Critic says “it’s about time” Survivor “make[s] race a front-and-center discussion, after years of shrugging [it] off”

Among those people freaking out about Survivor Cook Islands‘ tribe organization is not Eric Deggans, the St. Petersburg Times’ media critic. Instead, in his column today, he writes that “it’s about time” the show acknowledged race.

He writes that, typically on Survivor, “race difference plays out as a parable on assimilation — the people of color who understand white culture and can fit in survive, often by being as bland and undistinguished as possible. Those who don’t, wind up fulfilling the worst stereotypes. Their exclusion makes them racially paranoid, their inability to bond with their teammates makes them look lazy and their defensiveness looks like an empty excuse.”

Thus, Deggans is glad that “Burnett is going to make race a front-and-center discussion, after years of shrugging off the implications of his portrayals,” although he says, “I don’t blame those who are concerned about the image of minorities in modern media for feeling apprehensive.”

A different approach [St. Petersburg Times]

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.