Friday, September 15, 2006

the race-based "Survivor"

When I first heard that on this season of "Survivor", the tribes would be divided by race, I cringed. My kneejerk reaction was, "How can they do that! That's offensive." The media seemed to have the same kneejerk reaction, for the most part.

As a good, liberal white California resident, I feel awkward discussing race. I do that silly thing of never mentioning someone's ethnicity. If I were to try to describe someone to you, I'd go on and on about how "he's the really tall guy, with buzzed hair, usually wears funky t-shirts" but I'd never mention that he was black. That's the beauty of this "Survivor": it makes you mention race; it makes you think about race.

Having lived in and travelled throughout Asia, I knew that the idea of an Asian tribe was ridiculous. The differences between Japanese and Thai culture, for example, are huge. I felt for the Vietnamese man, who lamented that he doesn't normally fit in well with other people of Asian descent because he's sort of a hippy. (And mind you, it's okay for him to say he doesn't fit in well with Asian people; I, as a white girl, would never, never, never say that).

I loved it when Jeff asked the African-American team at tribal council what they thought of dividing the teams by race. They all dissolved into laughter. "It's just funny", one said, as they all gave into genuine laughter.

I only wish there was a Jewish tribe.

2 comments:

lisaw said...

My (Jewish) coworkers and I were talking about what would happen if they had a Jewish tribe - we'd lose all the athletic events, but since we supposedly control the media and the money, we'd win anyway.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I used to hound my Jewish husband to apply for Survivor, and I'm sure he could do very well in the challenges. However, his personality is such that he'd probably be voted out very early... or if he managed to avoid the first few tribal councils, they'd keep him on, figuring no one would give him the money. Heh.