‘Black. White.’ stirs up campus

By Patricia Sheehan AnnMarie Cha
March 16, 2006

Cabrini, as peaceful and as uncontroversial as it may try to be, still faces the same issues dealing with race as other schools and communities. As hard as the campus tries to continue to live happily and safely, the community has to look outside of the Cabrini bubble.

“Black. White.,” the new, controversial, reality-based show hosted by the FX Network, is making quite a stir after its groundbreaking premiere March 8.

The show is about two very different families, one white, one black, who change the color of their skin and see the world through the eyes of the opposite race, with the help of professional makeup artists.

History and political science professor Darryl Mace said, “I think [the show] is a really good idea. I think that sometimes people are afraid to talk about race, and this show will make people see the issues first-hand.”

The Sparks and the Wurgles, the two families chosen for the experiment, share a home in California during the taping of the show. This gives viewers the opportunity to see how each family member will react to people’s perception of the two races.

During the premiere of the show last week, students reacted with mixed feelings about the topic and the characters. Some felt that the producers were just emphasizing the stereotypes each race deals with and wondered how these issues would be taken seriously. Others appreciated the fact that there was a show focusing on racial issues of the present day.

Senior marketing major Jason Moseley said, “I thought the show was interesting. I think the concept was based on geography and that you can go anywhere and find racism. You’re asking a small-town, white, country boy who grew up in the North if racism is an issue. But this was never a problem where I grew up. I think if you make it an issue, it’s an issue.”

Angie Peso, a junior history and political science major, said, “I didn’t watch the show because I thought it was stupid. Honestly, my first reaction was that it was not needed. There’s at least one person from every country in the world in the U.S. today. We’re the perfect example of what the world can be like if everyone worked together.”

Saleem Brown, an admissions counselor and Cabrini alum, disagreed and said, “I think it’s a good show. It’s good to see how someone would experience a day as another race than their own, but I wouldn’t want to do that because then I would be someone different than I am today.”

When asked about approaching people of different races, one of the characters said racism is not an issue unless you make it an issue and that people only judge you on how you present yourself.

Peso agreed and said, “Not only are people afraid of what’s different but also not being accepted by their peers.”

Brown said, “I think sometimes people don’t know how to approach those different than themselves due to people they’ve met before and stereotypes they formed.”

When asked about racial issues on campus and possible segregation, students had mixed reactions.

Sophomore English and communication major Justina Johnson said, “There’s segregation in the cafeteria, like jocks with jocks, preppies with preppies or just blacks and whites sitting separately.”

Brown said, “I don’t think there’s any segregation except maybe every sports player is sitting with their team. Someone like me could sit with the lacrosse players or the basketball guys. You sit with whomever you’re more comfortable with. I think some people are afraid to meet new people or just prefer to be alone.”

Mace said, “I am not sure the show will have any noticeable impact. As Americans, we tend to gravitate to something new and dismiss it as an old hat fairly quickly. I am not sure how the show will hold American viewers’ interest long enough to have a clear impact,” he said.

“Black. White.” airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. through April 12. Many Cabrini students are anxious to see how the series will conclude and whether it proves or disproves students opinions on racism.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to Loquitur@googlegroups.com. The editors will review your points each week and make corrections of warranted.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Patricia Sheehan AnnMarie Cha

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