At first glance, the idea's appalling, but there might be some genuine merit in it. If nothing else, after years of casting only one or two minority tokens each season, Burnett finally has a cast that resembles the population of America.To read the full column, click here.
Previous contestants of color -- Gervase the loafer, Clarence the bean-stealer, Sean and his cries of slavery -- had to carry the banner for an entire race. When the show casts its latest blonde princess, no one cries sexism because there are a half-dozen or more other white women of various personalities and work ethics.
"It's just unfortunate that there aren't more minorities on the show," Gervase Peterson told me four years ago, while acknowledging that the show's applicants are overwhelmingly white. (Burnett and company made an extra effort to find minority contestants this time.) "If there were, you would get a totally different mix of people. You would have people who would totally reinforce good stereotypes of black people, Asians, Puerto Ricans, and you'd get people who reinforce the negative stereotypes. When the pickings are slim, this is what you're getting."
By the very nature of boxing's demographics, the contestants on Burnett's "The Contender" have been mostly black and Latino, and they run the emotional gamut, from cocky to humble, from hotheaded to thoughtful.
And by segregating the contestants, even if only for a few episodes, the show may be able to deal with another minority contestant complaint: that being surrounded by nothing but white people either altered their own behavior or caused it to be misinterpreted.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to devote today's column to "Survivor" segregation. Here's an excerpt: