Friday, September 01, 2006

Survival of the Fittest?

CBS recently announced that their hit reality show, Survivor, will feature a new twist this season. In the past, contestants have been divided up into tribes, and those tribes competed for various awards such as food, fishing gear, etc. The show has divided contestants by gender, by age, and through random processes over the years.

This year contestants are divided by race. There will be four teams of five contestants, including white, black, latino, and Asian teams. As a longtime Survivor fan, this is a great twist on the show. I'm often times fascinated by the behavior of contestants as they battle for a single twinkie, or as they plot to vote out a member perceived to be the strongest. Throwing race into the mix may add some new wrinkles, but then again, it may not.

But the real story in all of this is the criticism being heaped on the show. Some say the racial division is a gimmick intended to boost ratings. Wow! Can you believe network executives want to boost ratings? There's a shocker. Others chastise the show creators because we shouldn't divide up people by race. But what's amazing to me is that race-based political advocates are crying about the show.

In New York, the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC) (otherwise known as Anybody But Whitey) is demonsrating today in protest of the show. Apparently BLAC believes it's OK to divide people up by race when you are handing out government contracts (whites to the back of the line), and it's OK to divide people up by race when you're handling college admissions (bonus points for blacks and latinos only!), but it's not OK to group people by race for a meaningless TV show. Does anybody else see the double standard here?

Story on NY City Council and BLAC's hypocritical response here.

No comments: