Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

CBS Survivors- First Episode

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Now that you've seen the first episode of Survivors, what do you think ?
The Chicago Sun-Times TV critic, Doug Elfman, had an interesting perspective.

Predictably, "The Caucasians" talked about race almost none of the time, a sure sign they live as members of a comfortable majority, Elfman noted.

I had good intentions, but I missed the first episode.

I was in the audience at the Symphony Center cheering on Sun-Times Society Editor, Lisa Lenoir. Formerly a fashion writer, Lisa made her debute as a model in the annual fashion bash put on by the Women's Board of the Rush University Medical Center. Being invited to participate is seen as a great honor. Frankly, I was disappointed that so few blacks, Asians and Latinos were on the stage.

The glaring lack of minorities in this 80-year-old Chicago tradition made me appreciate of the "Survivor" experiment even more. At least Mark Burnett is giving viewers some diversity.

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Talk about taking the 'race card' to the ultimate extreme. Doug Elfman has too much time on his hands. He needs to get a life....sincerely, John (a man from the comfortable majority)

Predictably, the caucasians didn't talk about race since anything captured on TV, would be scrutinized by hundreds of TV critics who would interject their notions on how their words can be interpretted as racist. I saw a comment by someone else in your blog who noted the classic "Apprentice" racist talk - racist talk of someone using the phrase "the pot calling the kettle black" with a black woman which was then turned into a huge story by noted race experts like Oprah. If you are white, on a TV show being watched by millions, are you going to say ANYTHING remotely controversial about race relations?

This racial thing is genius on Mark Burnett's part. I haven't watched Survivor since the second season, but I tuned in the other night to check it out. Since Survivor (and all reality shows) rely so heavily on editing to create a story, I was curious to see whether the footage about the various groups would be edited so as to lend support to tired stereotypes. After the first episode, I couldn't really tell, although they were really pushing the notion that black males and females do not cooperate well.

I would like to make one point about the white people on the show. It's true that they didn't talk about race. You could say, as Doug Elfman did, that this reflected their privilege and their lack of consciousness about race. He's probably right about this particular group of white people because they are such dunderheads. However, in my experience, most white people will not discuss racial issues with other white people that they do not know well. People get very offended if you insert race into a conversation. It's bad manners.
The white people on Survivor might also be keeping quiet on the racial angle because they do not appear (or be edited so as to appear) as racists. No white person wants to look like a redneck racist on national tv (even if they are one).

Well Ms. Mitchell it seems like the producers of Survivor have struck a new low at the worst possible time. The Republican Party's Southern Strategy divided our country by race in a terrible manner across the political spectrum. Now it looks like a Brit producer is going to further divide our country socially. I wonder where is Ward Connerly. Has he taken a position on this development? It seems like slowly but surely this country is embracing aan America from the 1950's where white male supremacy was the foundation of American thought and social practice.

As a Black man I found it interesting the two lighter-skinned African-American women teamed up against their darker compatriot. :-) Of course the first person cut had to be a Black man.

For the record this is an interesting experiment. It says a lot about the perception of race in our society simply by the amount of dialogue generated. What I am really interested in is how strong the race bonds are after the tribes merge.

This is for the two 'Js' notably jerry and james well gosh golly gee you treat people a certain way and then they treat you that way back. Where I come from we call that 'dishing it out but not taking it' excuse me 'black bigotry' HUH?!! What goes around comes around so don't expect sympathy because you get a taste of your own medicine as for james if ANYTHING white male quarterbacks are the ones the media trips over themselves to 'promote' so who do you think you are kidding. That goes triple for your 'affirmative action' comment so where exactly is ALL this affirmative action you people keep whining about because I'm sure it DOESN'T exist where you live or any of the people YOU work with. This whole 'experiment' is nothing more than a publicity stunt that only exposes the very racist attitudes expressed by some of the posters here.

I make it a rule not to watch network television, and I wasn't about to break my rules just for this. However, I've read a few of the articles floating around at various news sites and feel that this is just going to be another opportunity for racists to push their anti-white agenda.

If the blacks win, I'm sure that you're going to hear such arguments as "Well, they just didn't kick the black guy out because they didn't want to be percieved as a racist."

If they white Asian guy wins, you're bound to hear such statements as "Well, Asians are smarter than everybody else, so of course they won."

If the Latino/as win, you're bound to hear such statements as "Well, they're used to living in conditions where they have to scrape by."

