Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

CBS Plays the Race Card?

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Lisa de Moraes, TV critic for the Washington Post, wanted to share her Aug. 24th column, "Sagging Survivor Plays the Race Card.

de Moraes ridiculed CBS's new edition of "Survivor" which debutes next month. The upcoming season will separate contestants into four tribes based on race.

Ken Parish Perkins, who writes a weekly media column for the Chicago Defender, also weighed in on the issue. Perkins claims white supremacists websites "are buzzing with possibilities. "

"Anything that pits the races in a tug-o-war, that creates a reason to rally behind a person just because of the color of their skin, whether it's the less-spoken kind, like a tennis match or Family Feud, falls right into their ideology of racial superiority," Perkins wrote in his column published Sept. 8.

Still, it isn't like many of us haven't rooted for a team or two because of race. For instance, when the Williams Sisters first came on the scene, didn't many blacks want to see them win simply because they were black? Yes, they were outstanding players from the start. But they were also the first black women to dominate the sport since Althea Gibson.

And didn't a lot of white people understand where Larry Bird was coming from a couple of years ago when he said "If you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get white America a little excited."

Hmmm.

Survivor--and it's creator, Mark Burnett, won't be breaking any taboos. They'll be keeping it real.

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36 Comments

Mary,

I think that the race based teams of Survivor are just a stunt. If they really wanted to deal with racial conflict, then they'd stock the teams with bigots like using KKK members for the "white" team.

Miss Mary:

Keeping it real does not equate withkeeping it right. Why not diversify the teams - surely more
reflective of today's world than
the old "separate but equal" factions before? At best a show of this kind is
"reality" tv - heavily
scripted and aimed towards viewers who
think Jerry Springer
is entertaining - re


Yes, CBS is playing the race-card. And CBS is the network of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Katie Couric. So again, all these PC-thought police need to 'practice what they preach'. I see the democrats are outraged over this coming movie and/or series 'Path to 9/11' which Disney created for ABC and brings up President Clinton's failures on terrorism. They want it edited and/or not shown. Wait a minute, "whatever happened to there NO CENSORSHIP and openminded opinions?" And isn't the Disney Co-Chaiman, George Mitchell, the former senator from Maine and a leading DEMOCRAT. Again, they need to 'practice what they preach'...Mary, finally you bring up the Williams sisters. Mary, those two ladies are gorgeous. This is one white guy who would probably be doing somersaults on Michigan Avenue if I could get a date with either one of those girls.

Race plays a huge role in sports or any competition. So big in the NBA that many players have come out (Rober Horry for one) by saying "people who think Larry Bird was the best ever, are racist". Cheering for people of your own race goes back a hundred years to the bare knuckles prize fights which pitted black fighers against white fighers. This sort of TV show will drive good ratings and all kinds of controversy. It will also create imagined racism when it doesn't exist - kind of like the Apprentice show with the infamous "Omarosa". When a competitor used the term "that's like the pot calling the kettle black", it was comically considered a racial insult. No doubt, the usual double standard will continue in a show like this - reminds me of when a white player won the NBA slam dunk contest 7 or 8 years ago, Reggie Theus says "I can't believe a white guy won". Can you imagine the backlash if a black swimmer won an event in an Olympic qualifying event and the commentator says "I can't believe a black guy won". And so it goes...

Couldn't agree with you more. I don't understand what all of the fuss is really about given the state of race relations here, which, in case people haven't noticed, mirrors almost precisely the premise of the season's show. Or, could it be that this year's show mirrors almost precisely the state of race relations?

GM, Coke and other brands that have pulled out as sponsors are hypocrites of the first order, as are the people, black, white and other, who are feigning indignation and being appalled.

I couldn't care less about which team wins but I do have enough sense to know that the question of racial superiority isn't going to be decided by the outcome of "Survivor." Anyone who believes differently is of inferior intellect--at the least.

