Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I'm a bit behind on the news (not paying attention). I didn't find out until yesterday that Survivor will have four teams -- one white, one black, one Hispanic, one Asian -- competing against each other on a deserted island for a big prize. Reaction has been overwhelmingly negative. The show's producers are stoking the racism fire for the sake of good ratings. Shame on them.

I have to disagree on this one. For one, it's pretty much an accurate representative of our world. We're divided by race. (Actually, it would be more accurate if the whites were given a bunch of tools and food that the other contests don't have, and if the others were shackled in some way.)

Second, this format will actually increase the so-called minority representation on a reality show. Unlike every other reality show that's ever aired, the cast won't be limited to one token black. In my book, that's way, way worse.

Lastly, it's provocative. And, on matters of race, I think we need to be continually provoked.

Put simply, we need to face this stuff and talk about it. Ignoring the fact that we're already divided, throwing token blacks and Hispanics and Asians into our favorite TV shows -- that does no good. But if sagging ratings can motivate the folks at Survivor to do the unthinkable, to display the reality of who we are for all of us to see, and that sparks a dialogue, then that's a good thing.

My fear, though, is that the PC finger-waggers have already cut off the conversation. So far, the debate is framed like this:


Oh, that's nice. I feel so much better.

Now we can all go back to our little segregated worlds and feel good about the progress we've made.

1 comment:

bridget said...

As much as I don't really trust or expect reality TV to give an indepth examination of societal problems, I actually thought this classification by race might be interesting. (Disclaimer: I haven't watched more than 2 episodes of Survivor.) People do ten to act alter behaviors based on the setting. I'm wouldn't be so interested in "will X race win?" but more "will X race act any differently?" Of course, we shouldn't expect a reality show contestant to represent anyone other than his or herself. I shudder to think that people would assume the contenstants on Joe Millionaire are representative of (mostly white) women 18-35. (Yes, that's probably the only reality show I watched regularly.)

I'm surprised the interets haven't been by to flame you for your dissenting opinion.