Just when I feel like I have nothing to say, I get this video link by email this morning.
For the MSNBC story, click here.
So, the criticism that Survivor is not racially diverse enough has long plagued the show. It’s certainly true – I have watched most of the seasons of the show, and I can remember only a handful of black and hispanic players – I’m not sure there has ever been an asian player, if so I can’t remember him/her. There hasn’t been a native american player in my memory, either, or an arab player. Maybe I haven’t paid close enough attention – my own inherent white racism?
well, I have a couple things to say about this.
so, who thinks this is a bad idea? I do! I do! The main worry is that misconceptions and stereotypes will “play themselves out” on the show. Hmmmm… and who exactly will play those stereotypes out? One claim in the past is that the black men who have appeared on the show have lived up to the stereotype of being lazy. Another complaint is that the contestants of colour that have appeared have not been strong players. Never mind a black woman won Survivor Marquesas, a hispanic woman won Survivor Pearl Islands, and a jewish man won Survivor Africa. That is not to say the charge that Survivor isn’t racially diverse enough isn’t true. But some of the winners have belonged to oppressed groups.
Nevertheless, Survivor has been mostly a white person’s game. One person mentioned on the video has said that race doesn’t matter on Survivor. But, I think it does. I tihnk race always matters. Those players don’t live their entire lives isolated from the world – they come into the game with preconceptions, previous experiences, and culturally ingrained american attitudes about race and ethnicity. We don’t see what the producers don’t want us to see, so who knows what racial tensions have reared their heads during the game?
Another point is this: “asian” is… what exactly? Korean? Japanese? Chinese? Thai? Vietnamese? Indian? Malaysian? Filipino? What about mixed-race people? What if someone has a white mother and a Japanese father – do they “count” as asian? What if their mother was black and their father was Japanese – are they asian, or black? OR something else altogether? what about italian-americans, irish-americans, swedish-americans, german-americans, jewish-americans? are they all lumped together as “white” ? Are they going to call them the White Tribe? The Black Tribe? There is a lot of diversity among the larger “categories” of white, latino, black, and asian. How are the producers accounting for that? I’m sure they aren’t even bothering.
Anyway, the tribes have been divided based on age before, but the most popular way to divide the teams thus far has been along gender lines. This hasn’t caused the outrage that division by race has caused. Why hasn’t there been an outcry against gender segregation? Once again, we are paying a lot of attention to race and not enough to gender. Why hasn’t there been the same worry, that gender stereotypes will “play themselves out” if the tribes are separated this way? And, what about the delicate interplay between race and gender? It’s not like these can be easily pulled apart.
anyway, I thought I’d see what y’all have to say about this….