This is a stroke of genius by CBS and the producers of "Survivor". I have never watched that show before, but I might now. Separating the people by race is just a mirror of our society. So there is nothing wrong with them doing the show according to race. Because remember, this country is the Divided States of America, not the United States of America.

Race does matter--no matter what color you are.

I am big survivor fan...
but will not watch this one...I watch tv for entertainment...this will
just keep the hate going...
sorry

MITCHELL COMMENT:

Please elaborate on your belief that the program will stir up hate. If you cheer for the black team does that mean you hate the white one or the Asian one or the Latino team?

Mary, I want to tell you, I know how your colums promote racism. Stop it, please???"

Some of my best friends are black; I am white. We feel you are acting 'PRO RAce1" AND, color has nothing to do with us. Please get off the subject and quit using "RACE," TO KEEP YOUR JOB. I quit watching channel 2 because of DIANE BROWN. You guys have got to stop this race crap. REALLY

MITCHELL COMMENT:

What does "your columns promote racism mean?" Are you saying that my columns cause real estate brokers to steer blacks away from white neighborhoods? Also clarify what you and your best friends mean by acting PRO Race?" Finally, this blog is about race relations. If it offends you, please feel free not to participate.

regarding race, lets go revisit the article on the Beverly Park suspect. HAve you revised your opinion regarding attempted murder yet Mary? You should, given how wrong you are; this is a fine example of how you waive the banner for blacks. This Disturbed Black Youth is also accused of beating someone with a brick, in the head, for a handful of change.

Is he still simply needing a hug from his momma (or grandma, depending who has custody.)

Hes on his way to prison for a long time, thankfully.

I think it is simply genetic.

I would just like to clarify for people who have not watched Survivor that it is an individual game. The participants start out as 4 separate teams ("tribes"), but merge into one tribe when it gets down to 10 participants at which point they then compete against each other until there is one winner. They also often switch members of tribes prior to merging into one, so people will not be able to root for their race's team for very long.

I think most of the people who think this will encourage division among the races have never seen the show. It is definitely not scripted and not Springer-like. The survival aspect of the game is real to a great extent. You have to work together with the people around you to build shelter, obtain food & water, etc. I understand that CBS will not let people die out there, but they will let people suffer through severe dehydration, exposure to the elements and starvation. I think (hope) it will actually do some good for race relations when people get to see that the camps created by the different races are not that different. Later in the show they will be forced to join into one diverse tribe. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

Keep an open mind. One of the early entries in this blog, maybe the first, posed the question "Why aren't more people talking about race?" Isn't this getting people talking?

I never watched the show and I still won't watch the show with the racial teams. However, there is nothing wrong with what they're doing. Every day life is exactly that, separate. Most people want it that way. As far as the show I think the entire premise is absurd and a complete waste of time.

As far as using the KKK for White bigots, you can find any number of Black groups that fit that bill also, so why not mention them? This bigotry is not a one way street. If we're striving for equality, let's make all things equal, including owing up to the less savory aspects of human nature. Stop putting it all on the White race.

Linda H, Robert Horry is a racist and a dimwit if he said that about Larry Bird. And I do agree that race palys a factor in how athletes are perceived. Just look at how the NFL and the sports media try to over hype and overrate black quarterbacks like Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb & Daunte Culpepper. Those three are average at best, with Vick actually being below average. Yet the media refers to them as stars because, as Rush Limbaugh says, the NFL and the media are pining for a black QB to do well. BTW, Limbaugh got fired by ESPN for saying those truths because he is white. In closing, is there going to be affirmative action rules on this "Survivor" show? Are whites going to have to do double the work to stay on the show? My sense is that they will.

who cares? it's just a lame reality show anyway.

John,
You're way off the subject bro!

Jean,
Please proof read before you send your blogs!!! It hurts my eyes.

I'd like to know if you are interested in a story, Ms. Mitchell, regarding an incident I witnessed in my Gold Coast high rise last night. I am a White female and I was appalled by the way the Chicago Police handled an incident regarding a Black family. Please email me, as I do not want to post details over the Blog. Thank you.

