For the video, TRIGGER WARNING for 10:05-10:32, for graphic descriptions of rape and murder.Thank you, welcometodelphi, for requesting it, and my most sincere apologies for forgetting to include it to begin with.
Let me preface this by saying I’m new to Big Brother, and the only episode I saw this season was the one that aired Sunday (In which Helen is Head of House and decides who is up for elimination). I did a lot of researching on this season. These are my personal notes and things I just want to point out.
This is a video of the racism and bigotry—along with the homophobia, misogyny, and ableism—in the house. There’s a lot that needs to be addressed here. If you can stomach it, I’d recommend that everybody watch this. The bigotry that these white girls have displayed gets much much much worse—let’s not let the white guys off the hook either, because they were disgusting and wholly encouraged it, mocking the women of color themselves—and most of it wasn’t aired on the actual show. But, there are cameras on 24/7, and you can subscribe to a livestream online. Some livestream viewers were good enough to compile all of their unaired racism—and misogyny—and put it in one big video. It also shows the homophobia, ablism, and misogyny running rampant—all of this, amazingly enough, is solely the white contestants.
Anyway, these are my extensive notes, based on what I’ve seen. This house is rife with misogyny, homophobia, and ableism as well, but for now, I want to focus on the racism, and the intersections of these other horrible isms with race.
*In the gifset I just reblogged, after having overturned Candice’s mattress and throwing her belongings on the floor, Candice does nothing more than try to talk to her about it, leading Aaryn to mock her, swiveling her neck and speaking in mock Black vernacular, “Whachu gon’ do, gurl? Whachu gon do? Hmm?” What isn’t shown in the gifset is that while Candice tries to speak, GinaMarie, steps in on Aaryn’s behalf, and literally getting nose to nose with Candice (the Black woman who is dealing with their bullshit) and loudly threatening her, “What, is the Black in you gonna come out? We gonna see the Black come out? What are you gonna say? You have something to say? What are you going to do?” and whenever Candice tries to move, GinaMarie will not let her. Whenever Candice tries to speak, Ginamarie cuts her off with more shit talking and threatening posture.
*Howie, the second Black contestant, had to pick Candice up and literally remove her from the room. Let’s talk about how when Candice pleaded with him to let them fight back, to let them stay in that room for the night because she didn’t want to let their racism win in this feud, he refused. It’s being seen as him “taking the high ground” by some viewers (and yes, it is the high ground, but I fear this will be used to draw a good Black/bad Black dichotomy), and how other white viewers are calling him a coward. Let’s talk about the reality behind why he said that. Let’s talk about how Howie something to the tune of, “If they say something to you, I won’t be able to hold my tongue. I’ll have to fight, and I don’t want to,” and let’s look at the REAL implication of those words, which is that he knows that if he, a Black man, or Candace, a Black woman, dare to even yell at those racist white girls, there will be intense backlash for him and for Candice. Let’s talk about the fact that if Candice fights back, the backlash will hit her harder than it’d ever hit Aaryn, and Ginamarie. Candice couldn’t eve talk to Aaryn without Ginamarie perceiving her to be a threat and in turn, attempting to silence and intimidate her. Aaryn and Ginamarie may have been unknowingly fired from their real life jobs but you’d better believe much worse can and does happen to PoC for trying to defend themselves against racism.
* Amanda, who calls their behavior racist (their behavior, not the girls—this backbending is important to note) isn’t calling them out for sake of being a good person, but to protect them because she doesn’t want the public to think badly of them. “I tried to help you,” she says. Because otherwise, everybody (as in the American public) is going to be on Candice’s side, and think that Aaryn is a terrible person. We wouldn’t want that, would we?
* While Amanda is calling Aayrn’s behavior racist, she called Helen, the Korean American woman, racial slurs referencing Chinese people. When she’s told Helen is Korean, she dismissively says, “Same thing.” When another white girl lets “nigger” slip on camera, and then gasps in horror, “Omg, I just said the n word on camera,” Amanda looks at her and says, “So?” But Amanda is an interesting case. She says racist shit, cosigns racist shit, and is complicit in the racist shit, but she doesn’t think she’s racist. She checks Aaryn on her racism (to protect Aaryn), and openly declares herself to be largely tolerant, saying she doesn’t care about skin color, religion, and a slew of other things, thinking that makes her exempt. She also does this in terms of homophobia. She’s complicit in it, and participates in it herself, even calling the openly gay cast member some choice terms, and once saying it to his face.
* Despite all of this, Amanda declares herself the world’s number one ally in terms of race and sexual orientation, on more than one occasion. This is another thing that happens frequently. People think that all they have to do to be an ally is tell somebody else that they were wrong. Give somebody a slap on the wrist once, and BOOM. Instant ally status, aren’t I great? She claims to be an ally, but makes homophobic jokes and uses homophobic slurs. She claims to be racially tolerant, but uses racial slurs, dismisses others’ usage of slurs, and makes fun of the PoC for being PoC. And she thinks that she’s not homophobic because “she said so.” She thinks Aaryn is being racist, but does gymnastics to not call her a racist. Amanda thinks that because she told Aaryn that she was being racist, she isn’t racist, despite never checking herself. She seems to think that calling someone else out—vaguely—is enough to exempt herself from being a racist, and makes her usage of slurs, and racial conflation okay.
* Aaryn—arguably the worst of the bunch though none of the others are too far behind—doesn’t see a problem with her own behavior. She whines to white castmates that the people of color are the racist ones, not her. She complains several times that people are going to misjudge her.
* She fauxpologizes, basically tells Candice, “Sorry you were offended,” and has the nerve to basically tell her, “just because I say inappropriate things and come from the south… I don’t want you to think I’m like that.” This happens frequently. People don’t want to be held accountable or recognize what they are. What are you like, when you’ve used racial slurs for an entire season and mocked the PoC for their race, what are you like, if not racist? If a whole season’s worth of behavior isn’t a reflection upon what you are like, then what are you?
* Let’s not leave the men out. Let’s discuss how the white men are eager to make fun of Helen, imitating her using accents, and referring to her as Kim Jong Helen Kim. Let’s talk about how one of the white guys—I don’t even know his name—said that Hitler was a great speaker and that that shit was beneficial. When talking about if he’d ever date a woman of color—Candice, I believe—he says, “No thanks, I have a nice full (pure?) white one at home.” In fact, he seems to be saying that this is what he told one of the WoC contestants after suggesting one of them threw themselves at his feet. (I highly doubt any of the WoC were after him because he seems to be one of the shittiest people there) He also suggests that the only reason the people of color are even present on the show is because they’re people of color.
* This same contestant talks about how likeable he is and what a good person he is.
* Every white person there laughs and snickers when these racist comments are made. Every single one of them. Let’s talk about how some of these white people are the SAME ones who are quick to tell Candice, Helen, and Howie—the three PoC in the house—how offended they were by those racist jokes as soon as they see that Candice is crying. Yeah, they sure were offended when they were laughing and encouraging it to happen and, y’know, not calling them out.
* One of the white girls laughing at the jokes has the nerve to even go complain to another white person about how offended she was by the racism that she herself was just laughing at and encouraging.
*The kicker is that this man she’s complaining to is someone else who was actively racist against PoC contestants.
* These white contestants consistently make their own racism about their feelings, as if it will take away from the fact that it’s them being racist.
* The white contestants are very careful not to say this shit when any PoC are around, unless they’re mocking them to their faces. When the PoC are nearby, they whisper it amongst themselves.
* Interestingly enough, they have no problem showing some of their racism when Howie is present. The one moment when one of them mocks AAVE while saying, “I like Eddie Murphy,” they say this in front of Howie, who says nothing. The other instance, in which Aaryn goes off on her little accent monologue mocking of Helen, is also in front of Howie. They think that because Howie is quiet, Howie is “safe.” They’re unaware that Howie truly stays quiet because he, unlike the white contestants, understands how racism functions and that shouid he defend himself or the WoC, there will be intense backlash.
* This is also interesting in that it makes us see that most of the racism is directed at the women of color. Very little of it is aimed at Howie. From what I’ve seen, Howie is never a direct target. When they express their racism to the PoC’s faces, it’s at Candice, the Black woman. I don’t know if they’ve done anything directly to Helen or not. This is in no way diminishing the racism he’s subjected to. But, this is a perfect illustration of the intersectionality of gender and race; it’s interesting that the women of color get the brunt of it, and in terms of picking targets, they choose Candice to directly harass.
* I’ve seen a lot of people I follow here on Tumblr, especially white passing PoC, talk about the horrible things white people say when they think we aren’t around. This show really brought that statement to life for me, as a visible PoC. If this show is even a fraction of a representation of it…well. This is why a lot of PoC hold white people accountable before knowing them. This is why we say you’re racist until you prove otherwise. Because you can smile to our faces, but say all sorts of dehumanizing things behind our backs.
