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Color Me Black

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Or ginger in this case.

"Oh no! It's me! I'm a horrible black thing, I've turned black!"

Racism is a terrible thing. And sometimes, someone will take it upon themselves to teach a racist just what a terrible thing it is. And, to do that, they use some kind of power to transform the racist (usually temporarily) into a member of the race they despise.

Not to be confused with Black Like Me. In Black Like Me, the subject undergoes the change voluntarily while in Color Me Black, the subject is changed involuntarily. Also, Color Me Black is much more likely to involve supernatural forces than Black Like Me, which usually involves more realistic methods of changing one's appearance. Also not to be confused with Blackface, when a person costumes themselves as a minority for purposes of racist mockery.

See also Karmic Transformation, You Are What You Hate, Boomerang Bigot and Persecution Flip.

See And Then John Was a Zombie for the supernatural variant. Compare Gender Bender.


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    Comic Books 
  • Black Lightning: A near-miss. The first black character from DC Comics to headline their own book was nearly the Black Bomber: a white bigot who, in times of stress, turned into a black super-hero. This was the result of chemical camouflage experiments he'd taken part in as a soldier in The Vietnam War. The object of these experiments was to allow white troops to blend into the jungle. Fortunately for all involved, the editor who okayed this character left DC before the first issue saw print, and his replacement Tony Isabella managed to persuade the powers-that-be that having the company's first solo black character be a white bigot was a really bad idea. Instead he persuaded them to run his own creation of Black Lightning: a teacher at an inner-city school putting on a costume to fight drug pushers and other assorted urban (i.e., non-super) crime elements at night.
  • Spawn:
    • On one occasion, Spawn used his power to turn a Klan leader black, leaving him to be lynched by his own men.
    • Inverted with Spawn himself, when he tried to use his powers to restore his original appearance, and kept ending up as a white dude.
  • In a Spider-Man comic, some members of the mutant-hating "Friends of Mankind" get the word "mutie" marked on them with a burning iron by an angry mutant girl, Robin Vega. On their foreheads. Mutations don't have to be obvious, so they will have a hard time proving that they are not mutants.
  • In issues #33 and #34 of DC Comics' run on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q turns the whole crew into Klingons after Captain Picard makes a stray comment intending to compliment Worf by saying he wished he had a hundred like him.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County:
    • Played for laughs once: Oliver Wendell Jones invents a gadget that temporarily turns white people black, and Cutter John is going to take it to D.C. and use it on the ambassador from South Africa (this was still the time of apartheid, so the ambassador would have been white) but his wheelchair-balloon gets blown off course and he is lost at sea.
    • He also uses it on a clueless Steve Dallas, who, as "an occasional mutterer of racial slurs" (though that's not really something he's known for), assumes it is a Karmic Twist Ending and starts searching for Rod Serling (of The Twilight Zone) in the bushes.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Ralph Bakshi flick Coonskin has a scene where a racist, homophobic, and corrupt cop on the mob's payroll is drugged by Brother Rabbit (this film is a Darker and Edgier take on the Br'er Rabbit stories) in an attempt to take out the mafia. When he wakes up, he's covered in blackface and wearing a dress. Still tripping off acid, he freaks out believing he has actually become black and homosexual and begins firing his pistol randomly until a pair of police officers gun him down believing him to be a gangster.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A low-key version in 1941 (1979). Private Folley bullies Private Jones simply because Jones happens to be black. Later Pvt. Jones gets a sack of flour on his face, while Pvt. Foley takes a blast of ash on his face. Foley starts laughing at Jones because of lighter complexion, until Jones points out that Foley has darker complexion and laughs while telling Foley to "go to the back of the tank."
  • In the French film Agathe Cléry, the eponymous racist white skin care business owner played by Valérie Lemercier suddenly becomes black.
  • Elvis's best friend in Bubba Ho Tep is a man who claims he's John F. Kennedy and that the government faked his death, removed part of his brain and dyed his skin brown.
  • District 9 is another Fantastic Racism version, although the protagonist is not a dyed-in-the-wool racist: he simply does what he's told.
  • This was attempted on the Big Bad of Dragonheart 2 prior to the events of the movie. It utterly failed, the dragon in human form is still bent on genocide.
  • In Hook Line And Sinker, Jerry Lewis attempts to get revenge on his wife and her doctor lover who convinced him he was dying and urged him to have one last spree (and run up an unpayable credit card debt forcing him to flee forever). Before Lewis discovers the plot the doctor tells him the diagnosis was a mistake and arranges for a body to be shipped home in his place. Lewis switches that body (of a black man) with the body of a old time Southern Colonel being shipped home for a big funeral. During that funeral, after much pomp and Confederate flags the casket is opened for one last look and everyone is stunned to see the black man's corpse in there. The clueless undertaker says "I was going to ask you about that", and is promptly punched to the ground.
  • At the end of Machete, the senator who organized immigrant hunts gets dressed up as an illegal immigrant and gets shot by the rednecks.
  • Sam: Sam is a hateful misogynist who makes a drunken rant about the uselessness of women to the proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday. The next morning, he wakes up to discover that he is now female.
  • Skin: A racist skinhead goon and his racist skinhead goon buddies jump a black man in a parking lot and give him a brutal beating. In return, the man's friends kidnap the skinhead goon, and tattoo his skin black.
  • The RiffTrax-featured educational film Skipper Learns A Lesson does this with a dog who hates "funny-looking" dogs. After he gets covered in paint, the other dogs avoid him and he tells then they're "being silly" for avoiding him because of how he looks, then realizes that he was being silly too.
  • The Thing with Two Heads, a 1972 B-Movie. Ray Milland plays Dr. Maxwell Kirshner, a dying, wealthy racist who demands that his head be transplanted onto a healthy body. As his health rapidly deteriorates, there remains only one alternative: graft Kirshner's head onto the body of a black death row inmate, Jack Moss, played by Rosey Grier.
  • A segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie plays with this, where a bigot suddenly finds himself in Nazi Germany and accused of being Jewish, then in the Deep South where apparently several Klansmen see him as a Black Man (though his skin doesn't actually change), and later fleeing into the jungles of Vietnam as an Asian during the war.
  • This is the premise of Watermelon Man, about a racist white man who wakes up one morning to find that he's become black.
  • A Fantastic Racism variant is used in X-Men, when Magneto turns anti-mutant Senator Kelly into a mutant. This is given an Ironic Echo in X-Men: The Last Stand, when Magneto is Brought Down to Normal.