MITCHELL COMMENT:

You can send details to mmitchell@suntimes.com.

Why not more groups...Irish Americans, Polish Americans, etc??? Why is it only Africa, Asia and Mexico/South America who get their own tribe? I would argue descendants of these other countries have contributed to this country every bit as much as these other countries/geographies. Same O, Same O....

Hi Mary, I just wanted to ask where is your blog on Sundays collumn about the cops?

MITCHELL COMMENT:

I didn't post my Sunday column,

Mary,

I watch Survivor and think that the show with teams divided by race will result in higher ratings and more discussion amongst the viewing audience. I do not think that the tribal separation will last for more than a couple of shows.

In the past, the tribes were merged into one, as the contestants were eliminated. And, in the past the race of the winner has varied. The person who wins this survivor will be the person who can outplay, outwit, and outlast the others. Race will not be a factor in determining the winner. No one will win just because they are white, black, latino or asian.

It doesn't offend me... or my friends. It irritates us. You have to start thinking we are equal, and we are. You are discussing in another topic about a "black sugeon" wanting to purchase a house in Barrington. Welcome him to my ex's home in Dolton. He will be welcomed, and the privacy is there. Quit blaming race! My best neighbors are all BLACK and better than the whites I knew. Quit bringint up the
RACE CRAP. As long as you bring it up, the longer it survives. My best friends are black; I am white. I see no color. I stop to ask if a black person needs a ride. I got robbed, offering a ride from a neighbor in a different state, to take him to school. You have got to quit the negative and turn it into a positive! I nearly lost my life dealing with Black people...but I did the opposite turn: I figured it didn't matter what color they were...I would have done the same.

This blog is really turning whites againsts blacks and I suggest you remove the blog. You make race relations worse. You honestly do...we're suppose to take negatives and make them positives.

You keep bringing up negatives, which generates the opposite of what you intended by this blog. You surely are a racist. I feel sorry for you, cuz you made a mess of your blog.

You instigated more of what you believe in, rather than what we, as Americans are striving to do: get along, respect and help one another. I actually feel bad about what you are conveying to your race....Can you reverse it and act like I, as a white person, formally a government employee, started this blog, and say you were fair? No way!

You instigate the race relations, rather than resolve it in a humble way. You are really useless in your endeavor. You cause more problems than you are worth.

This comes from a former U.S. governent Personnel TOP person. No braging...just telling you, as a journalist, you ARE Promoting racism and you need to be reprimanded by your superiors or fired. You are guilty of promoting it.

MITCHELL COMMENT:

Jean, if you are sick of what you call the "race crap," why are you on this blog?

Race stering started in the '90s - early 90's while I was renting in Dolton. the landlords were from Caldwell RealEstate that was later sued in South Holland, IL for racial steering. I hated both of them...they gave me 30 days notice (I'm white) to kick the streets to knock my kid's out of Catholic School, and what not.

Ya know what? They were white Duches on a plane when I went to the Sheriff's Office to find out my rights. I wrote a note, as they directed, to tell him to take a "Hike."

He, in turn, changed the locks on me. I in turn, changed the locks on him. It was a month to month lease, but, "I ruined their vacation while they found out on the plane I had not moved out; the people who bought the two story house were illegals. They didn't give me a problem; the landlord did.

What I did was, demanded my deposit money back through a different real estate company to embarrase them.

What THEY did, was offered me a check on the spot (as if I was stupid that they would not stop payment...) long story short, their lawyer wanted to sue me. For what?

I didn't own anything but a car, paid 8 years of rent on tine, fixed up their house and guess what?

Gave them deals to sell my sister's 2 complex townhouse in Dyer, my brother's house in Dolton...and the happy ending is they racially steered people out of South Holland in the early '90s.

Now look at South Holland, Dolton, the environment. Went to hell. So did the "DUTCH" image.

