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Black White

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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(Sep 12, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

What's it like to live in someone else's skin? Find out by watching this fascinating documentary series in which the African-American Sparks family (Brian, Renee and 16-year-old Nick) trades places with the Caucasian Wurgel family (Bruno, Carmen and 17-year-old Rose) thanks to an incredible visual transformation created by Hollywood make-up artists. The two families agree to share a home for the duration of a six-week social experiment that will challenge their beliefs and core values in ways they could have never imagined. Their unscripted experiences are often explosive, always intriguing and ultimately insightful...resulting in a totally unique cultural perspective that's anything but black-and-white!

Amazon.com

Black. White. tackles race relations in a perilously cosmetic way: A white family and a black family are made up as the opposite race, then have to live together to discuss and argue about their experiences. But though the show can hardly be called a rigorous analysis, it's striking how complicated even a skin-deep treatment of race becomes. Bruno, father of the white Wurgel family, is deeply entrenched in his belief that racism can be countered by any individual who approaches people with respect and openness; Brian, head of the black Sparks family, grows increasingly committed to opening Bruno's eyes to the racism that, when people think that Brian is white, becomes all the more naked. Carmen, overcompensating in her desire to join the black world, calls Renee an offensive name, thinking that it's a friendly African-American term. The kids--white Rose and black Nick--dive into deeper waters: Rose, whose makeup is perhaps the most convincing, joins an all-black slam poetry class, while Nick (who resists taking part in the exercise at all) takes an etiquette class for wealthy white teens. Many of the efforts to partake of the opposite culture are cliche (Renee, seeking whiteness, joins knitting and scrapbook classes), while others are laughable (Bruno makes a mid-life rap video). But even these demonstrate the interpersonal complexity of race and culture; as Renee tries to speak the same language as the knitters, the gap seems almost insurmountable--until Renee hits it off with the woman who runs the scrapbooking class and genuine communication starts to arise. Black. White. would be particularly appropriate for starting conversations with teenagers, as Rose and Nick are the most engaging "characters"--Rose is articulate about what she's going through, particularly when she decides to reveal her true race to the rest of her poetry class. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Six episodes on two discs
  • Ice Cube music video
  • Original casting videos
  • Make-up application slide show
  • "Rose's Poetry Slam" featurette
  • DVD-ROM: Study guides

Product Details

  • Actors: Rose Bloomfield, Bruno Marcotulli, Poetri, Brian Sparks, Nicholas Sparks
  • Producers: Eric Mofford, Jason Cornwell, Keith VanderLaan, Nisa Ahmad, Sarah N. Crouthamel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 273 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G6BL74
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,849 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Black White" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phil T. Miller on October 16, 2006
Format: DVD
An intriguing look at issues of race. Take a black family and turn them white. Take a white family and turn them black. Put them in a house to live together for the duration of the experiment, and place them into various situations (some, very racially charged) and watch as both races move slowly toward the center,

The first couple of episodes may cause you to form opinions on several of the participants, but stay with it. You will find that people can and do change their perspectives, even on topics as hot as race. The one who found a place in my heart was Rose, and I suspect you may grow attached to her as well. The other players have personalities that seem to be works in progress, but this seems to be a good thing, which adds to my fascination. I am awarding 5 stars only because it is worthy of 4 and a half but no such option exists.

Give this one a try and you may find that it is something you will want to share with your children. There is however some language that you may find inappropriate for younger viewers. Although most of the harsher language has been bleeped, more sensitive parents may find what is left to be too offensive.
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Hmm... This series is not very insightful in its entirety. The teenage girl had the most growth and learning experience. The couple who disguised as white especially the man thoughts overshadowed any learning. Also, the black couple who disguised as white make-up wasn't done well. They still looked black to me so their experience couldnt be completely genuine. The white couple who disguised as black, well, half was open to learning. The teenage boy...no comment. Overall, this was a miss.
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A fascinating marvel which is sure to be interesting, and possibly very frustrating, to watch. The make up alone is worth checking out the series and its pretty incredible that a little Hollywood movie magic can transform people off the screen so convincingly.

I am really surprised that there hasn't been more talk in the wake of this first airing on F/X years ago. As a person of mixed heritage myself, I found this to be a gripping social experiment, even aside from some of the stupid "reality show" un-reality that is created around it to make it good tv. I would love to see this viewed and discussed in seminars or classes, particularly those focused on the new buzzword "diversity." The DVD comes with an accompanying study guide, but I haven't examined its utility yet because there is plenty of stuff to get a heated debate going without it. It has been the source of some really good insights and conversations which change depending on the people watching by race, gender and generation.

I think this is potentially a marvelous tool for bridging the gap which still seems present between races (and perhaps even generations) today. I mean, how often does someone really get a chance to be someone else in such a way that will change the way OTHERS perceive you? I say "potentially" because there are a few pitfalls, and the elephant in the room is not so much a race issue, but a class issue as well - it is no accident that the people selected for this were upper-middle class families. It would change the entire dynamic in a slew of different ways to shift the economics of the situation. I will say though, that it is not an easy topic to tackle, and believe it or not, this is by far the most respectable reality-tv I've ever seen.
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The concept was a great idea, however I feel that they choose some of the worst people to make the show have drama. Some of the characters seem to highly on one spectrum and filled with complete ignorance. It could have been seen from showing how different people view racism/prejudice/stereotypes there were too many issues between the characters and some don't understand the purpose of it. Also the things that they have the children do to put them in the other races shows is not very normal in my opinion. i.e. How many white people go to etiquette school?
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to be honest i had never even heard of this show until i married my black husband. it could be one of the most interesting/insightful shows i have ever seen. this is a must see show for everyone... no matter what race. it just shows how differently we treat each other because of our skin color... sad!
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I was very pleased to receive this product just as it was promised at a very reasonable price. I am very glad to have found the DVD since I was using Netflix and since I show only a few clips a day owning the DVD is great.
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We Dutch people are pretty far in excepting other people's religion, colour, tradtions, etc. etc. So, it really struck me that the black vs. white issue is still so vived in the US! Wanne see what I mean?! Watch it!!!
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I found this profound study, Black. White., deeply fascinating. Unable to tear myself away, I stayed up until 3:30am. That it somewhat falls short in laying bare the hidden processes by which the participants arrive at each their conclusions curiously doesn't detract from the compelling nature and effectiveness of this work. Like mine, your feelings will probably veer back and forth, you will form and revise opinions as you go along and I recommend you see all six episodes to get the full value of what this series offers. Each is worth your time and my hat is off to the creators. I don't want to say too much so as not to spoil the impact and therapeutic value. I had expected this program to be informative, but it turned out to be so much more. I had not expected to be changed as a viewer, and yet, in the same way that the participants were changed inexplicably, so was I. And, lastly, I ended up loving each person.
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