot of time with black people, "so I think I'm a little nervous that they might say the wrong thing.". Carmen: "We all like breasts. We all like our momma's bodies. "And there's a sexual immaturity that's going on there, I think, that just hasn't been satisfied yet.". CJ: What the fuck are you talking about? Bruno and Carmen are insufferable, and consistently an embarrassment to the rest of us mayonnaise munchers. Bruno: "Being black is a very subtle thing. Y'know, do the head kinda, y'know.".

CJ: Trust me when I say you're only seeing a small sample of all the bullshittery they display. Carmen: "Isn't it then the white slave and you all start jiving- jiving? (?)" *Murmurs of "no"*. Brian: *Laughs* "See? That's white. That's very white.". CJ: Y'know how in Jordan Peele's film 'Get Out' the whole idea was to criticise and make fun of white liberals who loudly proclaim how non-racist they are but actually do hold quite racist attitudes and don't actually respect black people? Well that's Carmen and Bruno. Carmen: "I was raised in a very liberal home, and my folks were involved with the Civil Rights Movement. "So I had compassion for people who have suffered. "By putting on another skin, I wanted to have a sense of what it's like to be black.".

Bruno: "Uh, blacks are superior. You know, physically, uh, hands down, "they're faster, they leap higher; they're just awesome. Awesome athletes.". CJ: On many occasions they treat the experiment like a joke. Carmen: "The whole idea of becoming black does, for some reason, give me permission "to be more outrageous, in ways, and I like that.". CJ: Like when Renee and Carmen go to buy outfits to wear to a black church and Carmen immediately gravitates towards the most African looking outfit: a dashiki. Renee: "Wow, a white woman wanting to wear an African outfit.

"Why she wanna do it? She trying

To make a statement? "or is she inquisitive about our race, like we're just so different, like, alien? carmen: "i thought: that would be beautiful, i could see bruno and i both donning these and feeling comfortable, "and almost regal.".


CJ: Ugh, Jesus.

Brian: "Why don't they just, uh, dress like Aunt Jemima on the syrup bottle and get it over with.". Renee: "What he gonna dress up as?" Brian: "Well he can dress like Uncle Ben.". Renee: "She wanted to." Brian: "No I want him to wear it". Brian: "because I want them to see how ridiculous they are because "if that's their impression of black then they are That's garbage.". CJ: They don't end up wearing the dashikis, thank Christ, but they do act way too enthusiastic like they're children playing dress-up. Carmen in particular seems like she's uncomfortable around black people, and is overcompensating as a result. Carmen: "Yeah, I love black.

I mean, visually and somehow heart-wise, there's a warmth.". CJ: Which leads to her repeatedly putting her foot in her mouth. Like wanting to touch a black woman's hair, which is a very weird and intrusive thing to do. And it is sometimes funny to watch her flail around in ignorance. Like thinking that a wax figure of a Black Panther member is actually one of the Jackson Five. Carmen: "I think I suffer from whiteness." CJ: I'm not gonna argue with you there. And sometimes she seems weirdly off. Carmen: "I think I have more of an appreciation or an understanding of what it is to be black.".

CJ: Why- *chuckles* Why did you say it like that? And then, there's Bruno. Where to start with Bruno? Bruno: "I wasn't acting black, I was, uh, acting like Bruno. I think I represent the black race well.". CJ: If anything would get this show cancelled today, it's Bruno. This man is a walking gold mine of oofs. Bruno: "Hey white man.". CJ: He was the most enthusiastic about being on the show, and I have no faith that it was for the right reasons. Carmen: "I say we look more alike.".

Bruno: "I hope you're not saying that all black people look alike, that [BLEEP] ain't gonna fly.". Carmen: "Bruno, don't piss me off.". CJ: Bruno explains himself as taking the view that you get out of life what you put into it and that with hard work, anything is possible. Bruno: "My theory is it starts with, y'know, personal responsiblity: you get out of life what you put into it.". CJ: On the face of it, that's not unreasonable, but this worldview also leads him to believe that you'll never experience discrimination if you don't go looking for it, effectively denying the reality and effects of racism and blinding him to its presence. Bruno: "What I totally believe is it's the individual, regardless of whether he's white or black.". Bruno: "My buddy from- that I play ball with. Big guy, and black, and he says: I've never experienced racism.

