The Ethnic Tip
The Ethnic Trip
Airdate January 14, 1991
Written by Benny Medina & Jeff Pollack
Directed by Jeff Melman
Lucky Charm
The Young and the Restless

The Ethnic Tip is the 17th episode of Season 1 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.


Will proposes a black history class be instituted at Bel-Air Academy, and gets a surprise when Aunt Viv decides to teach it. Unlike the rest of the class, however, Will and Carlton gradually become less enthusiastic when Aunt Viv gives them harder work in comparison. This culminates in the two being hesitant to sign a 148-signature petition to have Aunt Viv as their permanent history teacher over Coach Smiley.

At home, Will and Carlton tell Aunt Viv about their disappointment with being given all the hard work, believing it to be because of their relationship. Aunt Viv is surprised and believed that both Will and Carlton would have been more invested in the class, being the only two black students. Aunt Viv tells Will that he cannot call himself a student of black history unless he knows all of the facts about the entire struggle.

Starring Edit

Will Smith as Will Smith
James Avery as Phillip Banks
Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks
Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks
Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey Butler

Guest starring

Dave Florek as Coach Smiley
Edward Edwards as Assistant Headmaster Armstrong
Keith Bogart as Jonathan Cartwell
Michael Landes as Chadney Hunt
Michael Weiner as Kellogg Lieberbaum
Monica Beavers as Cheerleader #1
Kyausha Simpson as Cheerleader #2


Education is our passport
to the future
For tomorrow belongs
to the people
who prepare for it today
Will: I'm going to be the star of this class.
Carlton: No you're not, I am.
Will: How do you figure that?
Carlton: The teacher's my mommy.
Will: I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X three times.
Vivian: And that makes you a serious black history student?
Will: It's a very important book.
Vivian: Will, you can read the books, you can wear the T-shirts, you can put up the posters and you can shout the slogans, but unless you know all the facts, you are just trivializing the entire struggle.


  • Running Gags
    1. Carlton eavesdropping on the Will and Vivian's conversation
    2. Will trying to answer every question, but getting them wrong each time
    3. Will trying to act as the star of the class.