And God forbid the whites win. If that happens, it's sure to be a sign that "The whites are the powerful majority and held everybody back."

No matter what happens here, somebody is going to be upset.

What I think would be very funny would be if the whites won, not because they did a better job, but because the others spent too much time worrying about race rather than producing. That would something.

Good Morning Mary Mitchell,
I am like many other white males and resent most of your one way collumns. However today I am making a effort to applaud you for last Thursday's article about the Rusch's and the boy's that beat him. I am shocked that you felt the urge to speak out the savage actions of those kids and the horrible silence of their parents. As you acknowledged racism is a two way street and unitl parents on both sides can teach their kids that hard work and education is the path to a successful life things won't be getting better anytime soon

Ms. Moderator, if you are such a stickler for "diversity", then you must be appalled by events like the Miss. Black America Pageant, or the Miss. Latino America Pageant? If not then you are nothing more than a hypocrite.


That's the last time I post anything from you that includes name-calling. Please stop the baiting.

It was the same ole Survivor show to me. I cannot jump on the "racist" bandwagon. It is simply a show that requires teamwork to succeed at the challenges. Nothing more, nothing less. In the end as with all previous Survivor seasons, everyone will be grouped together. The producers just put a different spin on it. I don't remember hearing feminist complain when they were separated by sex. There bigger and better things to worry about than Survivor.

I wonder if any of you realize that you have played right into the hands of the CBS execs. They created this "race" idea as a shameless way to increase their fallen ratings. They're playing you for suckers and the more you talk about this and every week watch to see what minute incident can be confused as racist, you play into their hands. If you don't like what CBS is doing then stop watching the network. That's the best way to correct this.

I am not race baiting. I am simply asking a question about beauty pagaents and other events that exclude white people.


Jerry, you can't be that uninformed. In fact, you sound like a pro when it comes to criticizing blacks. So when you say you are not race baiting, you sound disingenious at best.

As for the beauty pageant, etc. I suppose whites don't enter a black beauty pageant for the same reasons blacks don't enter a Irish, Italian, Latino beauty pageant. The next time a white person is excluded from entering a black beauty pageant, please let me know.

Irish, Italian beauty pageants? I have never heard of such a thing in this country. As for whites entering black beauty pageants? I am not an expert in this field but I thought only black females are allowed to enter those pageants. If whites are allowed to enter then I stand corrected. I wonder if anyone on here knows?


What do you call the process for selecting the queen of the St. Patrick's Day parade--an election?

I think the survivor show is great. And I'm a black woman. I am not offended by the division by race. It just makes it more entertaining AND it's realistic. Especially coming from Chicago - one of THE most segregated cities in America. That "division" on the show should be nothing new to any of us. To Chgo FF -how else (other than one sided) would you propose Ms. Mitchell's columns be?Commentaries are about perspective. How you view life, politics, social issues, etc. as a white man in America obviously differs from the perspective of a black woman. Your columns would be one-sided as well. From YOUR perspective. And what would be wrong with that?

As anyone who has watched the show before knows, when the tribes are based on demographics (male/female, old/young), they'll be rescrambled within a few episodes. In this case, the episode to air on the 28th. Each new team will have at least two members of each racial group.

Therefore the winner will end up being someone who can make friendships, or at least cooperate, with those of other races. As it should be in life.

Hi Jerry, thought you needed some more history lessons considering you picking on Ms Mitchell again. Pay close attention; don’t want you to miss anything, (like your High School graduation by three years), and couldn’t get a GED because of stubbornness.

Ms. Italian-American beauty pageant

Ms Irish-American beauty pageant:

Ms. Polish or Polonia-American beauty pageant

Ethnic Pageants Restyle the American Beauty Contest // google search article

Jerry, view the above links. Also, do a search on the title and maybe, just MAYBE….*smile*…..okay you still won’t understand, but it won’t hurt your small world by expanding it a hundreth of an inch or so by viewing the links and reading the article.

Search further and I bet every European ethnic background holds its own beauty pageant in some format or another.

Maybe your friends, I take that back, your associates will have some chaw to chew on and spit into a ‘bacco can while sipping a brewsky!

Your ranting becomes more idiotic the further you post to the forum….*sheesh*…You make Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies seem like a very smart guy.

White people, other folks know you all are not like Jerry, but it is the Jerks, oops ..the Jerry’s of the world which seems to get their personal fulfillment of hatred out more often than the kindness of others. How sad.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on September 15, 2006 4:05 PM.

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