The blogsphere is just abuzz with the news that for the 13th edition of Survivor
, the teams will start out divided along racial lines.
I know of at least two bloggers out there who aren't happy with this development and shared their thoughts on it in their blogs. Fellow middle Tennessee blogger Katie Allison said
I think this is incredibly irresponsible of CBS. It's just ugly and an obvious attempt to stir the race pot. Gee, why don't they just go all the way and have Hezballoh tribe vs. Israelis. Or get two of the warring groups in Darfur to field "tribes"
And my good friend Logtar brought up this point
Now this whole premise of a race survivor comes up. My child being in a mixed race environment has a lot of things to learn and be aware of. Can the separation of races really teach him that the ultimate goal is equality and unity
I also know it was picked up on Nashville is Talking
My first thought and response to both Katie and Logtar was--it's Survivor.
If past seasons are any indication, these four tribes will last all of one episode before they're all merged into two bigger tribes. Logistically, it's just easier for camera crews to follow two tribes than four. And if you watched last season, you'll know the whole four tribes was quickly resolved in the first ten minutes of episode two when we had our first huge tribal merge, including snarky comments by Jeff Probst.
And on some level, this "news" has already achieved what CBS and the producers of Survivor
wanted--it has people talking about the show. Any publicity is good publicity as they say...
But as I've thought about it and considered what my fellow bloggers have said (and I'm sure there are others who have posted about it, I just haven't seen them or linked to them). And I'm not necessarily sure that this is that bad an idea. Whether we like to admit it or not, racial lines exist in this country and in the world. If reality TV is supposed to be about--oh, I don't know, reality, then is it possible that Survivor
is merely holding up a mirror? We may not like the reflection we see necssarily.
I also find it ironic that reality shows are criticized so often for being so patently un-like reality and here is Survivor
trying to possibly be a reflection of society and drawing fire for it. I guess it's damned if you do, damened if you don't.
Now, I do find Logtar's post about how this might affect his family a fascinating one. Logtar is from South America, growing up in Columbia, before his family moved to the U.S. and became citizens here. He's married to Cielio, who has a son, whom I know Logtar takes a great deal of pride, joy and responsibility in being a step-father to. Just talk to him for more than five minutes or read his blog and you'll see it come through. And, like Logtar, I do wonder if this will help tear down some walls or just reinforce some predjuices that still exist.
I hate to say that it, but it will probably do both.
Like Logtar, I often wonder about the racial predjuices and assumptions that still exist today. As some of you know, my neice and nephew are adopted, bi-racial children. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis or know me, know this matters not one iota to me--they are my family and I have loved them both from the since before they were born.
But I do often worry about the types of issues that they will face growing up that I never had to deal with. They are surrounded now by people who love them and know their story. Who know how they came to be part of our family and the blessing they both are to us. But as they grow up and head out to school and the real world, where people don't know their story or background, I often worry about the pressures and predjuices they will face.
I often get scared for them, wishing I could shield them from the predjuice and stupidity they will face. But I also know I can't do that all the time because it would be denying who they are and what makes them both special and unique.
So, when I hear about racial tensions in our country and world, it worries me. It worried me before they were born but now that they're here, it worries me more.
And maybe it's silly notion, but I really sort of hope that this Survivor
thing might actually get some people thinking about this, maybe in a new way. I don't expect Survivor
to have any answers for it. (The only thing I expect is there will a person at the end who gets a million bucks and their fifteen minutes of fame). But if the show can bring up a measured, intellignet debate on race and racism, I'm all for that.
That wouldn't be bad for just a "silly little reality show" would it?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/24/2006 08:48:00 AM