Survivor Creates Race Based Tribes–Now Why Did They Have to Go and Do That?

So it looks like the next episode of Survivor is following a new model. The cast will initially be divided into four tribes based on the contestants’ races. There was a rumor that Donald Trump was going to do this on the Apprentice, but for whatever reason that never came to fruition. No there really isn’t anything revolutionary about assigning people to “tribes” based on race, and I want to go on record as saying this is a bad idea The producers of Survivor are claiming that this was a way to diversify the cast. I suppose the cast probably will be more diverse. It may be the first reality show ever to have more than 3 Asian and Latino contestants. In fact, if they used the old model the Black cast members would be a tribe of two, the Asian and Latino contestants would be a tribe of 1 each, and there would be no American Indian tribe at all. Well, even in this model there is no American Indian tribe–the tribes will be Asian, Black, White, and Latino. But did they really need to create race based tribe to diversify the cast? I don’t think so. Why not just cast more people of color in the first place?

I don’t want to get to deep into the problem of how they are going to assign people into racial categories, but I’m very curious who they are going to assign to the Asian and Latino categories. I supposed they don’t even realize the dramatic ethnic variation within those categories. I also wonder how they will assign mixed race contestants (of course, maybe they just eliminated all mixed race people from the casting).

I do see a few upsides to having a cast that has more than a token representation of of Blacks, Asians, and Latinos. I think when various racial and ethnic groups are represented in more than token numbers people can get a better sense of the diversity and variety of views within racial groups. The TV pundits were proposing the idea that this is exploiting racial tension. Assuming the tribes are separated in the beginning, this may have the opposite effect. The biggest tensions and rivalries will be within race, at least until the tribes merge.

I know this is largely a publicity stunt for the show, and my main problem is that the publicity surrounding the show may inadvertantly promote the idea that people are more strongly divided by race than they really are. There is a fine line to walk. On the one hand, we don’t need shows that deny the power of racism, but on the other hand, we don’t need shows that make us seem more different than we really are. I’ll be watching the show to see how this plays out.

(Side note: Somebody needs to go over and shakeup The Real World casting folks because they have really backed down on their racial diversity ever since the “Back to New York” where they actually had four people of color in the cast.).

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25 Responses to Survivor Creates Race Based Tribes–Now Why Did They Have to Go and Do That?

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  5. 5
    Tuomas says:

    Survivor Creates Race Based Tribes–Now Why Did They Have to Go and Do That?

    I’ll be watching the show to see how this plays out.

    That’s why. :)

    (FTR, I like Survivor, but this idea sounds boring to me)

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    With regards to your comment about the Real World; why should racial diversity of the cast be a goal in and of itself?

  7. Pingback: News Fit to Post - making social justice visible » ‘Survivor’ Diversifies Its Cast Through Segregation

  8. 7
    gal says:

    I like Survivor too, but I’m cringing a bit at this concept. I think it would be more interesting if they’d just recruited the diverse cast and then form randomly chosen teams to see how it plays out. I’m a little tired of this idea of pitting “old vs. young,” “male vs. female,” etc.

  9. 8
    Lu says:

    I was sure you were making this up. You’re not, are you?

  10. 9
    Radfem says:

    Nope.

    First, they justify their stunt by lamenting way after the fact that their casts are not racially diverse, and they play the “low numbers” game. That being that it’s the fault of people of color that they are discriminated against in a supposedly fair and unbiased process. It’s used often to explain away discriminatory claims by people of color and White women(predominantly in male-dominated career fields) involving recruitment, hiring,retention and promotion in labor forces and also in postsecondary educational institutions. Now they use it here to give themselves a pat on the back for being good White people to think of educating the public while entertaining them on racial relations via Survivor.

    So, they are doing the world a favor by exploiting “racial” differences for public fodder and how far will they go to encourage that for ratings? What did they call it, a “valuable social experiment”? Pass me the vomit bag.

    What exactly is “Hispanic”? What is “Asian-American”? There is as much or more diversity within both classifications(as defined often by those outside those groups) than in between them. How does race play out in comparison to Hispanics(which can mean White, Black or for want of a better word, a combination) and what about Asian-Americans who are often classified as “White” or “Other”(i.e. some nationalities in West and Southern Asia The “other” classification for these groups is commonly used in L.E. traffic stop study information) and those who are classifed by race, as Asian-American(South-East, Far East countries in Asia)?

    Where do the bi-racial or multi-racial people fit who do not identify or are not indentified as being members of these discrete groups? What about American Indians? Guess they will remain invisible on TV even longer outside of “westerns”.

    Even on a good day, I’ve never been a “Survivor” fan, but this isn’t even close to one of those “good” days. Blech.

  11. 10
    Radfem says:

    Actually, “combination” for “Hispanic” is a crappy, inaccurate term, because “Hispanic” people can come from White(European) ancestory, indigenous ancestory or African ancestory. I guess what I was referring to, was what some sociologists call the “color continuem”. I know a guy whose was originally from Panama and he identifies as both Black and Panamanian, which falls under “Hispanic.” So where would he fit? Who decides?

  12. 11
    Radfem says:

    oops, or a combination thereof. I’m really spacy today, one eye on the computer, one eye on my new furniture being delivered. :-)

  13. 12
    Mark says:

    I get a laugh out of liberals who can say in one sentence that racism is awful and race doesn’t matter and we’re just not that different from another, and then in the next complain that there isn’t enough of certain races on certain shows. Rank hypocrisy. If race really doesn’t matter, then you shouldn’t care what the racial makeup of shows are. It should be irrelevant to you. Height, for example, is irrelevant. So if someone were to say “I’m really irritated that The Amazing Race has so many short people”, you’d think they were strange. But liberals can preach all the time about how race is irrelevant, evil, blah blah blah – and then bitch about underrepresentation of minorities.

    The Survivor producers have repeatedly said that they get very few applications from non-whites. That’s why they have been underrepresented. CBS is a very liberal network. I don’t think you have to worry about them ignoring qualified non-white candidates. In fact I bet that some of the non-whites who have appeared on the show would never have made it if they weren’t non-white.

    The fact is, race matters. A lot. That’s why this Survivor concept has liberals upset – because there is strong potential for showing graphically just how much race matters. There is big potential for embarrassment if the various groups behave according to stereotypes. If the show portrays too much racial friction, it could undermine the liberal ideal that all races can get along.

    I don’t think you have to worry too much though. I’m pretty sure CBS will edit out anything that would reflect too poorly on the non-whites.

  14. 13
    nonwhiteperson says:

    I get a laugh out of liberals who can say in one sentence that racism is awful and race doesn’t matter and we’re just not that different from another, and then in the next complain that there isn’t enough of certain races on certain shows. Rank hypocrisy. If race really doesn’t matter, then you shouldn’t care what the racial makeup of shows are.

    What liberals mean is that racism is awful and that people are still not treated equally. We’d like it so race doesn’t matter any more and everyone was treated equally. We can say the same about gender and at least on these shows, no one has complained that there are an equal number of women and men on these shows. The Real World and Survivor have an equal number of women as men on the show. Survivor: Cook Islands has 10 women and 10 men and every season of the Real World had an equal number of women and men. I think there have been more women than men on Road Rules. Race matters until we’re all treated equally which is what people of color mean when we say we want a colorblind world.

  15. 14
    William O. Romine Jr. says:

    I am a democrat but I have spent a considerable amount of time at the
    nospeedbumps blog in order not to “preach to the choir”. I want to make
    some remarks as a scientist (evolutionary biology major as an undergraduate).

    First, race does exist in the sense that one can do a DNA analysis and
    have his ethnic makeup and geographical origin of his ancestors
    determined. The issue is that ethnic groups are characterized by groups
    of genes that occur together.

    Second, acknowledging that race or ethnicity exist does NOT mean
    outlawing intermarraige or a return to segregation. I think that what
    Survivor is doing is for “what sells” rather than any social message.

    Hispanic, by the way, is a liguistic and not a racial classification. Latin
    America was settled by the Spanish and Portugese.

  16. 15
    RonF says:

    Radfem, stop paying attention here and keep a close eye on the furniture movers!

  17. 16
    Mark says:

    Race matters until we’re all treated equally which is what people of color mean when we say we want a colorblind world.

    How do you know we’re not all treated equally now? In fact, how do you know whether “people of color” are not in fact given preferential treatment? I assume you make this judgment by doing a head count – if there aren’t a proportional number of “people of color” in any given situation, you assume it is because there was unequal treatment – or to put it more bluntly, white racism. But how do you know it’s not racism, but some other explanation – like unequal abilities or unequal levels of motivation? How do you know that their outcomes were determined by white racism and not by their own poor choices, made day after day after day? I don’t see how a non-white who was even marginally determined to succeed to could be held back by white racism. I would think a “person of color” would be ashamed to hand their power over to white people by saying that white people prevented them from accomplishing their goals.

    I think the truth is that non-whites (with the possible exception of Asians, who somehow despite all this horrible white racism against “people of color” manage to outperform whites) are given more opportunities and unfair advantages. Schools and companies are desperate to find even marginally-qualified minorities (except Asians, again) to fill out their quotas because people like you are doing racial head counts instead of examining who is actually best qualified. Any minority that will make a half-asssed effort will be given a red carpet and a foot massage by whites desperate to keep up a politically correct appearance.

    And considering all this alleged white racism that holds “people of color” back, there sure are a lot of them who want to come here and live in the land of evil white racist oppression – and nobody clamoring to leave. “Hey you racist xenophobic white oppressor of the world, let me into your damned horrible unjust oppressive country. I want to live and work there and raise my kids there.”

    Fact is, “people of color” have no interest in a colorblind world. They like their color, they like their people, they openly identify themselves with their people and their people’s interests. They even call themselves “people of color”, which is a strange thing for a person who supposedly aspires to colorblindness to do.

    The era of white people accepting this unjustified vilification is coming to a close. There are still committed leftists who derive some kind of psychological satisfaction from castigating their own people, and they will probably never change. But I am guessing that well more than half of white people, whether they feel brave enough to acknowledge it publicly or not, are well past the point of believing that non-whites are held back by whites. And are beyond caring.

    Race matters. People mostly like their own race, feel comfortable with it. Multiculturalism doesn’t work, it only leads to strife. These are the themes of our times and this Survivor show is going to be very interesting for that reason.

  18. 17
    Radfem says:

    I did! They were so nice. It’s so hot today and I was concerned they would overexert themselves, but they made it.

    It’s not every day I get new furniture, so I’m celebrating.

    Include France, along with Spain and Portugal, for Latin America.

    That’s why this Survivor concept has liberals upset – because there is strong potential for showing graphically just how much race matters. There is big potential for embarrassment if the various groups behave according to stereotypes. If the show portrays too much racial friction, it could undermine the liberal ideal that all races can get along.

    I’ll ignore your rant about the “evil liberals” and actually look at your post seriously. I hear this rant every day at least once by noon(check’s watch) and I’ve filled my daily quota(check list) today, not that this is your fault.

    Embarassment, no. Disgust, yes. Please do not confuse the two. Who said race didn’t matter? Our entire society is built on the construct that it does and not only does it matter, it’s the basis to promote the ideology that one race is superior to all others and put it into practice. Although you and I probably have a different view about which race that is, I imagine. You see, it’s past noon after all and it’s already been a long day.

    And if it’s the liberals contention that all races can “get along”, then is it the contention of the conservatives that they can never “get along”? Did liberals indeed say this, or are these words placed in their mouths by people like yourself? Are you speaking for all conservatives?

