"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."
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