In what could be considered the height of hypocrisy in light of my earlier post ranting about the excrement that is Reality TV, I watched Survivor last night. Not only did I watch it last night, but I always watch it. Perhaps I should have mentioned this when I was deriding all forms of Reality TV, but it didn't seem the place to air my guilty little secret. It's still Reality TV, but it is the best/least awful of the genre - it was the first of the recent craze and remains the most interesting. I'm not going to go into a defence of the show, though I have one prepared in my head. Instead I am writing in particular about this season's controversial gimmick. For those who don't know, the 20 survivors have been split into 4 tribes by race. There is an Hispanic tribe, a black tribe, a white tribe and an Asian tribe. Anyone stumbling across this post having any problems with my descriptions of these tribes for reasons of Political Correctness can blow it out their ass. Nothing pisses me off more than that. Don't be so bloody stupid and instead worry about things that actually matter. Now, where was I? Ah yes, the racial divisions. There has been much made of the show's decision to employ this gimmick, but the protests relating to racism bother me. To suggest that this premise is inherently racist is bizarre and incorrect. What would be racist would be if certain tribes got different treatment than others, if they were somehow degraded or belittled where others weren't. If the Asian tribe were punished, for example, or made to crawl through mud just for being Asian, then there would be racism. But merely splitting players into groups based on their race and then allowed to all play the game equally is not remotely racist. And one who suggests otherwise simply doesn't understand the definition. I am struggling to see any difference between the racial split and the male/female split employed a few seasons ago. If all males (or all people called John, or all bald people) are put on one team but then given equal treatment, there is no form of prejudice being used to disadvantage anyone. In fact, the male/female split probably deserved more criticism, as on the face of it one would expect that the men had been handed an unfair advantage. Survivor is a very physical game and no one can deny that, in general, men can run faster or lift more than women. And yet the women gave the men a spanking. Ironically though, despite getting to something like a 6 women to 1 man advantage, the man ended up winning. Amusingly to me, they were brought down by an all too true stereotype. Once they had neutralized the male threat incredibly efficiently, they started the bitchy catfighting that is often, for me, their least attractive trait. They then proceeded to pick each other off one at a time, all the time making enemies of one another, and allowing the man to reach the final two with relatively few enemies and to walk off with a million bucks.
There is one aspect of potential racism in this show which I shouldn't gloss over. Though I refute that the show and the splitting of the tribes is in itself racist, it could lead to racist ill-will from one tribe towards another. And from the fans of one tribe towards another. But it could instead lead to feelings of ethnic pride, which are a good thing when they are not mutated into negative feelings towards tribes of a different ethnicity - that is, if those feelings are because of the ethnicity. But what is wrong if the black tribe feel antipathy towards the white tribe solely because they are a rival team? Surely that is no different to me, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, disliking every Washington Redskin because they are a Redskin, irrespective of any of their other attributes. The black tribe can dislike every member of the white tribe just because they are a member of the rival team that is the white tribe, and not because the skin color of the individual members is white.
Any viewers of the show that feel anything negative for any of the four tribes based on their color were already racist to begin with, and as such they long ago lost any right to an opinion on this or any other subject. No one will be driven to racism by watching this show. But if anyone is, then fine. That simply means that they already had it in them to turn out this way one day, and they've simply outed themselves early so that they can one day burn in the Hell that I don't believe in, but ironically many of them do.