  • Inverted in Animorphs, where Cassie, when confronted with a racist when travelling back in time, turns herself white - into a polar bear.
  • Barry Trotter once called into a TV show presented by a white supremacist and cast a spell to turn him black.
  • Tor Åge Bringsværd wrote a story about a KKK member who is turned into a black, and then handed over to the Klan to be lynched. Appropriately enough, the story is called "Boomerang".
  • Rod Serling wrote a story called "Color Scheme" in The Season to Be Wary where a racist rabble-rouser in the South gets changed into a black man; his victim (a black civil rights preacher whose youngest daughter is killed when his house is set on fire by the mob the racist guy stirred up) turns white and uses the rabble-rouser's own words against him. It ends with the preacher returned to his black self but pushed past the Despair Event Horizon and believing God Is Evil and Humans Are Bastards while the racist— still black-skinned, what's left of him— has been dragged to death behind a car.
  • Ray Bradbury's "The Handler" is about a disgruntled undertaker, who defiles all the bodies sent to him with lessons they should have learned in life. In particular, a white supremacist is embalmed with ink, turning his skin 'black as night'. Memorably turned into a story for The Haunt of Fear.
  • In The Misfit of Demon King Academy, Emilia Ludowell is a pureblooded demon who is viciously racist against all hybrid demons, who she considers unworthy of existing. After she pissed off main character Anos Voldigoad, he turned her into a hybrid, then cursed her with Resurrective Immortality to ensure she'll always come back as a hybrid every time she dies, so even killing herself won't let her escape this fate.
  • Inverted and given a Fantastic Racism twist in The Stormlight Archive. In Alethi society, rank is based on eye color with lighteyes oppressing darkeyes. Kaladin, a dark-eyed man, gains light blue eyes when he summons Syl as a weapon. Since he despises the caste system and has suffered greatly at the hands of lighteyes, he has considerable mixed feelings about it.
  • Older Than Radio: The Story of the Inky Boys in Struwwelpeter, 1845. Three boys taunt a "blackamoor" for his skin color and call him "black as ink". An angry old man (who is either St. Nick or Agrippa based on the version) admonishes them to stop, and dunks them into an inkwell when they don't listen. This is slight variant as the three boys are not turned into "blackamoors" themselves by the ink, but instead are transformed into solid black silhouettes that hardly look human.
  • In the Vows and Honor duology by Mercedes Lackey, the protagonists foil a bandit party that's been preying on caravans, slaying the men outright and slaying the women after the bandits rape them. They kill the bandits, save their leader. Said bandit leader gets transformed into a buxom blond woman, stripped naked, and sent back to his/her fellows. Do not piss the sisters off...
  • In Theodore R. Cogswell's "You Know Willie" a white supremacist who was acquitted of shooting a black man was cursed by the victim's only living relative to become an exact duplicate of the deceased. He ended up burned alive by fellow members of the Ku Klux Klan expy he belonged to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in a couple of episodes of All in the Family. In one episode Archie has a gallbladder operation and ends up getting blood donated from a black man, much to his consternation. Several seasons later when the KKK move into Queens he invokes the transfusion as having made him part black, so he can call on his black brothers to protest the KKK meeting house.
  • At the end of an episode of Bewitched, Samantha uses magic to cause a racist to see everyone as black. Including himself when he looks in a mirror.
  • Dave Chappelle does something very strange with this in one Chappelle's Show sketch. The sketch revolves around a Blind Black Guy who grew up unaware of his own race and became a prominent KKK leader and writer of white supremacist literature. His race is kept secret by his friends, who make sure he is never seen in public out of his KKK robes and don't tell him he's black because they think it will make him kill himself just so there will be one less black person in the world. At the climax, he is speaking at a rally, when one audience member asks to see his face. Ignoring the protests from his friends, he rips off his hood and shocks the whole crowd full of rednecks (one guy's head explodes). A Where Are They Now segment at the end of this sketch (which was framed as a news show doing a special feature) reveals that he has come to accept the fact that he is black... but he still divorced his wife "because she's a nigger-lover".