"Maybe they do hate black people, uhh, or maybe they just, y'know, their husband slapped them that morning.". CJ: Something that causes many arguments with Brian. Brian: "I know when I'm being [BLEEP] because I'm black or when somebody having a bad day "and that's the thing that you won't grasp, that you won't understand, "because you wanna debate every god damn thing that we sit up in here here and say.".

CJ: You know how some white people

Just really want to be able to say the n-word with no repercussions? well bruno really, really, wants an n-word pass.

Bruno: "I look forward to having someone say 'hey [BLEEP]', y'know, 'you're a [BLEEP], I hate you [BLEEP]' "and I just look at them and go: Gee, why- why d'you call me that? Ugh. And that would be the end of it.". CJ: Because it's such a casual thing for some random guy to start hurling racial slurs at you. After going to a black comedy show and not understanding any of the jokes, of course, Bruno bitches about not being able to say the n-word.

Bruno: "We watch this whole comedy show and everybody's saying [BLEEP]. It's just it's like this fear.". Carmen: "We don't have the right to use that, it's completely different.". CJ: He either doesn't understand why it's not okay for white people to use the n-word, or he does understand and just wants excuses to say it anyway. Like when they go to an all-black focus group, what could possibly go wrong? The Wurgels listen to black people giving their opinions on race relations and their experiences of marginalisation and then Bruno comes in like a fucking wrecking ball. Bruno: "Y'know I used to work as a doorman at a disco, y'know, and there's somebody who came up intoxicated, "didn't have the right dress on, y'know, I say c'mon [BLEEP]" *gasps*. "Now just, y'know, mhmm yeah that's right I'm a [BLEEP].". CJ: He's like that weird uncle you just don't invite to christmas dinner anymore.

Bruno: "Y'know it just wouldn't affect me, and that would be the end of the conflict, just like that.". Bruno *muffled*: "Because I wouldn't give it the power". CJ: Yeah, bro, that's because it didn't fucking happen to you. Bruno: "If you don't empower the people that call you the n-word by getting upset, you win, "and the idiot that just called you that doesn't have any power.". CJ: Thank you Bruno for telling black people not to get upset upon hearing the n-word, I'm sure they'll declare you their king any day now. This obsession with the gamer word causes problems particularly with Brian who has a serious problem with it. Bruno: "Y'know he says: hey [BLEEP]." Brian: "When I hear the n-word, my jaws clench up.". Brian: "Y'know what I had to go through, growing up, the word still gets me.

It's powerful.". CJ: Bruno is also rather obtuse and contentious. In one episode he and Carmen go to a predominantly white cowboy themed bar while in black makeup, causing them to get some weird looks from the white patrons. Carmen: "I was aware I'm not wanted. I am not wanted or regarded well in this community and it did not feel good.". CJ: But Bruno doesn't notice a thing, because he's Bruno. Bruno: "I was looking, I was behind these eyeballs, my brain was working, I was sitting there playing pool with white people, "talking to white people, and I was black. Nobody cared.".

CJ: And his atitude is basically 'get over it'. Bruno: "Racism, prejudice, feeling supressed; you can wallow in it or you can move on with your life.". Bruno: "Nobody owes anybody anything.". CJ: Carmen then confronts him about being excluded from his high-school basketball team because he was white. Despite him acknowledging how frustrating and unfair that was for him, he still doesn't get it.

Bruno: "What are you gonna do about

It." carmen: "what are you gonna do about it? carmen: "what did you do about it?" bruno: "what d'you think i'd do about it? i moved on".

CJ: Maybe he should've got a negroplasty

Like kyle from south park.

And then he goes to talk to musician Fernando Pullham to get his experiences as a successful black man.

