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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 14, 2006 / 14 Adar

Trading races as boundaries fade

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Compared to its obvious inspiration, "Black Like Me," it's easy to knock "Black. White.," the new reality-show experiment in race relations on the Fox network's FX channel — and many people do.


"Nonsense masquerading as substance," scoffs USA Today critic Robert Blanco. Maybe it is. Or maybe it's a rare injection of substance into TV's usual nonsense.


Maybe, wrapped in its unreal "reality show" grab for drama, suspense and easy laughs, it might actually help us Americans learn something about how we get along or don't get along in our ethnic stir-fry.


In a twist on Fox's "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy," FX offers what might be called "Trading Races: Meet Your New Angst." Through the magic of modern Hollywood makeup, "Black. White." allows the black Sparks family of Atlanta, Ga., and the white Wurgel/ Marcotulli family of Santa Monica, Calif., to trade races in suburban Los Angeles.


Racial and ethnic passing are old themes in America, a land of ambitious border-crossers. Gregory Peck played a journalist who passed for Jewish in the 1947 film "Gentleman's Agreement," to expose everyday anti-Semitism. The real-life writer John Howard Griffin turned himself black with a doctor's help to tour the segregated South in 1959 for "Black Like Me."


Griffin's racial tourism offered few laughs. It was a relentlessly humiliating and ultimately death-defying experiment. Afterwards, he endured death threats for having challenged the South's racial apartheid.


Years later, Griffin's racial tourism compares to the 1986 movie "Soul Man" in much the same way that lightning is like a lightning bug. A spoof of the "Black Like Me" theme, "Soul Man" offers a white youth who passes for black to get an affirmative-action scholarship to Harvard. Although he eventually learns in typical Hollywood fashion that it's harder out here for a black dude than he thought, "Soul Man" squanders a great opportunity to get substantive for the sake of cheap laughs.


It might be easy for some to say the same about "Black. White." The participants obviously have a tougher time in this, the era of Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, etc., to find exciting video of racial conflict. The pilot episode, the only one I have seen, reaches for stereotypes while supposedly trying to break through them. Black father Brian Sparks, for example, is steered as a "white" man to observe life in a "redneck bar" (note the lingering shot of a bald, burly and tatooed biker guy) and a golf course. White teen Rose Wurgel is steered as a "black" girl to a black poetry slam group. The show's idea of "authentic" white and black experiences obviously leans toward the bold and visual.


And one cannot help but wonder how desperately some of the participants are looking for evidence to fulfill their personal agendas. Black father Brian Sparks, for example, seems hypersensitive to racial slights at times. Even when some white people move aside to let him and artificially black Bruno Marcotulli walk by on the sidewalk, the whites are suspect in Brian's eyes. Bruno sees common courtesy in their moving aside. Brian suspects bias because he doesn't like "the way they did it."


Bruno bubbles with an irritatingly cheerful sense of liberal white-guy entitlement. A teacher, he seems overly eager to treat black people like his students, preaching the virtues of hard work, proper attitude and high tolerance for racial slurs.


In fact, Bruno, in and out of his blackface, seems to relish throwing slurs like "honky" and "nigger" around, even when they make others visibly wince.


How many episodes, one wonders, before we see a Brian vs. Bruno smackdown? Hey, suspense is good for ratings, right?


If anything rises up as rays of hope in the pilot episode, it is the families' teens. Rose bubbles with adventurous excitement at the prospect of becoming black for a while. Nick unintentionally outrages his mother by failing to object while he is "white" when a white kid uses the N-word in a conversation.


The teens, typical of a generation that can't even remember when Michael Jackson didn't have a nose job, are a lot more relaxed than their elders about the old racial rules.


In the age of white rappers like Eminem or black golfers like Tiger Woods, it's not as big of a deal as it used to be for today's teens to cross racial boundaries. Some of them are doing it every day.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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