Reality High Test Results, September 14 – 21: Two Ways to Create Ethnic Diversityby Belle Book -- 09/21/2006
Welcome back to Reality High! This time, my students are the contestants from The Amazing Race 10 and Survivor Cook Islands – 44 of them! The first thing I did when I returned to teach the new class was to check my supplies.
44 pens for the students? Check.
A new lesson planner? Check.
A new attendance book? Check.
Pink slips to give to those students I have to send to Detention? Check.
A new bottle of Excedrin? Check.
Several new buckets of slime in case I need them? CHECK!
There’s been a lot of controversy about how the contestants in Survivor: Cook Islands were divided into four tribes of five people based on race. Some think it’s a bad idea, claiming it doesn’t promote racial harmony. I can see where those people are coming from. Unfortunately, the goal of Survivor isn’t to promote harmony between the races… or the sexes, for that matter. The goal is to win the million dollars, and only one person can do that. Fortunately, the tribes will be mixed up later on, so there’ll be a chance for individual contestants to choose whether to stick with their original tribe mates (like Rupert did in Survivor: Pearl Islands) or form different alliances (like Judd did when the tribes got switched in Survivor: Guatemala.)
As for The Amazing Race, it’s still my favorite reality TV show currently on. And it’s gotten four Emmys for Outstanding Reality Competition Show! It has just about everything I love: different cultures, constant travel, a cool theme song, teams of two people getting along (or not getting along), and interesting challenges. And then there’s Phil Keoghan, who has created a new phrase for eliminations: Philimination. He’s a great host and a really funny guy, too, especially when he raises his eyebrow at contestants. And like S:CI, it also has a very diverse cast: an Indian-American couple, a Muslim team, an Asian-American team, an open lesbian, and an amputee. And best of all, they achieved this diversity without resorting to controversy. What’s there not to like?
In any case, my latest students came into the classroom and I handed out the tests. I informed all 44 contestants that the first five questions would relate to the Cook Islands contestants. The second five questions would relate to the AR 10 teams. Before all the contestants or teams that were still left in their respective games left, I’d give them each a grade based on their responses to the answers on my test. The eliminated team or contestant would wait until the others were gone before I gave them their final grades.
So without further ado, the contestants or teams wrote their answers to the questions and handed them back to me. Once I received the tests, I looked at the replies, and I groaned when I saw Cao Boi’s answer to the first question:
1. True or False: It’s a good idea to refer to ethnic stereotypes when there’s already concern about avoiding ethnic stereotypes.
Cao Boi answered “true,” and I had to tell him he was wrong. True, he may have been just joking, but he already irritated one of the women by referring to the Asian stereotype of being little people, and she told him, “No Asian jokes.” Add to that mistake the fact that he’s so much older than most of the Puka Puka tribe (aka the Asian-American tribe) is, and the fact that he just looks different from the others on his tribe and he’ll be an early candidate for the boot should the tribe ever go to Tribal Council. In fact, next week’s previews indicate that he’ll be getting on the others’ nerves. On the bright side, the Puka Puka tribe won the challenge, so he’s safe for now.
I then groaned when I looked at Jessica’s answer to the second question:
2. You have hidden two chickens under a box to keep them from getting loose. What is the best thing to do?A. Avoid opening the box until you need to get the chickens for food.
B. Open the box but take precautions to make certain the chickens don’t get loose before you do so.
C. Open the box and fail to take those precautions.
Jessica answered “C,” and I had to tell her that she had the wrong answer. Of course, she probably realized it when the chickens got loose and ran into the forest, but by then it was too late. She really should’ve taken precautions to make certain the chickens weren’t loose before opening the box, like creating some kind of netting surrounding three sides of the box. Better yet, she shouldn’t have opened the box at all. Unfortunately, she did, and lost both chickens – including the one Jonathan took from Yul of the Puka Puka tribe.
And speaking of which, I began wondering if I’d need Excedrin very soon after seeing Jonathan’s answer to the third question:
3. True or False: It’s always a good idea to grab a chicken that belonged to a different tribe.
Jonathan answered “true,” and I now began to suspect that the Rarotonga tribe (aka the Caucasian tribe) wasn’t all there when it came to basic common sense, let alone the finer elements of game play and strategic thinking. True, I’m pretty certain he didn’t mean to grab the chicken that Yul had gotten – it was pretty chaotic out there, and that lent itself easily to taking a chicken that someone else had gotten, allowed to fall overboard, and brought back, all without realizing until later what had happened.
However, it proved to be very bad news for Jonathan because he was forced to admit what he’d done at the immunity challenge, and when the Manihiki tribe (aka the African-American tribe) lost the immunity challenge, they won the right to choose which person to send to Exile Island among the other three tribes. And Nathan and Sekou remembered what Jonathan had done (even though Jonathan hadn’t stolen their chicken), so they chose Jonathan to head on over to Exile Island.
And the decision of the men in turn led to the fourth question:
4. What is the best way to assume leadership in the early going?A. Work really hard and avoid either annoying others or isolating them.
B. Work really hard but annoy others by being a martinet.
C. Be seen as lazy and isolate various members of your tribe.
Before I could do anything, however, Roger, a contestant from Survivor: Amazon, came rushing in with a slip of paper that looked a lot like my test, and a “B” marked for the fourth question! I said, “Roger! That’s still not the right question! Being a martinet isn’t a good way to assume leadership!”
Jolanda from Survivor: Palau stuck her head in and said, “I told you not to bother Belle and not to write that answer!” When Roger began to protest, Jolanda stepped into the classroom and dragged him off. Obviously, she had learned from her experience, even if Roger still hadn’t done so.
Moving on, Ozzy from the Aitutaki tribe (aka the Hispanic tribe) answered “A,” and I had the pleasure of telling him that he was right. When Billy, a fellow tribe mate, proved not to know how to build a shelter, Ozzy took over leadership of the tribe. What’s more, he did so without apparently either annoying other members of the tribe by being a real martinet or by isolating them in some way. He clearly is someone to watch.
Unfortunately, Sekou answered “C,” and I had to tell him that he was absolutely wrong. Now, taking a leadership role early on isn’t an automatic death sentence. There are quite a few examples of people taking on a leadership role and getting far in the game. Tom from Palau is the best example, and he won the game! Other examples include Deena from the Amazon and Terry from Survivor: Exile Island. But none of these people who got far needed breaks so often that they were perceived as lazy, like Sekou. And none of these guys ignored the other members of their tribe when coming to a decision, like both Sekou and Nate did.
When I told Sekou he had the wrong answer, he protested that he was so exhausted by building the shelter and the fire, and that he figured that he and Nate knew the best guy to send to Exile Island, while the girls didn’t. I told him that if he needed all those breaks, he shouldn’t have volunteered to be a leader. Better yet, he should’ve adapted and taken fewer breaks. Moreover, being so obviously connected to Nate and totally ignoring the other girls just isn’t smart game play. Isolating yourself is a sure-fire way to Loser’s Lodge. Sekou looked dubious but accepted the reasoning, so I didn’t have to send him to Detention. But I did have to take my very first Excedrin of the season!
Finally, I looked at the final question the Cook Island contestants had to answer, and once again I realized that the Rarotonga contestants are rather short on the finer elements of game play and strategic thinking:
5. Forming a romance with another contestant is always a good idea.
Adam and Candice answered “true,” and I had to tell them that they were wrong. True, Rob and Amber formed a romance on Survivor All-Stars and finished first and second, with Amber beating Boston Rob. And of course, two “showmance” couples finished in the final four of Big Brother All-Stars, with one of those couples finishing first and second as well (Mike Boogie beat Erika in that one). But generally, that’s the exception, not the rule. Why? Because people tend to notice open couples, especially if the couples are romantically involved. And such open couples are usually unbreakable – unless you nominate one or both of them! You need to keep your alliances secret as long as you can.
Fortunately, the errors that Cao Boi, Jessica, Jonathan, Adam, and Candice made didn’t end their time on the island for now, largely because their tribes won immunity. The same can’t be said for Sekou, however, as his tribe lost immunity and the women all voted to send him home. What went wrong? Well, he made a good move by taking a leadership role. Unfortunately, he went about it entirely wrong. He isolated the women and stuck with Nate. He took a lot of breaks. Even if he did so simply because he was exhausted, he could’ve avoided exhausting himself by getting help. If he had done so, the others wouldn’t have seen him as lazy. But the kicker was that he failed to scheme and plot (beyond sticking with Nate) until after his tribe lost immunity! He should’ve gotten Stephannie on his side a whole lot sooner. If he had, she wouldn’t have joined up with Rebecca and Sundra and Sundra would be gone instead. But he didn’t, so he was sent packing by the women.
Once I gave the S:CI contestants their five questions, I gave those of TAR 10 the other five questions. When they returned them to me, I checked the answers. Immediately, I groaned when I saw Rob & Kimberly’s response to my sixth question:
6. What is the best reason to go on the Amazing Race?A. Because it’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the world.
B. To win a million dollars.
C. To find out where you stand as a couple.
Rob & Kimberly answered “C,” and I began to count to 10. The Amazing Race is not a testing ground for couples, or at least it shouldn’t be one. There have been a few couples, however, that have entered the race for that very reason, most notably Lenny & Karyn from TAR 1, and Ron & Kelly from TAR 7. Neither couple lasted after the race, even though it’s possible Ron & Kelly were already on the outs by the time they entered.
Tom & Terry, a gay couple, answered “B.” True, winning a million dollars is a great reason to go on the race. After all, it is a race. But the best answer is “A.” TAR is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures. Chip & Kim from TAR 5 exemplified this reason. Sure, they were competitive – they used a Yield on Colin & Christie even though they liked the couple because they wanted to win a million dollars for their kids (and they wound up doing so). But I loved seeing Chip’s reactions to his surroundings wherever he went. He was such a joy that I was so happy when he and Kim won the race. He and Kim are what the race should be all about.
I then moved on to the seventh question and really sighed when I saw Kellie & Jamie’s response:
7. True or False: Muslims believe in Buddha.
Kellie & Jamie answered “true” and added, “I think.” I had to tell them the answer was “false.” Buddhists believe in Buddha. Muslims believe in the prophet Muhammad and they worship one God, whom they call Allah. They also tend to say that just about everything that happens to them, good or bad, is the will of Allah. And both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish men won’t shake the hand of any woman who’s unrelated to them. The same goes for Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women concerning men who are unrelated to them. Kellie & Jamie need some help with World Religions 101.
I want to like Lyn & Karlyn, but not with their answer to the eighth question:
8. Another team has a disabled person on it. That team got to board the flight first and got a head start off of the flight. How should you react?A. Be mature and realize that the airline is just trying hard not to discriminate against someone who’s handicapped.
B. Complain that the handicapped person is using his/her disability to their advantage.
C. Pick a fight with the handicapped person.
Well, at least Lyn & Karlyn didn’t choose “C.” I would’ve had a real, long hard talk with them if they did. Instead, they answered “B.” I told them the correct answer was “A.” While it’s certainly understandable that they would be frustrated to see a team get on board before just about everyone else could do so, the fact is that airlines should not discriminate against the handicapped. That means the handicapped get to go on planes first and get off the planes first. When the two women continued to mutter about Peter & Sarah (Sarah has a prosthetic leg), I told them to cut it out or they’d be facing Detention. They obviously got the word about me, for they shut up.
Meanwhile, the Detour itself proved to be very interesting. Witness the answers that Kellie & Jamie and Tom & Terry made to the ninth question:
9. True or False: You should always choose the Detour that’s closest and requires the least amount of time for you to do.
Both teams answered “false.” While just about everyone else chose “Labor,” which was a mile away and was physically demanding but could be done quickly if the team had the required strength, both Kellie & Jamie and Tom & Terry chose “Leisure,” which was two miles away and wasn’t so physical but required balance and could take a long while. True, Kellie & Jamie were cheerleaders, so they may have chosen a little better than Tom or Terry considering that the task required balance. But they still were one of the last teams to finish the Detour.
And finally, there’s the final question, which refers to the “Labor” Detour:
10. Your Detour choice involves paving a 45-square foot section of sidewalk with bricks. What should be your first move?
A. Figure out if there’s a pattern to paving the sidewalk section and then figure out the pattern before you begin paving the sidewalk.
Unfortunately, a few teams answered “B,” including Lyn & Karlyn. The correct answer is “A.” You need to figure out if there’s a pattern to paving the sidewalk section first. If there is one, then you need to figure out the pattern. While this wasn’t the end of the road for Lyn & Karlyn, it could’ve been. It was just fortunate that they were one of the four teams to leave at the earliest time. And while they lost a lot of time struggling with the climb up the Great Wall, they were lucky in that one team did even worse than they did, and that another team was way behind them.