While in black makeup, of course. Which is pointless because Fernando knows he's white, so all it does is make the scene more ridiculous. And like a bull in a china shop, Bruno has absolutely no chill. Bruno: "Y'know the whole slavery thing, and you owe us and affirmative action "and it seems to go from generation to generation to generation of: so how are we responsible for those in the black community? "If- that are less successful, less affluent. How long can you continue to play the race card, "and come up from a place of pity, instead of: y'know what? Do what you need to do, "so that when you go out in the world, you can get a job.". CJ: If you guys remember my Karen article, this is the stuff that the fictional, exaggerated caricature was saying. Fernando tries to educate him, but Bruno ploughs straight ahead. Bruno: "And dad, if he's around, ok, we all know in the black community, blacks oft-, or the dads often take off.".

CJ: Just look at this man's face, that expression says it all. Bruno: "I think there's a big lapse in the black community where, as a whole, "there isn't a promotion of the values that you're talking about. CJ: And at this point Fernando is so done. Think John Boyega and Star Wars levels of over it. Fernando: "That's too large of a blanket that you have thrown over the whole culture. "And that in itself, to me, sounds racist.". CJ: And Bruno really doesn't like that accusation. Bruno: "Who's up their going-" *Commotion* "Let me finish my statement!" *Fernando accepts*.

Bruno: "Who's going 'yo, yo, yo [Bleep]s and hoes.'. Fernando: "Bruno, we can't agree on anything I just think you're full of crap. "I don't know how your wife can put up with you because I can- I sense that you'll be insensitive in other areas.". CJ: Thank you, at least someones said it. This is far from the only time he's massively insensitive, like when he and Brian go to a predominantly white bar while raceswapped. Bruno: "Would you be less apt to consider a long-term, baby in the future, relationship with a black guy, "due to the fact that they are notorious for not sticking around and taking care of their families.". CJ: Uh, You know Brian is right there, although that's probably half of why he said it. Bruno: "Is the myth true? Are black men more endowed than white men?".

CJ: I guess this is why we don't talk about Bruno. Was that what that song's about? I dunno. I'm too old for that shit. Sometimes it's obvious that he's uncomfortable around black people, especially groups of them. At one point, Brian takes him to meet a group of black men playing dominoes, in order to socialise with them and learn a bit more about the black community. But Bruno doesn't even try to step out of his comfort zone and get involved. Bruno: *sighs* "Yeah- I did- y'know, I got agitated.". Bruno: "I'm not uncomfortable being around black people, but they're all different kinds of black people.

"If they're smoking, drinking, loud-talking, ebonic speaking black people, that's not my element.

"I didn't fit in because I don't-

I have no passion, or, no desire to learn the game of dominoes.

"Whether they were black of white, I mean that's just- that's a world that I don't belong to.". CJ: Yeah, sure mate, whatever you say. I honestly believe that Bruno's main motivation was to fuck around and troll everyone. Bruno: "Block up the door we don't want the black people stealing anything" *Carmen and Bruno chuckle*. CJ: Oh you want more proof? Well, be careful what you wish for, because Bruno made a rap article. Bruno: "It's called 'midlife rap'.

"I thought, y'know, the middle-aged guy or the middle-aged person should have an opportunity to speak "his or her mind as well, and it's sort of a- sort of a commentary on the today's rap scene. CJ: Oh yes. Now prepare yourself for the whitest thing you have ever seen. You're welcome. Bruno *rapping, poorly*: "I'm a midlife rapper, and I rap from A to Z, "I'm middle-aged and dapper with a vocabulary, no I don't wear giant golden chains, baggy pants half down my butt.". CJ: Was that really necessary, Bruno, to get your point across? Is it really necessary? No, I'm not sure it was. Bruno *still rapping*: "I don't disrespect the ladies, I don't call them hoes and sluts." *'Sluts' echoes* "I tell tales that are squeaky clean, I stay out of police stations." *'Stations' echoes* "I work hard to feed my children well, teach some lessons about life. "You slap your so called [BLEEP] and not stab them once or twice.".

CJ: This is like a boomer facebook meme brought to life. Bruno *rapping*: "I don't blame anyone for my plight, I don't blame the man who's done me wrong, "I don't wave my hands all around, I don't bend my fingers up and down, I don't mumble incoherently, "I don't wear a big ol' nasty frown" *'frown' echoes*. CJ: Truly the hottest track since this banger: Jim: "My rhymes are fly, my beats are sick; my crew is big and it keeps getting bigger, "That's 'cause Jesus Christ is my-". Bruno: "Yo!" *'yo' echoes". CJ: He was clearly trying to provoke a reaction with this, but the Sparks just thought it was too stupid to get offended by it. Renee: "It didn't even bother me, I just thought like, *laughing* how ridiculous you are.". CJ: If he wanted to use this to secure his 15 minutes of fame, then he certainly didn't hold back. Bruno: "Don't have much to say, negro.".