    And I get that you find something that liberals do or you think they do, funny but I don’t really understand what you are getting. What is the disconnect between racism being bad(certainly you would agree?) and complaints about the underrepresentation of people of color on reality shows?

    The Survivor producers have repeatedly said that they get very few applications from non-whites. That’s why they have been underrepresented. CBS is a very liberal network. I don’t think you have to worry about them ignoring qualified non-white candidates. In fact I bet that some of the non-whites who have appeared on the show would never have made it if they weren’t non-white.

    *choke* CBS, a liberal network? Since when? Traditionally, CBS has tailored its programming to the older conservative male and female viewer. The only demographic that has changed in recent years is that they are like other networks aiming their programming to the younger demographic favored by advertisors.

    Yes, the “low numbers” game. I hear that one every day too, right before I discover that another manager or supervisor admitted that they didn’t place a job opening in public view where all their employees could see it, but made a phone call to uncle elmo and asked him if his nephew with no job experience in (insert field and position) needed a job because something just opened up.

    Oh yes, the “non-white” contestants wouldn’t have made it if they were not White, yet would you then say that some or most of the White candidates would have also not made it had they not been White? No, I didn’t think so. LOL.

  19. 18
    matttbastard says:

    Mark’s blog: “Western Survival
    Dedicated to discussion by white Westerners of strategies for the survival of our peoples.”

    So, um, Amp…don’t the RaHoWa folks get shunted over to Creative Destruction?

    Please don’t allow some racist moron to hijack the discussion.

  20. 19
    matttbastard says:

    …and ironically enough, my comment awaits moderation.

    Anyway, judging by his blog, Mark is a capital ‘R’ Racist. Hopefully he won’t be here long.

  21. 20
    Radfem says:

    Well, I didn’t check his link until afterwards and then I thought, I had an answer to one of my questions. Then I decided not to waste another breath. Like I told him, by noon, I’ve already dealt with about five of him.

  22. 21
    Radfem says:

    Mark, hmm…

    No, don’t even go there, there’s a lot of Marks in this universe even those who have ahem, racial difficulties.

  23. 22
    ckozar says:

    It is as follows:
    If we could divide the races without reacting, racism would not be present. The fact that there has been such a hoopla about all this shows that racism is still alive.

    If we could divide, for a game, without debate, it would demonstrate that we have moved on from the social mistakes of the past, that we accept who we are and what that might represent, and that our race is just as linear as the colour of eyes, hair, our height, our sex, and our age.

  24. 23
    Radfem says:

    Well, Survivor isn’t dividing people on the basis of height, weight or eye color. They are diving on the basis of race and done so for gender, and I think someone said for age as well. So, the show has already shown that it has divided by race. If there was no debate, would that mean that there was no racism? Of course not.

    It could be that the show’s dismal history of racial diversity in its “casts” combined with this sudden zeal to divide by race(which is dubious given that “Hispanic” and “African-American aren’t classified or necessarily racial classifications to begin with) not to mention either the omission of biracial or multi-racial people(or perhaps the assignment of one race to them) and the omission of American Indians altogether, for either invoking controversy in order to get higher ratings or do this “social experiment” could also be evidence that racism still exists.

    Hmm, to move your argument further, do you distinguish between dividing races and racial segregation? Because by your argument the racial segregation laws themselves weren’t racist, but the response against them, was? Separate and Equal laws in educational and transportation institutions(among others) weren’t racist, but objecting to them was? Would they have been *less* racist if people had not tried to eliminate these aparteid laws in the United States?

    These “social mistakes of the past” as you call them were “corrected” because people reacted to the laws mandating the separation of races as well as the rationalization that the facilities and opportunities for these separated races were equal.

  25. 24
    ms_xeno says:

    William:

    I think that what Survivor is doing is for “what sells” rather than any social message.

    As if they weren’t delivering a “social message” in deciding that this buttheaded idea is “what sells.”

    Give me strength.