Race-segregated ‘Survivor’ series sparks controversy among campus opinions

By Katie Clark
September 22, 2006

On Sept. 14, the new season of “Survivor” premiered. Unlike the previous years, this year the show’s setup has changed. “Survivor: Cook Islands” has taken an unexpected twist and divided the teams up among race.

This year the 20 contestants will be broken into teams of four. It will be Asians vs. blacks and Latinos vs. whites. This race-segregated game has brought a lot of attention toward the show.

The production crew of “Survivor” has been on numerous amounts of talk shows, interviews, magazines, newspapers, etc. to try and explain the concept of the game and the new twist they have added. Mark Burnett, the creator of “Survivor” told In Touch magazine, “Survivor” has always been a social experiment first and a contest second.”

This concept of a television show can cause a great amount of controversy.

“Survivor” has had a huge amount of success in the past. It has had numerous amounts of good reviews. Most of the public has always seemed to get really into this television series. Now the question is will people continue to watch “Survivor”, now that the setup is different? Will the race-segregated cast turn off many of “Survivor” fans?

I asked plenty of students around campus these questions. To my surprise most of them had no idea about the race-segregated cast this season.

When I informed them about the new setup for “Cook Islands,” it was about a half and half reaction. Some thought it was crazy for the “Survivor” producers to take such a risk in racism; however, the other half found it very interesting.

Some contestants spoke to In Touch magazine about their reactions on the new twist for “Cook Islands.” Most of them didn’t mind the race-segregated cast.

If you live in urban places, that is what’s going on,” said Sundra Oakley, a member of the Manihiki team or the blacks. Some have their fears about the series. They’re nervous that it will encourage racism.

In the end the question still remains; will this new series of “Survivor” cause racism controversy or will it just be taken as another great “Survivor” series?

My opinion is that it will cause some controversy between a few, but its television. Television is supposed to spark up some emotions.

I personally, have never gotten into the show before, but this season I think I may watch it just to see how everything turns out. “Cook Islands” was designed to intrigue people and get emotions stirred up, and that is exactly what it is doing.

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Katie Clark

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