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Race-based Survivor's first casualty

Keith Boykin has a post up commenting on “Survivor: Cook Islands.” I didn’t watch it (I think the last Survivor I tuned into was the Australian one). He wasn’t surprised when the first person to go was the black gay man.

I don’t know what to think about this race-based team set up on the show. It’s interesting, as a study in group behavior and how cultural stereotypes do or don’t manifest themselves, but our culture still has so many damn problems around race, that the potential for reinforcing people’s ignorance and creating further misunderstanding is there. Keith:

As a reality show veteran (Showtime’s “American Candidate“), I’m well aware of the impact of race on these shows. On the same episode where I was voted off of “American Candidate,” a Showtime call-in viewer survey indicated that only half of the viewers felt that America was ready for a black president. And that was on the “liberal” network that brought you “Soul Food” and “Queer As Folk.” The producer of my show, R.J. Cutler, later went on to produce the controversial “Black.White” show on FX. But who’s to blame when race rears its head on reality TV? Is TV creating the racial separation or is it simply putting up a mirror to show us who we really are?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding