I’ve watched every installment of Survivor — from season one’s Gervase joking about his nap-based ethic on Pulau Tiga, through Osten snuffing out his own torch in the Panama islands, up through last week’s kickoff of the race-segregation experiment on the Cook Islands — and I’ve got to say, it really does seem as if the producers stack the deck in their portrayals of African-American men. The ones they pick inevitably seem to come across as work-avoiding and/or obnoxious, chauvinist complainers, and the new season is no exception. While the white, Asian and Latino tribes were all shown to be mostly cohesive go-getters, the casting directors chose for the African-American tribe an overweight blowhard who initially played leader but was ultimately chastised by his three female teammates for taking breaks, and who — when given the opportunity to send anyone from the other tribes to Exile Island — consulted the only other guy on the team to make the decision, ignoring the women. Needless to say, when they had to vote one of their own off the island, the split was male-female, and the gasbag was sent home.
Is this the only preconceived character/storyline the casting directors can come up with when selecting black males for the show? I know the pool of applicants can’t possibly reflect what we’ve gotten so far. Next up in reality-show-equality kvetching: When is a two-female team going to win The Amazing Race?