You could not meet two bigger Big Brother fans than The Dose Girls. The one thing that keeps us going in the summer is the arrival of another new season.
Each summer CBS picks 16 strangers to live in a house and be filmed 24 hours a day in this game show. Think of MTV’s The Real World meets Survivor, and you’ll get the idea. Each week a houseguest is voted out until one is crowned the winner and receives the $500,000 grand prize. Not only is there a prime time show that airs three times a week, but for reality TV addicts like us, it’s even better. You can purchase a subscription to uncensored, unedited, live internet feeds from the house that run 24/7.
The live internet feed *really* gives you access to what is going on in the house…boy, does it ever.
This summer we anxiously awaited the start of this season and got our subscription to the live feeds. What we saw there this season turned our stomachs. Just one week into the show, we both cancelled our subscriptions to the feeds and dropped the show from our viewing schedule in disgust.
You see, this year the cast is chock full of racists.
Although the prime time broadcast has been carefully edited to show almost none of it, the dozens of cameras and microphones placed around for the live internet feeds have picked up *many* cast members saying some of the most vile things we’ve ever heard. No, not just on TV– we mean ANYWHERE.
A few weeks ago the media picked up the story. Under this pressure, CBS was eventually forced to mention some of the racial slurs on the show. They decided to make it seem like one houseguest, Aaryn, was the only person engaging in this behavior. Oh, she definitely was, but she was *far* from the only one.
They neglected to let us know that the Asian American contestant has been told to “shut up and make rice”, and it had been said that smacking her in the head might straighten her eyes. An African American contestant was accused of acting “too white” and soiling bed linens with her blackness. Another time they joked she should, “Cook us some pancakes, Aunt Jemima.” Oh, and one cast member even praised the efforts of doctors in Nazi Germany for giving us medical breakthroughs due to their concentration camp experiments.
If you want to be thoroughly disgusted you can click here to see a transcript of some of the specific comments that have been made. Here is a compilation video of some of the awful video moments. Here is another. They are horrific. You’ve been warned.
Here’s the thing. Except for showing a few brief moments of what only one contestant did when they were forced into it by the media attention, the producers are hiding all of this from the public. They are pretending they have outed the one person doing it, and they’ve totally moved on.
They have not shown Amanda calling the African American contestant “Shaniqua” or referring to her as “the monkey”. They didn’t show GinaMarie saying the same contestant should do the laundry like “in The Help” giggling all the while. They have not put any of these or countless other statements on the actual TV show.
In fact, they go out of their way to make Amanda seem like a really nice person and GinaMarie seem like a silly, funny girl on the TV show. They have made sure that the TV show Amanda and GinaMarie bear no real-life resemblance to who they absolutely show themselves to be on the live feeds. None. If you only watched the TV show and not the live feeds, you’d never even know this was still going on at all.
“Good!”, you might think, “Nobody wants to see that!”
No, nobody does. But by not showing this side of these people to America, they are whitewashing what is happening in the house. They are doing absolutely *nothing* to stop it and are thus passively condoning it–and making a good deal of money from it while doing so.
Simply pretending it’s not happening does not means it’s not happening.
Just ask Howard. This is him coping behind closed doors after some blatant racist remarks were made. He’s alone. He’s praying for strength to hold it together while nobody else even knows it’s happening. It’s heartbreaking.
This makes us sick and enraged. All too frequently that’s how racism is handled in our country. We pretend it’s not happening so we don’t have to confront it and deal with it. Instead, we all make excuses and shove racism under the carpet and deny its existence. Racism is dead because we have a African American president! It only remains in older people from a certain era in the south! If we pay lip service to it one time, we’ve done all we need to do. Get over it!
But we can’t get over it. In reality, racism is alive and well in America. We don’t do ourselves any favors as a society if we deny that. These cast members are a cross section of America and what’s happening out there. They hail from all over the country. They are young and educated. They are a part of the newly “enlightened” generation.
The only way to begin to combat these issues is to bring them out into the open. Denial isn’t going to cut it. We’ve got to shine a light on this ugliness so we can see it and root it out. Only by doing so can we start a truthful dialogue and get to work. And a lot of work needs to be done. This is reality, and we need to face it in order to change it. Anything else is unacceptable.