  • The Doctor Who story Planet of the Ood ends with the Corrupt Corporate Executive who profits off treating the Ood as slaves be turned into an Ood himself, on the exact state they’re in when his men lobotomised them to make slaves.
  • A short-lived South African comedy series called The Coconuts focused on a suburban white family that get turned black by a sangoma when they set up their camper on sacred ground.
  • In an episode of M*A*S*H, the staff of the 4077 gradually darken the skin of a White racist to make him think he's turning black after getting a blood transfusion from a Black person.
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "Kitara", the IMF uses drugs and a special light bulb to make a ruthless white provincial governor in an apartheid African nation believe he's actually black as part of a ploy to free a resistance leader.
  • There's an episode of Mork & Mindy in which Mork uses his Orkan powers to turn a bunch of racists into Latino, Black and East-Asian, among other changes (two of them were turned orange and at least one had stripes.). They were expies of the KKK, so they didn't know it until they took their white hoods off.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "The Grell", humans have enslaved a race of Rubber-Forehead Aliens. An important politician survives a plane crash with his family and his Grell servant, but is critically injured. The Grell heals him by infusing his master with Grell DNA, which will slowly transform him into one of them. Whereas he had previously callously killed a Grell servant who tried to flee, when he's treated in the same way by a human soldier who tries to kill him for being a "half-breed" he starts to see the error of his ways.
    • "Tribunal", the 100th episode, featured an ending where a Nazi war criminal who's escaped justice for 50 years is put into the uniform of his prisoners and taken back in time to his own camp. His younger self shoots him after the "old Jewish man" says he isn't supposed to be there, and in an attempt to explain himself to his younger self cites details from his childhood and seriously disturbs the younger self.
  • On an episode of Oz, the racist (and later Jerkass Woobie) Robeson receives a gum transplant. From a black donor.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • Subverted in an episode. The morning after receiving a lecture from one of her relatives about the importance of not judging by appearance, Sabrina checks herself in the mirror and is grateful that her appearance wasn't modified in the night. Harvey, however, spends the episode transformed into a beast-man, and Sabrina has to accept him before the curse is undone.
    • Also subverted when Sabrina turns Libby into a geek, forcing her out of her popular clique. Libby joins the geeky kids and manages to become their leader, then proceeds to act just as tyrannical as she always has, excluding Sabrina from Science Club for not being geeky enough.
  • One episode of Space Cases had Davenport gain the ability to swap the kids' races - Harlan becomes an Andromedan, Radu becomes human, Rosie becomes Uranian, Bova becomes Mercurian, etc.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • The Twilight Zone (1959):
      • Sammy Davis Jr. wrote in his autobiography that he suggested an episode have a white supremacist wake up one day and he's black. Rod Serling eventually wrote the story "Color Scheme" for his anthology The Season to Be Wary. The other two stories in that collection were part of the Night Gallery pilot, but "Color Scheme" was seen as too raw even for 1970s TV.
      • In "A Quality of Mercy", a GI in World War II who's just a little too enthused about killing is suddenly transformed into a Japanese soldier and hears his commander on that side speak in a bloodthirsty way about killing Americans.
    • The Twilight Zone (2002): In "Shades of Guilt", a white man sees a black man being attacked and drives away instead of helping. He later learns that the man was a college professor who was beaten to death by skinheads. As he is consumed by guilt his skin begins to darken over time until he looks just like the victim and ends up in the same situation. It's actually a chance for him to realize that he was wrong and change his decision.