CJ: We've spent a lot of time on Bruno, but he really is that bad. Brian: "I honestly, deep down inside, think that Bruno is racist.". CJ: I suppose the benefit of having someone like Bruno on the show is that he voices opinions that many other white Americans might hold but would be too ashamed to admit. So because Bruno doesn't give a fuck, we're forced to have a conversation about them out in the open, rather than just ignore them. But let's be honest, the producers knew exactly what they were doing. Again, this is reality TV. They deliberately set up, if not all, then at least some of these scenarios knowing that conflict and cringe would result. Like, you can't tell me that they didn't know how the meeting between Bruno and Fernando was gonna go down.

The families would also be put in situations like the race focus groups or Rose's slam poetry group before they've had a chance to learn about the other culture and know what to say, so of course massive amounts of awkwardness are going to result. And these two families were obviously gonna come into conflict and I have no doubt that the producers matched them accordingly. Renee: "I think, really though, him and, um, Carmen, they don't have no class, no manners whatsoever.".

CJ: The kids are mostly alright, but

As far as the adults are concerned, there isn't much compromise or attempts to see things from the other side which means that little progress gets made.

Let's take one example of conflict, which

The crew refer to as 'the bitch fight'.

That's really what they called it, I'm not making that up. In episode 2, the families meet with dialect coaches in order to help them speak more white or black, whatever that means, and Carmen says "Yo, bitch." to Renee in a jokey way because it was on the list of black terms. Carmen: "Yo, bitch.

Yo, bitch. "I really had thought that that was an affectionate name between blacks, 'Yo, bitch.' "I don't know where I got that, I've got a certain naivety, frankly, going on, I haven't hung out with black women.". Renee: "I took it as though she deliberately called me that, because, c'mon, she's not that stupid "that she didn't know that she wasn't to call me that.". CJ: No, I think you're giving her too much credit. Carmen tries to apologise and explain that she didn't know that it was inappropriate in that context, but Renee doesn't accept that, thinking that Carmen just wanted an excuse to say it to her. Renee: "But I'm not one to be [BLEEP] with, I'm serious.". Given the context, I do think this was a bit of an overreaction on Renee's part, but also given how Carmen has acted elsewhere, she probably did jump at the opportunity to say a naughty word. This leads to an argument betwen the families in which Carmen gets very emotional and defensive.

Renee: "But that's not being in black-" Carmen: "I didn't know that." *Overlapping shouting from multiple parties*. Carmen: "I didn't know not to say that, so it came out like 'Yo, Bitch'. "And then you didn't respond: 'Did I say something wrong?'. But you're continuing to hold onto it-" *Shouting resumes*. CJ: A meeting of the minds is never established, Renee mostly writes Carmen off from this point, and this incident gets brought up repeatedly throughout the series. With the crux of the issue being not so much that Carmen did it, but that she can't admit that she was wrong. Arguably a far worse case comes up later in episode 2, when they decide to hold Rose's poetry class at the house. It's all going nice and well, so naturally Carmen has to smash her way through the tranquility like the Kool-Aid man in a funeral home.

Carmen: "The immediacy of your love, and the availability of your heart, and a powerful black man's physique.". CJ: Um, why are you talking about him like he's a stripper, or, like, a zoo animal? Carmen: "And I don't get you. You're off the charts. Are you gay or straight? CJ: I really hope I don't have to explain why that was inappropriate. Carmen: "Moved by the beauty of this magnificent black creature." "You ok there, honey?" "No." *muffled*. CJ: Everyone looks shocked and uncomfortable, the Sparks are totally embarrased, and the guests quickly nope the fuck out. It's a bit no bueno to compare black people to animals, and this causes an argument that continues into the following day, with Carmen and Bruno denying that she did anything wrong. Carmen: "Well, we- they already knew that whites are insensitive and ignorant, I heard that from the beginning "and you're coming here to prove that we say stupid things, something like that.".

