I do not like reality shows. I never watch them, and feel annoyed when show creators insult my intelligence by pretending their “reality” is anything other than manufactured for ratings, which in turn lines their pockets. This, of course, being the most important thing—their pocketbook.
I know this.
Some of the other things that I know for sure is that racism still exists; homophobia still exists; sexism still exists. These things are apparent when the Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, or when many politicians are creating anti-abortion bills that threaten to close clinics where women receive much needed care, or when we are still fighting for a portion of our populations’ right to get married.
So imagine my non-surprise when I hear that there are racist and homophobic bullies on this season's Big Brother. In case you aren't aware, as I wasn't, "three female [Big Brother] participants Aaryn, GinaMarie and Kaitlin were caught last week on the show's live feed launching into racist and homophobic tirades against fellow housemates."
To make this clear, I realize that the tirades were only seen on the live feed, and were not aired on the weekly shows. So maybe you’re thinking: “Sometimes people joke about things, we shouldn’t take jokes too seriously. Lighten up, everybody!” So here are a few examples of what is happening within the closed doors of your house, CBS:
“When discussing Asian-American housemate Helen, contestant Aaryn says: '...like shutup, go make some rice'. Then contestant GinaMarie adds: 'Andy was like, ''I'm gonna punch her in the face,'' and I was like, ''Maybe that'll make her eyes straight.'''
That not enough? Well, here is an exhaustive list of what was said, and I pasted a few blow:
GinaMarie said that, because of her income level, she receives “nigger insurance” (she whispered the n-word, so it’s possible she said the version that ends with “a”). She whispered it to both Nick and Andy, neither of whom challenged her. In other words, she is playing on the stereotype that only Blacks receive welfare.
So there are some bigots in the Big Brother house. I’m sure they aren’t the first, and unfortunately, do to our society, they will not be the last. The problem is your reaction to it, CBS. We learn from the DailyMail that in complete contradiction to “reality,” you will not be airing the racist, misogynistic and homophobic slurs, and instead have edited them out of the episodes of the show that air weekly.
Make no mistake, however, by editing these comments, CBS is condoning them. As one commenter said, it’s as if they’re saying: “Well, we don’t like that they said it, but we are going to support the contestants who did it by making it appear it didn’t happen.” They are propping up racism and homophobia by hiding it away and SHOWCASING the perpetrators as nothing more than young people…having fun.”
Of course every single time a company ignores the harm that these insidious prejudices cause, they acerbate the problem. Bigotry has an alarming effect on the populace, and ignoring it never works. In this day and time bigots rarely put on hoods or burn crosses, or even lynch people anymore. Instead, they hide behind their prejudices, run to the internet where they can be anonymous, or cast their votes in whatever manner they can.
Such as political races…. or TV shows.
What is to stop the racist and homophobic undercurrents of the American populace to start voting to insure that these biased individuals have power within the house, as if to correct the power that they feel they are losing to diversity in the outside, real reality world? Then, because CBS has not made known what is happening, others, who would not condone such ridiculousness, also vote so that these offensive people slowly begin to gain control within the house. To bigots this is a victory. And the American people, yet again, will have lost the opportunity to address this type of behavior. They won’t even have been given the opportunity to. They will have been coddled as if they could not handle "real reality," as if they can only the face the reality that CBS offers. This puts you, CBS, in the position of not just condoning racism, but fostering it in the house, and in the outside society as a whole.
By not taking action, and deliberately covering it up, you are in fact supporting racism and homophobia. You, CBS, are creating an entire institution structured around it, and supported by it. You, CBS, are making money from bigotry.
I realize, of course that the, racist and homophobic comments do not add to your bottom line, but of course neither does addressing them or weeding them out. So instead of taking action, such as pulling the guest or actually airing what was said so that the viewers will be aware of what is truly happening within this reality, and can then begin the long needed dialogue on how to fix things, you, CBS, have opted to condone it.
I do not believe that you have thought this through, CBS. I would like to ask you, again, to do the right thing and hold these bigots accountable for what they have done, and not care more for your bottom line. Or, let's face real reality and let America decide.