Culture, Identity

Race Baiting on Survivor

crossposted from jspot

For the 13th season of Survivor premiering Sept 14th, CBS has decided to split up the teams this year by race. As the Boston Globe so eloquently put, “Maybe they should call it “Survivor: The Race Riots.” Or “Survivor: Sharks vs. Jets.””
According to Reality Blurred: “After Survivor decided to cast a more ethnically diverse group, and then split them into “tribes” by race (Asian, black, white and Hispanic), the show had to recruit most of the cast, Jeff Probst tells asap’s The Slug. That’s because of the traditionally low number of applications from non-whites that the show receives…We told them nothing about the way we were gonna group them because we didn’t even know that at the time.”
Traditional media, activists and elected officials have already begun responding, all recognizing the serious problems that separating groups by races on Survivor will cause. A group of New York City officials blasted CBS saying that the setup will promote divisiveness, including City Councilman John Liu who is “launching a campaign urging CBS to pull the show because it could encourage racial division and promote negative typecasts.”
And, a group called New Demographic, which “mobilizes people through a variety of media and in-person workshops to work towards an anti-racist future,” has been at the center of responding to this horrible idea by CBS producers to “diversify” the show by using such divisive tactics.
Watch interviews with co-founders of New Demographic Carmen Van Kerckhove and Jen Chau here and here.

4 thoughts on “Race Baiting on Survivor

  1. It may seem divisive to start the game this way. But, don’t you think it’s pretty likely that at some point the tribes will come together into a big happy melting pot of a family? So, I see this as a false controversy.
    It may be nothing more than a great marketing ploy. And, it’s a sign that the producers feel desperate enough to try something new. What I’d like to see is a survivor based on the twelve tribes of Israel. Let’s see who gets lost this time.

  2. Since CBS will be exploring American race relations in such an intelligent and sensitive manner, I’m looking forward to the following installment of this show, Survivor: Jerusalem. It will feature teams of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze participants. Should be really fun once they merge the tribes!

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