Twenty-One years ago, CBS launched its summer hit reality TV show Big Brother. This is a game in which 16 houseguests are put into a house and cut off from the outside world. There are no TVs, news, radio, internet or phones. Other than brief conversations with the show’s host Julie Chen, they have only each other for company. They are recorded visually and audibly the entire time. The premise is simple: Each week, someone becomes Head of Household and nominates 2 houseguests to be evicted, and the remaining houseguests vote on eviction. There are many twists, turns and competitions that allow contestants to survive their potential evictions, get various rewards, inflict punishments, etc. This is a game both of physical endurance, mental acuity and social manipulation. It has captivated millions.
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After 21 regular seasons, including Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother All Stars, the Big Brother House is full again with 16 houseguests chosen from around the country, jockeying each week to be the last one standing in pursuit of $750,000. This year, in light of the countrywide protests in 2020 and the entertainment industry’s devotion to anti-racism, CBS chose some of houseguests based on race.
CBS announced last November that its flagship reality shows, “Survivor”, “Love Island” and “Big Brother” will include at least 50% people of color starting in 2021. This will include the show’s participants, but will also involve hiring production personnel based on skin color to promote diversity. CBS rep George Cheeks explained, “The commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our network.”
This is the Entertainment Industry’s attempt to repackage Affirmative Action, call it anti-racism and essentially redesign entertainment to focus on race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Throughout the show’s run, the winner of Big Brother is most often a white male, winning 13 times. The second most winning group is a white female, who account for 4 wins. An Asian woman has won twice as well and a Latino man once. These winners include a variety of sexual orientations, biracial heritages and culturally diverse backgrounds.
Big Brother was hit with its first real accusation of racism during their 2019 season, in which fans heard select houseguests using racial slurs during their time in the House. Julie Chen brought this up on the live Finale in which she questioned whether the winner’s actions were based on the other houseguest’s minority status. The winner, Jackson Michie, he denied all allegations and appeared thoroughly embarrassed. ET Canada, in the video referenced above suggested, “If you go looking for racism, you’re going to find it.”
Fast forward to 2021. With CBS’ new diversity rule in effect, something eye-popping has already occurred on the reality show and it did not even take a week. After only four days in the house, the five Black houseguests formed an “all Black” alliance in the Big Brother house. The members of this alliance say, “Not everything in here is about the game. We were brought here to change the culture. Think about the year we just had… It’s important for us to be here and stick together.” This was then followed by clear implications that they needed to find “opposite” (white) people to be close with in order to not let people catch on to the fact that they were forming their alliances solely based on race. They are using race a strategy to win.
Not one news outlet has dared ask, “Had a group of white people in past seasons made an alliance solely based on the color of their skin, wouldn’t CBS have had to publicly address this if not pull the plug on the show entirely for promoting racism?” My request for comment to Julie Holland, Vice President for Entertainment Communications at CBS went unanswered.
The fact of the matter is that this race-essentialist behavior from the houseguests is precisely the outcome promoted by Critical Race Theory and propagated by organizations such as Black Lives Matter as well as the establishment media. When race becomes the most important thing, it becomes the only thing people see.
Big Brother is not only promoting the opposite of what the Civil Rights Movement was looking to rectify, but this is also in direct opposition to what Hollywood used to promote. Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and countless others in Hollywood did not receive their stardom because of their race. They became global superstars because of their talent and hard work. All of them, regardless of their varying degrees of actorvism, are superbly talented.
While Big Brother will continue its season through the end of September, it is unclear whether one of the Black houseguests will make it to the end. In years past, various alliances have formed on the base of gender, some more successful than others, but never was race something to be considered. They have already made history by becoming the first Big Brother alliance based solely on the color of their skin. Fan reaction on Twitter have remained mixed to this development, the network has stayed silent, and other news outlets have yet to ask if this is a healthy direction for reality television and Hollywood at large.
Has America’s pursuit of racial equity begun its destruction of reality television? The show’s ratings, which so far show a 23% increase compared to last season, will be the final tell. Stay tuned.