Why a Racial “Survivor” Is a Good Thing
Reality show gimmick will force conversation and maybe show that skin color doesn’t matter.
By Tony Pierce,
TONY PIERCE is the editor of LAist.com
August 26, 2006
WHO KNEW A stupid game show could launch a race war?
That’s what nervous pundits and politicians from coast to coast are saying about the decision by the reality hit “Survivor” to divide this fall season’s 20 contestants into four competing groups (or “tribes”) — whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians.
“This could get ugly,” warned a San Diego Union-Tribune columnist. New York City Council members said they’d launch a boycott. One Arkansas paper ran the headline: “Race wars are coming to a TV near you.”
First, unless four white cops get caught on videotape billy-clubbing a black man, and then all get let off the hook, television has little or no power to inspire racial violence. Second, Americans don’t rise up for anything nowadays, or else people would be rioting over unleaded being $3 a gallon and the president continuing a war most of us oppose. And third, dividing “Survivor” into ethnic tribes is more likely to keep people off the streets and in their homes watching TV, where they ought to be.
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[Update: Survivor.com agrees with me. imagine that:] “I always disagree with the LA Times, but this is actually the voice of reason. Maybe this whole “race” thing might actually be a good idea and people will actually work together! What a concept…”