Saturday, August 26, 2006

Survivor & Race: Thailand and Amazon

More observations about race in Survivor:
Thailand: Ghandia and Ted began the game on the same team. They started bonding, but by episode three she accused him of “becoming sexual” with her at night and revealed that she’d been raped in college. She tried to forge an alliance of the women based on painting Ted as a sexual predator. It didn’t work and she was voted off in episode four.

Interestingly, Shi-an, the Taiwanese girl on the opposite team, admitted to the camera in episode five that she was shocked at how “culturally different” she felt from her white teammates and said she “stuck out like a sore thumb.” She was considered a know-it-all by her team. Her white teammate Robb was repulsed by the fact that she ate chicken livers and gizzards. She was branded a traitor and voted off when there was a false merge and she complained to Ted’s team about being cut out on her own team because of race.

Ted made it to the final five before being labeled "not a team player" and voted out.

Amazon: This was the first Survivor game with no black male. The black female, Joanna, objected to having the immunity idol near her in the camp because she felt it was “sacrilegious.” She got into it with the deaf girl, Christy, in episode two because of her religious beliefs.

Joanna was praised for her "physical strength" at the tribal council in episode two by a teammate who was desperate not to get voted off. In episode four Joanna was described by Deena, an openly gay feminist, as being “the most physical” with “too much power, too much force” and a “fierce competitor.” Joanna was voted out that episode.

Daniel, a Chinese male, was accused of “not being friendly” in episode one, but he became friends in episode two with Matthew, a white teammate who spoke fluent Mandarin. Daniel was betrayed by Matthew and voted out in episode three.

In the above examples and the ones from yesterday you can see the emerging pattern with regards to the black contestants. The black men are "lazy workhorses" and the black women are "strong-willed." There's also a pattern with the Asian contestants -- they're considered "not friendly."

To be honest, Ghandia and Ted really bothered me, as did the ultra-religious Joanna. Regarding the latter, it was very interesting that Deena, the lesbian, basically axed Joanna for not being feminine. Ain't that some shit?

I almost felt sorry for Shi-an, but I think she learned a very important lesson about how others perceive her. It was funny, she was quite lazy, but that's not the problem her team had with her. They clearly thought that she thought she was smarter than them, so she got bounced because of an Asian stereotype that generally is considered positive.

More to come...

Technorati tags: Survivor | Diversity | Race | Reality Shows

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