CJ: The Wurgels constantly say beautiful creature as opposed to beautiful black creature, which is what Carmen actually said and what makes all the difference here. Carmen: "You're saying 'beautiful creature' was offensive to someone?". Brian: "Beautiful black creature is the same as-" Carmen: "Did I call her that?". Brian: "Yes, you did." Carmen: "Did I say beautiful black- ok.". Bruno: "The other comment of, uh, gorgeous creature-". CJ: Either they're completely missing the point, or they know how badly she fucked up and are trying to cover her ass. Bruno: "You're just not familiar with that term, right?".

Bruno: "Whoever it bothered is, and I

Mean this in the nicest way, ignorant, "because they are not familiar with the term 'gorgeous creature'.".


CJ: Rose tries to mediate, but Carmen blows up at her, clearly agitated about being criticised. Carmen: "It was not about being politically [BLEEP] correct." Rose: "I know that.". Carmen: "And it was not about choosing my goddamn *shouting* [BLEEP] words!". Carmen: "I'm- no- I'm really upset. No, I am. Do not correct me right now, I mean it. I don't want to have to choose my words. "And I was coming from total love.

If you misinterpreted it, that is on you.". CJ: She's channeling some serious Karen energy, and I doubt this is the only time this side of her has come out. I feel so bad for Rose. So once again the conversation goes nowhere and no understanding is reached. All because Carmen couldn't get over her defensiveness and just admit that she fucked up. Brian: "I don't mind that Carmen was wrong, but you guys won't admit that she was wrong.". CJ: And then there's all the arguments between Bruno and Brian, with Bruno's attitude and continual minimalisation of racism angering Brian. Brian: "That's [BLEEP], you're sitting there and you wanna sit on the little lily white pedestal, "and say [BLEEP] is not happening in the world and that's [BLEEP]".

CJ: And Bruno clearly isn't actually interested in hearing what Brian has to say or having his beliefs challenged. To try to help Bruno see things from his point of view, Brian takes him out to see how differently people react to him as a black man. This also kinda backfires because when they go into a store, Bruno assumes that the employee is just being very attentive and helpful, but based on his experiences, Brian sees that as the employee being suspicious and keeping an eye on them. But Bruno can't even entertain that notion. Bruno: "I think from your reaction today, you're looking for it. "If you come into a place and you've got this resentment, and this expectation of prejudice, it's gonna find you. CJ: That's really not how prejudice works though, is it mate? Bruno: "You see what you want to see." Brian: "And you don't see what you don't want to see.". CJ: And this pattern repeats ad nauseam throughout the 6 episodes.

As a result, much like your typical argument over politics at thanksgiving, the show is frustrating, exhausting, and sometimes infuriating to watch. Renee said she almost quit the show twice, and it got so bad that the families bring in a therapist to help them work through their issues. But the same incidents and emotions get brought up again and again and no progress is made. By the final episode, the families are sick of one another and just want to go home. Carmen: "Things are so strained in the house. I think we've all had it with each other.". CJ: They decide to write letters to each other to talk about their feelings, experiences, and what they've learned. Bruno: "I guess, maybe, I've offended, y'know, a lot of people, but, um, I gotta be me.".

CJ: It goes about as well as you'd expect.

Bruno blasts Renee in his letter, calling

Her rigid, narrow-minded, petty, and self-righteous.

While Brian and Renee say that they

Learned nothing from carmen and bruno, to which they, of course, take offence.

Carmen: "That seems like crap to me. That's kind of a slap in the face on both of us.". CJ: The following session with the therapist devolves into another heated argument. Brian: "I knew what you were doing, you were trying to put sugar on shit yesterday, but I understood what you were doing.". Bruno: "You didn't understand." *Incoherent shouting*.

Brian: "Because, to me, I don't think in this whole project, to me, Bruno has even tried.". CJ: And despite the therapist's attempts to provide a positive lesson, the session ends on a sour note. Desperate to salvage an uplifting ending to this fiasco, in the final episode, after an emotional poetry performance by Rose, and an educational trip to the Museum of Tolerance for Nick, there's a few scenes of them making nice so that we can have some upbeat soundbites. Brian: "Ultimately Bruno and I don't see eye-to-eye on many things, but we do have a mutual respect for each other, "and actually I'm glad that their family was on this project with us.". Renee: "To me, which is hard, is to like, forgive, and I can say that I have forgave Carmen.". CJ: Bear in mind that 10 minutes earlier in the episode these people were having heated arguments with each other. So thanks to the editing, this all seems so sudden and forced. And then on the last day of the project, everyone gathers at the house for a bunch of nice speeches.

And it concludes with the participants giving their thoughts on the issues explored by the show. Rose: "I have hope that racism can end. I have doubt that it will anytime soon." 'Black. White.' wants things to end on a nice optimistic note, but that doesn't change the fact that pretty much everytime there's a heartfelt moment, genuine communication, or valuable lesson, the show then fucking torpedoes itself. For instance, some of the kids in Nick's etiquette use the n-word in front of him, and although he says he doesn't care, his face suggests that he's uncomfortable. Later, his parents have a discussion with them about the appropriateness of white people using the n-word. And it's quite productive and you think things are moving in a more positive direction, and then this scene is immediately followed by Bruno's rap. To give another example, when Renee goes with her white friend to the same bar Bruno and Carmen went to, and some white guy starts supporting police brutality and racial profiling, her friend puts him in his place, which impresses Renee.

And it's a pretty cool moment. But then the very next scene is Bruno and Brian arguing about slavery and reparations, which, again, doesn't go much better than that scene in the Karen movie. Bruno: "We've all been enslaved, ok, I don't think cheques have been flying around for anybody. "Get off it. Please. Get a job.". CJ: So, yeah, the show ends up being very confusing and contradictary in its messaging. Even though Rose points out that not all white or black people act the same, when it comes to them trying to act white or black, they do fall back on stereotypes.

Bruno: "Something in the walk. "Y'know, I was thinking, kinda, how a white guy's sorta more straight, whereas a black is sorta like-". Brian: "Just a little- That's not really bad." Bruno: "Just a little bit of roll.". CJ: Ah yes, the exaggerated swagger of a black teen. They say they don't want to do stereotypes and then proceed to do very stereotypical things like golfing, knitting, bible study, etiquette classes, and so on.

If anything, it reinforces stereotypes in an unhelpful manner.

And you could even make a case that it depicts more explicit racism directed towards white people than against black people. Like when Bruno and Carmen walk through a black neighbourhood as a mixed race couple and experience a sense of exclusion and hostility.

Carmen: "And some people started reacting to Bruno, and Diana had her immediate interpretation:". Diana: "These are the african-americans that are so pro-black and african, "when they saw us walking, the only thing they saw was a black man coming up in the community with a white woman.". CJ: There may be long-standing historical reasons for that mindset but it's still bigotry. Carmen gets very upset at this reaction, but understands thats the feeling many black people have experienced when they go into some all-white spaces. But of course Bruno uses it to reinforce what he already believes. It would have been very interesting to see how Brian and Renee would have reacted in that situation, but that doesn't happen. On that note, as we've already seen, Brian gets angry with Bruno's insistence that he and Renee are actively looking for racism. But then when they go to a fancy restuarant in white makeup, they see a white woman leaving her purse on the bar while she goes to the bathroom.

They have a short conversation with her before saying that she wouldn't have done it if they were black and sitting at the bar. Even if that might be true, they have no evidence that she would've treated them differently, and it's hard not to conclude that they've just read racist attitudes into her behaviour. Bruno: "You know, I'm like: that's some white [BLEEP].". CJ: And whether or not its based on their prior experiences, it's still unfair, and kinda supports Bruno in his dismissive worldview. This is where having a before and after would've been really helpful guys! So I really don't know what we were supposed to get out of this show? But maybe we weren't supposed to get anything out of it at all? But then why go to all the effort to frame some kind of positive message in the final episode? It ends up revealing more about attitudes towards racism than it does about racism itself.

And it really doesn't say anything more profound than "shit's complicated". Which I mean, duh? Interviewer: "What would be that one thing that you're taking away from this discussion?". Carmen: "Just more awareness, really.".

