“Survivor” has played the race card. The CBS reality show now creates teams selected by race to compete with each other. White, black, Latino and Asian.
Horrible and tasteless, you say. Exploitive and reaching for ratings by appealing to our worst instincts.
In the name of the Almighty Dollar, CBS, critics say, sets back our lofty goals of racial harmony, divides our nation along racial lines and promotes the very racial stereotypes we’ve tried so hard to bury.
But, really, what’s all the fuss about? What’s new here?
We’ve been living this reality show for 40 years.
Been to visit Congress lately? We’ve got the Congressional Black Caucus (the black team) to represent allegedly black interests. We’ve got the Hispanic Caucus (the Latino team) to represent allegedly Hispanic interests.
We’ve got the Voting Rights Act (which you might say serves the equivalent of the “Survivor” production staff) to guarantee election of blacks and Latinos so that we have caucuses, teams, to compete for the political prizes.
I read that some corporations have pulled advertising dollars from “Survivor” so that they are not associated with this tasteless outrage. But each one of these corporations, in all likelihood, has diversity officers who oversee programs to ensure that blacks and Latinos get hired by different standards than whites. The goal? No, not equality under the law. Diversity, as an ideal end in itself. Ethnic teams.
The NAACP sends surveys to these corporations to find out how many are on their black teams.
And we wonder why, after all these years, we still have racial divides and pronounced racial consciousness.
When I go to a corporation to seek support for my organization, in all likelihood, because I am black, I wind up shunted to the diversity officer who, in all likelihood, will hate what I do. His or her job is to get the ethnic teams hired. My goal is a society in which all aspire to the ideal of one law of one nation under God.
I remember getting my home loan, when the loan officer sheepishly asked if she could write down that I’m black. I understood that they need to compile the data so they can report how many Negroes they’ve lent to, in order to avoid hearing from the race police.
It’s pretty sad what has happened and how the Rev. Martin Luther King’s message has been turned inside out and on its head.
King’s point of contention was not with the words of our founders, that “all men are endowed by their Creator…with unalienable rights.” That “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”
His point of contention was that we weren’t living up to these standards and that without them, everyone, black and white, was in jeopardy. He exhorted the nation to live up to its own unrealized ideals.
But, instead of a nation, under God, with one law, where all are judged by character and not by skin color, we created a nation of teams. A reality show that makes skin color the standard and character incidental.
Regarding the new racial wars on “Survival,” one black journalist frets that the stereotypes that the black team might generate will have nothing to do with her own reality.
Yes, and what does the left-wing agenda of the Congressional Black Caucus have to do with me and millions of other conservative black Christians?
Corporations, allegedly to help blacks, pour millions of dollars into the NAACP to promote an agenda that is anathema to these same millions of black Christians.
The sad state of affairs is evident in an article in this month’s Harvard Business Review called “Rethinking Political Correctness.”
The authors, after extolling the achievements of diversity laws over the last 40 years, share with us a groundbreaking conclusion of their research that political correctness cannot solve all problems in the workplace. “Our work suggests that high-quality relationships cannot be mandated.” No kidding. Praise the Lord for the Harvard Business School.
The article goes on to report behavioral guidelines the authors recommend, from their research, that individuals can use to contend with “tensions” that emerge from “diversity-related dilemmas” in the workplace.
Children once learned civility at church and at home. Now it’s not a matter of right and wrong, but of “constructive engagement.”
I think CBS has done us a favor by holding a mirror up to the country. We just need to decide if we want a reality show or a great nation.
The former may be good for CBS’s ratings. I’d prefer living in the latter.
Star Parker is president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org) and author of the new book “White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.” This is her column syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service and published on Sept. 15.