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New Season of Survivor reads like Chappelle Show 'Gone Wrong' Episode

- Matthew Lynch -

[Recently] I was checking my email on Yahoo when I saw a headline that read, "New Survivor Divides Groups by Race." Like any other person in the world, I wanted to find out more, so I clicked on the story link. At first I thought that the headline was just a play on words, but as I read more, I figured out that it was a machination devised by the show producers in order to boost ratings and exploit the 'color line.' Apparently on the upcoming season of Survivor, the contestants will be divided into 4 teams, segregated according to 'race.' The four 'races' represented are White, African American, Latino and Asian. It would be easy for me to excoriate CBS for their decision to sanction the show production, but in retrospect, would we expect anything else from this media conglomerate?

As I began to skim the rest of the story, it began to read more like a
Chappelle Show skit gone terribly wrong. You know, like The Racial Draft, or The Mad Real World. These skits are considered classics by purveyors of sketch comedies and Chappelle's Show. Why? Because they were outlandish parodies based on deep-seated racial stereotypes and bigotry. The aforementioned sketches contained interpolations of the tacit thoughts of members of variegated racial groups, but sprinkled with a dash of levity.

In the United States, wars and skirmishes alike have been fought over the issue of race so, in my opinion, it is sickening to see this issue exploited for monetary gain. Martin Luther King Jr. longed to see a blessed community where a person's race would not be exploited, but the producers of this show are hell bent on setting race relations back another 100 years. Producers have responded by saying that this twist is just another layer added to Survivor's social experiment premise.

Like The Bell Curve, which posits that Blacks are intellectually inferior to
Whites, (and all other races for that matter), the new season of Survivor, I suspect, will yield findings that will be deleterious to the psyches of African American youth and adults. I am tired of seeing television programming being dictated by the clandestine activities of avaricious executives who care more about ratings than people and seem to push substance to the wayside. Producers of this show do not realize that they are interfering with the racial stability (as preposterous as it sounds) of the United States. Let's pray that I'm exaggerating!

- (Views expressed by guest commentators are not necessarily those held or supported by The Black House) -
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I was talking with a white person about this crap. I told him that no self-respecting Black person would sell-out to this ministrel show.

I also told him that regardless of the results, Black folks are set for denigration. If the Black team wins: "Well, of course they did. They are savages accustomed to surviving in a savage environment." If the Black team loses: Well, of course they lost to our superior intelligence."
NAACP's Stance on 'Survivor'
Los Angeles Times

By Greg Braxton

September 13, 2006

The president of the NAACP, who is also a CBS Corp. board member, said Tuesday that this season's premise for the broadcaster's hit series 'Survivor' - separating contestants by race - was 'a bad idea.'
But Bruce Gordon added that a resulting furor about the concept had gotten out of hand, and was out of proportion to the show's significance amid more important issues facing minorities, both in the entertainment arena and in society at large.

'There are countless race abuses that exist in the entertainment community every day,' Gordon said. 'For the media to give airtime to the format of a TV show when it is silent on the absence of African Americans on Sunday morning news shows is shameful.'

'Survivor: Cook Islands' debuts Thursday. As in the series' previous seasons, 'tribes' of contestants are pitted against one another in the wilds.

While editorial pages and the Internet have been swarming with chatter about the newly segregated reality show, Gordon has been conspicuously absent from the discussion.

Some minority leaders expressed concern that the NAACP's silence was the result of Gordon's CBS position.

'There should have been disclosure that he sits on the board,' said Gwen Crider, executive director of the National Multicultural Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes minority inclusion in businesses. 'At the very least, there could be speculation that this is the reason we have not heard from him.'

But in an interview, Gordon weighed in, taking on both 'Survivor' and its critics. He said he had not previously engaged in the controversy because he wanted to fully examine the situation.

'I decided not to get caught up in a knee-jerk reaction,' Gordon said. 'I wanted to think about it, to explore what made sense.'

In a statement issued by the NAACP on Tuesday, the organization said it was 'premature to judge the show purely on conjecture.'

But in that statement, and in previous remarks in June asserting that the TV industry had failed to honor its commitment to diversity, Gordon's membership on the CBS board was not mentioned.

'My position at the NAACP and my position on the CBS board are not connected and shouldn't be connected,' Gordon said. 'It in no way reflects any bias.'

Copyright © 2006 Los Angeles Times, All Rights Reserved.

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