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Whoops!

From the lighter side of the news, ABC is canceling its latest summer reality TV entry, after it ran afoul of minority advocacy groups. Of course, it seems like whites are the ones who should be complaining about stereotyping:

Under pressure from civil rights groups, ABC Television yesterday canceled plans to broadcast a reality show that let the white suburban families living on a Texas cul-de-sac decide which of seven families - including one black, one Asian, one Hispanic and one gay couple - would move into their community.

In the shows - all of them have been completed - seven diverse families seek votes from three white families in a development called Circle C Ranch, outside Austin. The white families, through a series of interviews, competitions and social interactions, award a 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2-bathroom home to the winner - a neighbor, the families say, who will fit in with the community's mostly Christian and Republican values.

...

An earlier ABC press release promoting the show said in part: "Will the resident neighbors be able to see past their own ideals and accept all of the families as people instead of stereotypes? Eventually some eyes and hearts open up, opinions change and a community is transformed."

The article goes on to describe the "disparaging remarks" made by some of the voting families. Gee, and there was a controversy? It didn't exactly take Nostradamus to see that one coming.

There may be worries about the portrayal of minorities on the show, but there was potentially another problem:

"The show directly violated the federal Fair Housing Act by rejecting families because of their race, color, national origin or the presence of children," said Shanna Smith, president and chief executive of the National Fair Housing Alliance, consisting of more than 100 private nonprofit housing agencies across the country.
Do you think maybe someone should have run the concept past the legal department before giving it the green light?

On the other hand, maybe if ABC had called it "Affirmative Action Housing," it would have received a more positive response. After all, paralleling the language of the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act prevents universities from rejecting applicants because of their race, color, national origin, etc. But somehow minority groups have gotten around that sticking point. Diversity Uber Alles. In fact, the language of the ABC press release even mirrors the justifications given by advocates of race preferences in college admissions: these policies are for the benefit of the majority, who are able to learn from their experience in dealing with minorities. The only difference is that everyone on the television show was voluntarily participating, but for some reason, that didn't seem to mollify activist groups. Instead, they " worried that the program sent a message that bigotry was tolerable." (Remember: tolerance always good. Except when it isn't.) But apparently they're not so worried about affirmative action in college admissions sending the message that discrimination is tolerable.

In any case, do you think we'll see the same sort of cries of outrage from liberals about "censorship" that we saw when, for instance, there was an outcry about the PBS series Postcards from Buster, or when CBS decided not to show a miniseries about Reagan, or any one of the myriad of other times when a television network bowed to advocacy group pressure? I'm betting the answer is no.

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Comments (1)

Dave:


I don't remember much about the Postcards from Buster incident, but CBS decided not to air the Reagan series after what amounted to threats from Republican Congressmen. I think the distinction between advocacy groups and legislators is not irrelevant (I never actually saw the Reagan series, so I don't know whether the concerns about the program itself were legitimate).

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