  • Some branches of Christianity have black people being descended from white sinners who were punished by God, usually the "Mark Of Cain" that God punished Cain with when he kicked him out of the Garden of Eden.
    • Some early American protestants taught that black people were descendants of Cain in irder to justify slave trade.
    • Early versions of Mormonism believed that being black was a divine punishment. Luckily these beliefs ended decades ago.
      • Founder Joseph Smith and his successor Brigham Young believed that black people were descended from Cain and Noah and that their skin colour was the "Mark Of Cain" and the "Curse Of Ham"note 
      • Mormons believe that souls exist in a state of "premortality" before being born on Earth, since as early as 1844, church leaders taught that Black people's spirits were less righteous in premortality before birth.

  • In Finian's Rainbow, Sharon tells a racist senator she wishes he were black so he would understand what black people have to go through due to people who think like he does. She happens to be standing where a pot of magical wish-granting gold is buried, so... well, you can guess where this is going. Interestingly the race-switch isn't what changes his views. It was a leprechaun that magically made him more open-minded. After that, his efforts to take back his previous racist actions fail because while he wants to change things, he is now black and the white officers won't listen to him.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar's Legion looks down on Ghouls. However, if you nuke the Legion outpost at Dry Wells, many of the Legion troops there are turned into Ghouls, not to mention all of the Ghouls in the Great Divide. In this case, however, the change isn't entirely done out of revenge and is very painfully permanent.
  • This is what ends up kicking off the plot in Resident Evil 6. Derek Simmons's obsessions with Ada Wong causes him to transform his white girlfriend Carla Radames into a physical and mental copy of Ada. Unfortunately, Carla's memories and true personality re-emerge and she decides to take revenge on Simmons by causing a viral outbreak and framing the real Ada for her crimes.

  • The entire plot of Black Tapestries is kicked off by a wizard's spell that turns people into bestial Kaetif (who are frequently the victims of discrimination) hitting the protagonist Lorelei, her reaction to that, and his reaction to that in turn.
  • Drowtales: Most drow hate Demonic Possession and will frequently try to murder any possessed that have Body Horror, while generally oppressing possessed that just have red eyes. Of course, since the Nether demons are drawn to soul auras, and most of a drow's soul is their aura, getting possessed is as easy as touching demon gas, which occasionally happens to Kyorls, and happened to Sil'lice right after she disowned her possessed son.
    • For extra irony, many of Snadhya'Rune's minions go from demon haters to willing hosts once they learn that the proper demonic rituals can give them Resurrective Immortality.
  • Linda in Endtown is transformed into one of the mutants she hates, although Flask had intended to turn her into a slightly different variety.

    Web Original 
  • Welcome to Night Vale has the Apache Tracker, a man of seemingly Slavic descent who insists on wearing a ridiculous and offensive Indian headdress and claims to possess "Indian Magic". He disappears and sometime later reappears having mysteriously transformed into a Native American, but having lost the ability to speak anything but Russian. He continues to wear the headdress, leading to some discussion over whether or not it's less offensive now.

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! "Old Stan of the Mountain", Stan is transformed into an elderly man when his general rudeness towards senior citizens gets him cursed by one. At the end of the episode, Stan's curse is lifted, but he becomes a black man.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Shake Like Me", Master Shake turns black when a black construction worker that was irradiated from dumping toxic waste near the Aqua Teens' house bites him.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse has Ben get revenge on Will Harrangue - who made his life a living hell because of his bigotry against aliens - by turning him into what he despised most: an alien.
  • Gargoyles villain Demona summons and binds Puck and forces him to grant her various wishes, which he delights in twisting because he dislikes her, and because her wishes consist of "Kill All Humans," a species of which Puck is fond. She also wishes that she would not turn to stone during the day like other gargoyles — which Puck grants by causing her to turn human during the day instead. And in this case, it's permanent. As usual, Demona learns nothing.
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "Witchy Woman," Johnny sexually harasses a woman with magical powers, who curses him to wake up the following day as a woman. Sure enough, it happens, and the new Johnny finds herself attracting a lot of unwanted attention from men and regrets what he's been doing his whole life, lifting the curse. Of course, Johnny being as dumb as he is, he forgets all about it by the next episode and is back to his flirty self.
  • An episode of South Park has the boys making Cartman think he's...a ginger. Freckles and hair dye. The episode then turns this on its head—rather than making Cartman rethink his horrible attitude, he actually starts a ginger supremacist movement, radicalizing all the gingers and nearly killing every non-ginger in the town, only stopping when Stan reveals the trick, at which point Cartman realizes his army will soon kill him too if he doesn't de-radicalize them as soon as possible. This episode could be a deconstruction in that it argues that supremacists behave as they do not because they don't understand the other side, but because they need to feel superior to someone else.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "A Walk On The Flip Side" (a parody of The Twilight Zone) has Montana Max, "rabbit-hater extraordinaire", wake up to find that he's a rabbit himself.

Alternative Title(s): Colour Me Black