Episode 124: Season 34 Episode 5 Discussion (Week 4)

Evan and Rena bust out their SJW hats and talk about JT & Debbie in discussing Episode 5 (Week 4) of Survivor: Game Changers!

RetroFuture Clean Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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3 Responses

  1. TiminSoCal says:

    I love you guys. I even love you guys when I don’t agree with you.
    But please hold yourselves to the standards you expect of others.

    “We need to be careful”….”be precise…” “…not ascribe mental health issues to people…”

    “J.T. is a racist…”
    Because he called somebody “Immature”?
    And we don’t even know what transpired that was left on the cutting room floor.
    Yet the situation for Debbie, excuses are made for the “things we must not have seen”.

    It doesn’t seem like a balanced set of arguments in all of these cases.

    • admin says:

      Hey, sorry it took so long for me to notice & reply to this; your comment got lost in a pile of spam.

      First off, let me say that you’re absolutely right, kicking off a segment on implicit bias by saying “How racist is JT?” was a mistake. I intended it as kind of a glib transition into a discussion which, if I recall, we ascribed his actions to subconscious bias and even explicitly said he probably wasn’t overtly racist. However by making the transition as i did, it sort of framed the conversation in a way that conflates racism and bias, and that’s inaccurate and unhelpful.

      I do want to talk a bit to your larger point, though, with regards to the JT and Debbie scenes and why I will broadly defend our takes.

      With the JT scene, we see Michaela ask for the sugar, then JT call her ‘ignorant’ specifically in regards to that request for sugar. There may be larger friction points between JT & Michaela that aren’t shown, but the context for this specific incident was shown. And while asking for someone to bring you sugar while they lay in the shelter could be deemed “lazy” or “entitled” or even “a waste of resources that were designed for a specific purpose”, saying that request is “ignorant” really has nothing to do with the situation.

      Actual racists do use the word “ignorant” as a dogwhistle designed to lessen and dehumanize people of color. It’s a word with a loaded history. And while I don’t believe JT himself is a racist or used the phrase with intention, it does seem like he may have been parroting behaviors he was exposed to as someone who grew up in the South. And while I shouldn’t have used the word “racist” (if i remember, I did try to walk that back in the podcast), it does seem like a pretty clear case to me of racially tinged implicit bias, which we try to point out.

      As for the Debbie thing, what we saw on screen didn’t make sense. Debbie was upset at a pattern of behavior from Brad, behavior which was not shown; and the degree of the blow up did not seem to correlate to the one instance we were shown. The show seemed to be going out of its way to be showing a scenario where Brad was not at all in the wrong and Debbie was totally out of line. I tend to think things usually aren’t that cut and dry.

      A month out, that scene seems even more confusing – we’ve found that deceptive editing showed that blowup to be in response to something other than what the show tried to tell us, yet in Debbie’s exit press she says she was never mad at Brad and the whole thing was an act. We’ll never know the full extent of what that was all about but I do think it was correct to assume the situation was more complicated than the “brad good, debbie bad” narrative we were being shown. We may have pushed to far in the other direction, I’m coming around on Brad somewhat.

  2. TiminSoCal says:

    Evan, thanks for the response!

    While I am generally very sympathetic to your points, one long story that frames my own outlook in life: when I was a teenager I made a public accusation at my job of a manager treating another employee unfairly (in my estimation, based upon what I knew/had seen) – I was trying to do the “right” thing and defend the employee. A very professional talking out by the proverbial woodshed gave me info I didn’t have – and that changed the entire story – because I didn’t know the entire story. Luckily my boss was reasonable with a warning to me. But the life lesson that I took away is never to accuse when you don’t know the entire story, as you could easily be wrong. And that’s why I commented the way that I did.

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