So did the retailers...my point: as soon as the neighborhoods' rob the image of the Dutch and once was the populous image of a neighborhood, those residents fled...in fear of their surroundings, morals and beliefs...in exxchange for run-down houses, guns, theft, robbery, and loss of economic value.

Trade the economics for the violence, and I was out of there in no ytime.

Kellogg, Shaw, Genova,I'd rather move than deal with those idiots. They are as corrupt as your aldermen and Chicago itself. And don't blame it on

RACE, blame it on all you people.

Stroger's worker lives in Indiana...two blocks down from my son..how loyal!!!! Living in Indiana, serving CROOK COUNTY!!! Want her address? I'll give it, just to tell you what she told me..."there's a freeze, and you have to know someone."

You don't deserve a day of voticing in CROOK COUNTY. NONE of you!!!! Daley either. And I am WHITE! That seems to make a difference in your column Mary, color, not MORALES.

I wish you Black People had to take a FLIGHT like us.

The race card is played so often now by the media, you have to be "educated" at home as to whats right & wrong. I take interracial dating as a point. Look at the media's portrayal of interracial dating. The vast majority of the relationships that are broadcasts in either movies or daytime tv is geared for the white males perspective. I mean, look at the relationships, almost all of them have the white man dating/relating with the minority women. If you have the opposite (African American Male w/a white woman, that relationship is either given only enough airtime to progress the storyline, or the storyline has the relationship taking a negative turn, i.e. not being compatible or something's in place so the relationship can "blossom" like the way it's viewed when the "sister" takes in some ethnic diversification.. The race issue as well as the playing cards will never go away while the present powers to be maintain control.

Jean, I appreciate the passion, and the pride you seem to have in your race is commendable. But you need to calm down a little bit when posting because it is very difficult to figure out what you are talking about.

those are strange ideas regarding white flight, jean.

unless the white people in question actually up and left their homes, I"m guessing all of them sold them on the marekt, just like anyone who sells property.

so, why did these upstanding white people sell to black people in the first place?

it takes two to tango - a neighborhood doesn't go from white to black unless there a good number of white people who simply can't stand to live around black people, there's no other way to do the math.

We have had race based shows before..In the 1980s we had the Dating Game and Love Connection where the contestants were segregated by race. In the 1990s Studs continued this practice. In the late 1990s and early part of this decade we had Change of Heart. However, this show allowed dark skinned Asian women to compete with black women for black men. But, the white contestants continued to be exclusive. Had the producer not blatantly come out and said this no one would even have observed.

to Keith and Jerry:
To Jerry: I think (I wish Jean would clarify) that what Jean was trying to tell Mary and us is that Jean was more or less strongarmed out of Dolton by out-of-town realtors so that another group (in this case African-Americans) could become the dominent population. Alot of folks do feel that way, Jerry. I live close to there and an awful lot of people feel that way because they feel deals were cut to change neighborhoods for political power purposes. The Shaw brothers came in to control Dolton and also Riverdale and South Holland. However, Jesse Jackson, Jr. has his own group (Meeks, Miller, etc.) and probably has much more power and control. Folks don't realize but these out-of-town realtors (most northside and north 'burbs at that) made life absolutely miserable for people like Jean. Again, they wanted to change for political influences. In otherwords, the DEALS were cut beforehand...
To Keith: I don't know if the media has some motive when it comes to interracial dating or not. If they did, it would not surprise me. I can tell you this: I'm a middle-aged moderate-conservative WHITE guy. I can't stomach these liberals of today. I'm very conservative on many issues. I'm Pro-Life, against same-sex marriage, I'm a war vet (VietNam) and recently retired from my employment (Blue-Collar). I even think people like Jackson and Sharpton are prima-donnas whose purposes are for there own personal power and ego's. Does BUDWEISER ring a bell? And I think Stroeger was a joke even before the deals were cut after he became ill. Does his, along with William Henry and Beavers, backstabbing of Tim Evans, after Harold Washington died, ring a bell? And I think these PC-thought police advocates are a bunch of phonies, most of whom who don't practice what they preach. Come to think of it, I'm probably a perfect pinup-poster for the conservatives. But do you know what, my girlfriend is African-American. She is a BLACK woman. Neither one of us ever thought or ever wanted to get into a serious probable lifelong relationship with a person of another color. Believe me, neither one of us is trying to make a social statement. It just happened. Therefore, I will give the media slack as far as having an agenda on what you say they do. Only they would really know.

