critic: reality TV shows “the assimilated minority vs. the non-assimilated.”

critic: reality TV shows “the assimilated minority vs. the non-assimilated.”
Are reality shows racist? It’s a frequently asked question, but the St. Petersburg Times’ Eric Deggans writes that it’s not a matter of shows perpetuating “ugly reality TV stereotype[s],” as Entertainment Weekly wrote. Instead, he argues that reality shows “reveal a deeper truth about the personal politics of race in America … the saga of the assimilated minority vs. the non-assimilated one–not just in racial matters but in a lot of places where outsiders are looking in.” As evidence, he points to the frequent presence of “two people of color among the contestants. And when they are both black people, one person usually finds fitting into the majority culture a much easier task than the other.” At the end of his analysis, he writes that “those who suspect a hidden racism in reality TV may be reacting to a more subtle dynamic: a morality play that unfolds week after week highlighting the rewards of acceptance and dangers of resistance for those whose skin color and culture mark them as different.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.