CJ: That's, uh, that's very insightful Carmen. Thank you. South Park summed it up much more succintly when they said: Stan: "I get it now: I don't get it. "I've been trying to say that I understand how you feel, but I'll never understand. "I'll never really get how it feels for a black person to have somebody use the n-word.". Stan: "I don't get it.". Tolkien: "Now you get it, Stan.". CJ: Neither side was ever gonna fully understand what it's like to be a member of a different race, or how it feels for them to experience prejudice.

But that's okay, you don't have to fully understand in order to "get it", so to speak. Which is why such a raceswapping project is both unnecessary and inherently limited in what it can achieve. And the taboo nature of the enterprise, as well as how awful it turned out to be in practice, undermines anything that it could have achieved. So "Black. White." ends up being this odd curiosity. A perhaps well-intentioned but still clickbaity and exploitative social experiment that's difficult to take your eyes off, but for all the wrong reasons. And tries to be an insightful and personal look at very real issues that are still affecting contemporary society, but just ends up repeatedly smashing its face into a brick wall.

The images that are gonna be seared

Into your mind after watching this show are not the instances of subtle or unsubtle racism, but how terrible the makeup looked, and bruno's arsecrack.

Which makes the inclusion of a study

Guide on the dvd pretty optimistic.

What were the kids gonna learn, how to inoculate themselves from second-hand embarrassment? Although let me know in the comments if this was shown in your school, I'd be curious to know how that went. But since FX is now owned by Disney, "Black.White." can proudly takes its place as part of the Disney canon, alongside "Song of the South". And I'll leave you with the 2nd whitest thing you've ever seen. Again, you're welcome. 

I'm middle-sized and dapper, but I'm not a furry. No I don't wear giant furry suits, those things look really sweaty. I'm not disrespecting the furrys, the dog thing just seemed like a good idea at the time. I've barely left the house since 2019, at the mercy of a massive corporation. I make articles that are squeaky clean, I avoid demonetisation *"-sation" echoes*. I work hard to make these articles, to bring trash into your life. So please do like and subscribe, and don't be a Bruno type. I don't blame anyone for my plight, except because they do kinda suck sometimes.

I don't wave my hands all around, because that would be ridiculous, why would I do that? Oh yeah, it's because I embarrass myself for money online *"-line" echoes*. Yo! *"Yo" echoes, music fades out*. CJ *normally*: Heh, I'm gonna force my kids to watch this someday. Randy: "At least we had a fun trip, huh, gang? Sharon: "I can't believe you said the n-word on national television.". Randy: "Wha-? Well what was I supposed to do Sharon, I thought I was gonna make 30 thousand dollars!". CJ: What's up folks, it's me, ya boy. Back from my long slumber in the frozen wasteland that is upstate New York in the winter, and back to making articles. I hope you enjoyed this one.

There's a whole bunch of things that've changed on my end, but the most important thing I wanna announce for now is that I've started a second channel. Like an actual second channel, as opposed to the stream archive. It's called "Cynical Seconds" and it's gonna be for more casual, off-the-cuff, vlog style articles, and any other lower effort content that I wanna make, but doesn't belong on the main channel. Right now, there's a article me trying out a bunch of American snacks, with mixed results. I'll leave a link in the description. Oh, and I also now have a PO box, so you guys can send me shit! Whether that be movies you want me to watch or review, randon gifts, or even a bag of gummy dicks. Whatever you fancy. And if I get enough stuff, I'll do unboxing articles on the second channel.

I'm hoping I won't regret this decision. I've also now got a letterboxd account, so if you wanna know my opinions on movies that I don't get a chance to make a article on, that's where to go. I'm also gonna try streaming on a bit more regularly than I have done in the past, in addition to my Twitch streams.

Some of these will just be casual

Gaming streams, while others will be me viewing and reacting to content that i might want to cover, or anything else that i think might be relevant for you guys.

Including a more in-depth look at every single episode of "Black. White.", which I'll try to do pretty soon after this article goes up. So hopefully that's something you guys are interested in as well. If you did enjoy the article, please do consider supporting me on Patreon or becoming a channel member here on .