Makeup temporarily transforms the two families for the series developed by filmmaker R.J. Cutler and actor-rapper Ice Cube.
"The loud message of the show is that we are a divided nation," said Cutler, who won an Emmy for outstanding reality program for "American High." "But we can come together if we're willing to talk about our differences and work to see the world through the eyes of other people."
For the run of the show, the Sparks family of Atlanta and the Wurgel family of Santa Monica share a home in the San Fernando Valley.
But with makeup, Brian and Renee Sparks and their son, Nick, are transformed from black to white. Bruno and Carmen Wurgel and their daughter, Rose, become black.
The race-changing makeup, administered by Oscar-nominated artist Keith VanderLaan, took three to five hours per family member.
"We're doing something that has never been done before that advances in makeup technology allow," said Cutler, who produced the Oscar-nominated documentary "The War Room."
The show's creators say the switch changes the families' core values in ways they could not have imagined.
"'Black.White' will force people to challenge themselves and really examine where we stand in terms of race in this country," Ice Cube said.