MITCHELL COMMENT:

Thanks for that clarification on what Jean meant. How do out-of-town real estate agents strong-arm people out of their homes? For instance, I live in what has become a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. Many of the houses are being rehabbed and flipped, but as far as I know real estate firms aren't knocking on doors. Is that what happened in Dolton?

To Linda H: Lets be fair. Reggie Theus did NOT say, "I can't believe a white guy won", when a few years ago Brett Barry (a white player) won the slam-dunk contest. I know, I watched it. What won it for him was taking-off a foot BEHIND the free throw line and gliding through the air and still being able to dunk the ball. What Reggie said was, "this is another false stereotype thats been put to rest." Be fair to Reggie, please. By the way, Reggie is in his 2nd year as head coach at New Mexico State University and doing a great job (games and his players classroom performance).

Playing Devil's Advocate here.

The posts and Ms. Mitchell's article is binding people in a knot. The "Survivor" reality show is making some people take racial sides already.

Are you NOT sure CBS's purpose this ONE TIME, is to do this, since the show's inception?

How many leave their tribal communities daily, which resemble them in every aspect of their ethnicity, already?

This show is not showing something new. It is only showing the REALITY of American society at this present point in time.

Majority of Black people go home to black communities. Just as White people go home to white communities. The same as Asians go home to asian communities. Also, Latinos go home to latino communites.

Even on our jobs, people have a tendency to flock to someone who looks similar to them, initially. Though there is interaction between the races, which is done basically to complete work tasks, most go on coffee breaks and lunches with people who look like them. At the end of the day, most go to their SEPARATE CONCLAVE of sameness.

Please, tell me how this show is promoting racial overtones when it is prevelant in our society anyway?

White people are not flocking to move into Black, Latino, Asian communities unless there is gentrification, and the poorer people moved out, or the neighborhood changes tremedously to reflect a Euro-centric flavor.

Some Blacks, Latinos, Asians move into White communities, but NOT for the reasons that a lot of white people think. The latter groups move there because they can afford to move to places where police protection, schools, and other amenities are plentiful for their families. That is all.

I got off track, "How does this particular Survivor series make it more racial, than the others before it, considering what I just stated?"

"Thanks for that clarification on what Jean meant. How do out-of-town real estate agents strong-arm people out of their homes?"

I'd like to hear the answer to that as well. The idea that some savvy group of realtors is forcing white people out of their homes is certainly a new twist.

And even if realtors were knocking on doors, so what? Nobody can MAKE you sell your house, that's an absurd rationalization.

