The show is similar to some episodes of ABC's "What Would You Do?", in which unwitting individuals are filmed amidst actors performing increasingly tense incidents, all so that we can see how the unwitting individuals will react. The difference is that while ABC's show claims to have a serious, socially enlightened purpose, "True Colors" is mostly just for laughs.
I see problems with both shows, but so far, "True Colors" seems worse. What each staged incident amounts to is a practical joke, and when it comes to race, practical jokes strike me as a bad idea. That's because racism is not a thing of the past, no matter how much a lot of white folks would like to believe otherwise.
Crackle has some of this new show's segments online, with a promise of many more to come. In the following example, a KKK robe is dangled in front of an African American woman so that we, the voyeuristic viewers, can laugh at her reaction.
What I'm wondering is, when white viewers laugh at her, what kind of laughter is that?
There's a sort of clueless insensitivity at work here, and it reminds me of the equally clueless wearing of Klan robes by PETA, the animal rights activists/provocateurs, to draw attention to objectionable elements of a dog show. No matter how well-intentioned PETA and its workers may have been, I consider that stunt racist. It demonstrated a common white oblivion to the reactions of non-white people to blatant signifiers of racism, and a blithe disregard and dismissal of such reactions when they became apparent.
This "True Colors" segment seems even worse in that regard, because it invites us to go further, by laughing at a non-white person's reaction to a ghastly signifier of racism.
Imagine a parallel situation. A white person decides to stage a practical joke for her black friend's birthday. She takes her friend somewhere, maybe for lunch, while others prepare a surprise birthday party. After lunch the black friend is led in, the lights are turned on, and everyone yells, "Surprise!" But, the real surprise, is that everyone's wearing Klan robes!
Wouldn't that be hilarious?!
Well, maybe for some people, but would it be hilarious for the black friend?
The woman who gets similarly punked in this "True Colors" segment seems to take it pretty well when the joke is revealed, and she must have signed a release, allowing this segment to air.
Did you find this segment funny? And again, when white people laugh at her, what kind of laughter is that?
h/t: Average Bro; other "True Colors" segments are viewable here.