Whoa! Two Philiminations in a single leg! I’m familiar with double-elimination Tribal Councils from Survivor, but not two Philiminations! What went wrong with Bilal & Sa’eed, two nice guys? Well, they arrived on the second flight thanks to having problems finding the rental parking area. Then they wound up being one of the last teams to finish the Roadblock. But the kicker was that their cab driver didn’t know where he was going, and that gave Erwin & Godwin the edge they needed to stay alive. Rotten luck, but luck plays a major role in TAR.
And what went wrong with Vipul & Arti? Well, they managed to survive the first of the eliminations, but they were at the back of the pack. Once they went for the Detour, they were screwed by a driver that didn’t know where to go or to speak English. But they could’ve learned how to speak at least some Chinese, or even better, they could’ve gotten a map of Beijing. If they had done either thing, they might’ve beaten Lyn & Karlyn (who had a tremendously hard time climbing up the Great Wall of China) or David & Mary. Instead, they were eliminated.
In any case, I gave out my grades as usual, and began with the remaining S:CI people. Adam got a “B-” and seemed okay with it. Candice got a “C+” and nodded. Cao Boi got a “C” and he said something like, “I’m already an outcast.” I said, “Not yet, Cao Boi. At least you cured Brad’s headache.” Jessica got a “D,” and I told her to step up her game or she’d be gone. Jonathan got a “C” as well, and he frowned. Finally, Ozzy got an “A,” and he was delighted about it!
Next, I gave grades for the remaining TAR 10 teams. Kellie & Jamie got a “D,” more for failing at World Religions 101 than for their choice of Detour tasks. Lyn & Karlyn also got a “D,” and I told them to calm down or I’d really be mad at them! Rob & Kimberly got a “C,” but they were relieved that at least they didn’t have a meltdown. However, the previews indicate that they may have one soon.
Finally, I was left with the two teams from TAR 10 that were eliminated, and with Sekou. I began with Sekou first. I told him, “It’s not always a bad thing to take a leadership role early in the game. Somebody has to be the leader, after all. But there’s a good way to be a leader and there’s a bad way to be one. You chose the bad way. You hooked up too obviously with Nate, neither of you included the women in the decision as to who would go to Exile Island, neither of you thought about getting a third person until after you lost the challenge, and you needed breaks way too often!”
Then I turned to Bilal & Sa’eed, and I told them, “I’m really sorry you guys had to go. Unfortunately, you took a wrong turn and ended up on the second flight. Then you were one of the last teams to reach the Roadblock and finish it. But then the kicker is that your cab driver claimed to know where he was going, but didn’t. And no, you couldn’t have known that you would be eliminated before the first leg was through. The whole thing could’ve been avoided if only you hadn’t run into traffic and then taken a wrong turn at the airport. Then the bad taxi cab driver wouldn’t have meant the end of you.”
And finally I turned to Vipul & Arti. “I’m also sorry you two went,” I said. “Sadly, you too took a wrong turn and wound up on the second flight. You were luckier than Bilal & Sa’eed because you survived the first elimination, but then you got lost just trying to direct your motorcycle driver! That was a problem that could’ve been avoided had you only had a map of Beijing. But you didn’t, you got lost, and by the time you found your way, it was just too late for you.”
Before I sent the two teams and Sekou home, I gave them their grades. Sekou got an “F” for screwing up so badly in his leadership role. He said, “Maybe I deserve it,” as he left. I’d say you did. But look on the bright side: you didn’t get Detention, and no slime for you! Bilal & Sa’eed got a “C+” for taking that wrong turn, while Vipul & Arti got a “C-.” Both teams noted that at least they didn’t get a failing grade.
Join me next week as we see whether Manihiki can recover from their first immunity loss or whether they’ll go to Tribal Council for a second time, whether Lyn & Karlyn can manage to gain my respect after their attitude towards Peter & Sarah, and whether Rob & Kimberly will be the first team to face Detention or not.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Belle Book is a library clerk for a community college in Pennsylvania. The Amazing Race is her favorite Reality TV show, so she’d love to be on it sometime! If you wish to contact Belle, she can be reached at BelleBook@aol.com.
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