Mary, thats why I wish Jean would clarify. But from what I hear as far as Dolton goes, what I do know from the neighboring village of Burnham I'll try to answer best I can which I feel probably parallels the Dolton situation in some ways. About 15 years back in Burnham some minority tenants rented upstairs apartments at the 140th location of Greenbay Avenue. In an old beaten-down two-flat. I have friends there so I know the situation. Matter of fact, that building burned down a year or two later. Turns out all they had was a space heater instead of a furnace system. These folks were trouble. They would throw beer bottles on everybody's lawn, have parties in the middle of the night, you name it. And they would antagonize the white people there calling them racists and what have you. Always harassing them. To there credit the neighbors just bit there tongues as they say and did nothing. And the more the neighbors stayed quiet the more these folks would try to antagonize. Finally they left probably because the people didn't take the bait, as they say. Well a couple of village trustees looked into what these folks were all about. It turns out some Chicago NORTHSIDE politicians relative had bought the building previously.In otherwords, these renters were PLANTS trying to cause controversy. For whatever reason. Funny thing is the village would in the next 10 years change without a fuss. The village is about 1/3rd each as far as whites, blacks, and hispanics go. And the mayor (village president) is African-American, a nice guy and well-liked by all. But that region is messed-up politically and not getting any needed resources (business, industry, etc.) You do have River Oaks but not much else. Although, and here we go, a Wal-Mart has helped. You got the Shaws in Dolton, Kellogg in Harvey, and a former Calumet City mayor who was sent to prison several years back, and school districts that are said to be dirt-broke. I know District 205 (Thornton Twp. High Schools) claim they have to drop alot of freshmen sports, extracurricular activities, etc. for the students because of lack of funds. Which by the way also helped in leading to this SICA controversy. Yet Mary, get on your computer, www.thechampion.org and after you click the family taxpayers network and go to District 205 and see the salaries of the high schools teachers in that district ( I believe it was something like 160+ of them making $90,000 and $100,000+ and that was a figure from several years ago) it'll make you wonder where the priorities are really at. So are they really that broke? Yet, its the students who get cheated. How come Rev. Meeks doesn't look into that (ha ha)? Also, they are trying to ram a casino down the folks throats. As if the 3 casinos a stones throw right across the state line isn't enough. Lets make more poor people poorer.

Mary, I see that everyone responding to comments are relating from their own experiences. Has anyone on this blog ever been discriminated against? Do you know what it feels like to do everything as well as a white person and still not be recognised for your work or your accomplishments? do you know what it is like to enter a upscale white own store and be watched like you are about to steal something? People who think they can controll someone else because they are of a superior race are lost. We know those that have the money run this Country but a Black man with money suffer the same racial devides as his poor black brothers in the getto. I will believe there is change coming when there is a black or minority president in the white house and he lasts one term before they try to kill him. Since Martin Luther King there has never been a black man or minority that powerful they killed Dr King and he wanted equality for all. When a minority does become the most powerful man in this country the changes will begin as long as he is not being controlled by Cingular/AT&T, Coke-A-Cola, Microsoft,.......

I started dreaming there for a minute. Some whites think because they have black friends and date black people they can't be racist but it is a lot deeper than that. Walk a day in my shoes !!!!!

Tony, how have you ever been discriminated against? This is the affirmative action generation and as a black person you have many more opportunities than most white people will ever dream of having. Just go on monster.com, there is a board that has job listings, then there is a "diversity" board that has job listings. Which really means "whites need not apply". Right there, you have two sources in a job search while whites only have one. How about the extra points blacks and latinos are given on college entrance exams and tests people take to get on the fire or police departments? Those are other examples of special privileges that you enjoy. And these facts I just presented are not my opinions, they are facts. And as the late, great Ronald Reagan use to say, "facts are stubborn things".

John

Reggie Theus DID say that about Brent Barry. Go back and check the tape. Don't get me wrong - I don't think he intended to be offensive with the comment. I was just pointing out that a white commentator could not get away with a similar comment about a black athlete. In fact, Rush Limbaugh was fired a few years back simply by suggesting the media was over-hyping Donovan McNabb because he was black.

I wonder if the nurse of the year was black, how many job offers would she have gotten? HOw many black nurses was up for that honor. Did the gov. offer any of the black nurses a job in the state gov. Did any of those hospitals that claim nurse shortages contact any of the other nurses that got laid off? I think that is question that you would hopefully would address in your column.
Thank You for reading my commentary.

I wonder if the nurse of the year was black, how many job offers would she have gotten? HOw many black nurses was up for that honor. Did the gov. offer any of the black nurses a job in the state gov. Did any of those hospitals that claim nurse shortages contact any of the other nurses that got laid off? I think that is question that you would hopefully would address in your column.
Thank You for reading my commentary.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on September 8, 2006 4:51 PM.

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