I come from a community of "hip hop" Egyptians, both Muslim and Copts, who identify themselves with the black community, and most went far to call themselves "African Americans" and "egy ni**as." And it started to get acceptable in our high school. I even had a black friend who criticized how I said we're more "Mediterranean" than "African," to which he said "you can't be Mediterranean unless you're in a boat in the middle of the sea. You're black Mina...admit it."
However, at the same time, because of some of us, the color of our skin being olive to white (rarely any true Black Egyptians, although I saw one in Church one day), we also can experience life on the "other" side, the "white" side. And surely enough, being Egyptian, and then experiencing life in both races, I got to see and understand and develop my own opinion of things.
In the end, I thought that the family just went further and further apart, and never truly tried to understand the other. They claim they "want to get something out of the experience," but both seem to want to prove their own views. The show started to evolve in showing the "Bruno Block," and Bruno himself started defending himself saying that perhaps it's not me, but the "Brian Chip." I would personally say it's both the "Bruno Block" and the "Brian Chip," where they both understand one another's arguments, but don't really "want to experience it" as they claim they do.
You made a good point on the "Bruno Block," but the "Brian Chip" also was there, especially when finding out his own son Nick allowed white people to joke about the N word. Nick is one of those boys, and I understand where he's coming from, since I deal with the same boys in Sunday school, who seems to not care about life, or not understand what life is all about. He may seem "laid back" or nice, but his true colors come out when he's with his own crew. In the beginning of the show, you even find Nick saying that he's in the show only because of his parents, that he don't care about the show, that he's trying to get by. And in the argument with his parents about the N word, I was angry at Nick for not arguing against his parents on the same issues he argued with the white boys. If the N word was used jokingly, and not as something confrontational, then it doesn't bother him. But when it came to his parents, he didn't say the same thing, and just kept quiet. So this is one thing that shows the "Brian Chip." Even you say that he forces Nick into his way of thinking even though he understands he comes from a different generation. And everytime Bruno is out in black, in Brian's words "he strikes out, and is not able to give Bruno the full experience." At the same time, Bruno is not expecting something subtle, but something huge, like "hey n****a."
Renee also has some issues too. I like Renee as a strong woman, but she also doesn't let go of things too easily, and always picks on Carmen. For one thing, it was weird Carmen saying the B word without asking why it's there (I would). For another thing however, it's not so weird for Carmen saying "black creature," and I think even blacks have to understand that the use of this phrase is something that blacks would say about themselves as well, in the "Black is Beautiful" era. So I felt bad for Carmen too, but Carmen also has to think before jumping and doing things. In the salon, she felt someone's hair, and it was quite strange for her to do this, and that she incorporated, what I assume, her white outgoing culture into the black makeup, and not stopping to think before she does something. But at the same time, Renee was too judgmental and makes big deals out of something small like that.
The most successful cast so far in this experience is indeed Rose. And yes, she was very pretty in black and white. (I wondered if she married a black man and had a black daughter, would her daughter look like what they turned her into?) Although she may have felt sort of "unaccepted" later on, you always see a certain black boy (I forget his name) who she grew very fond of (she mentioned of a "crush") and who truly tried to make her feel comfortable and acceptable. There are also other examples of this in the show, which I hoped that if the show went longer, it would might have been sort of successful, like Carmen's black friend, Renee's white friend (I never knew the black family was Catholic
Come to think of it, none of the men themselves truly had "someone" that could have helped them. Bruno, who thought he might have had a friend, failed and was shockingly called a racist for his blunt personality (I also thought the music video was uncalled for, and by the beginning of the show, should of understood it was not something appropriate to make them watch, even though they claimed they weren't "bothered" by it). I also felt both Brian and Renee in their white makeup was only looking for more racism "underneath the carpet" so to speak, although Renee found a home in the Catholic woman.
In the end, I'm worried that this "project" would be a failure overall. The women could have probably learned more than the men's stubborn (or the boy's "don't care") attitudes if only this show went on longer. I was hoping that in the midst of all these problems, can one find a solution? Or are we going to encourage our black children with "chips" and white children with "blocks"?