* The contestants, with all of the racism, misogyny, homophobia, and ablelism, are holding up a mirror to the American public, but most people will fail to see their reflection staring right back at them.
* There is some serious PoC solidarity going on, and the fact that it’s being shown on national television is mind blowing.
* Howie was on a team with Aaryn and a couple other girls for one of the BB games. Tthe losing team—who would be dubbed the Have Nots—has to live with a decreased quality of living for a period of time—I’m unsure of the period. It includes no hot water for showers, and according to one of the contestants, really bad food (I only caught half of Sunday’s episode and it was my first time seeing the show, so idk the full extent of being a Have Not). The team Candice had been on had been losing a lot and as a result, often endured the punishments of being Have Nots. Howie wanted Candice’s team to win. But two teams would be winners. Howie wanted to ensure that Candice could enjoy the priivileges of being a winner without having Aaryn and the other girls there. He said that he wanted Candice to be able to enjoy some of the rewards, and that she deserved it.
-He purposely tried to throw the competition by attempting to make his own team lose, faltering and falling over to delay things. Even though he knew it meant he’d have to suffer the consequences of being a H.N. himself, and that he’d likely have to endure some abuse at the hands of Aaryn and the other girls, since their losing would have obviously been his fault. God forbid they suspected or figured out that he was doing all that faltering and fumbling on purpose. He threw himself in front of the bus, just to protect Candice’s mental and emotional well being. A Black man protected a Black woman on national television. What’s more, a Black woman protected a Black woman from racism at the hands of white women on national television. Their team still won, despite Howie’s efforts, but there are many instances in which he looks out for Candice instead of leaving her to suffer alone. This. Is. Huge.
* When Candice cried about all of the racism she was enduring, he held her in his arms and let her, and when he was all alone, he broke down into tears, too. He promised to look out for her and have her back because he wasn’t going to let her go through being the girls’ target. That is some seriously good looking out.
* On another note, it’s nice seeing a Black woman being valued, and seen as worthy of protection. White feminist commentary is not needed nor invited on this point.
* When Helen learned of the girl’s racism, and of the things they’d done to target Candice, she wasn’t having any of it either. She not only comforts Candice when she cries, but she reassures her that she has her back.
*The three PoC tell each other they will look out for each other, specifically in terms of racism. Let me say it again. On a competition show where everybody wants everybody else to be eliminated, the PoC cast members openly declared their solidarity with each other against the racism going on in the house.
* As the one wielding the power to determine who would be up for elimination, Helen chose Aaryn, and one of the other girls who played a heavy part in victimizing Candice.
* Helen, Howie and Candice are, so far, displaying some intense solidarity, on national television. All of America is going to get a heavy dose of what could happen when people of color fight for each other instead of passively allowing racism to go unchecked.
* The racism—most of it only known about because of the 24/7 livestream but not actually included on the the television episodes—is so rampant that livestream subscribers kicked up a fuss. They kicked up a fuss so loudly that CBS actually made a compilation of the racist moments within the house and aired it on television, leading to Aaryn and Ginamarie being fired from the jobs they had outside of the show—this is something neither woman will know about until they’re out of the house, because communication with the outside world is restricted, save for family emergencies like death of a loved one. (On a personal note, I can’t wait for them to find out.)
* The host of Big Brother, Julie Chen, who is a woman of color herself, just spoke out about their racism too, and is personally enraged. She tore into Aaryn on “The Talk.” When these women are kicked out of the house, they’re likely going to get it good when Ms. Chen sits down with them.
That’s pretty much it, in terms of my notes. There are a lot of powerful things going on in and because of Big Brother, an American reality show. Microaggressions are being shown. Blatant and subtle racism are being shown. And what’s more, PoC solidarity is being shown. Though a lot of viewers are sadly missing it, the reasons why PoC often keep quiet in the midst of racism directed against themselves and others is being shown too—the public is mistaking Howie’s working knowledge of how racism functions as cowardice or him being ~the good one~ That’s how his actions will be perceived for a lot of white America, and it’s nothing but what I expected. But nonetheles, these things are being shown, on national television. These things are being talked about. While people of color are rarely allowed to react to racism in ways that aren’t deemed acceptable by white people, the PoC involved are talking about it and calling spades spades, on national television, with minimal throwback. It’s a step. Julie Chen was enraged on national television without much backlash. It’s a start. PoC solidarity is showing all throughout this entire situation. It has been named. It has been declared. It has been acted upon. And that, to me, is the most powerful thing of all. That solidarity… that solidarity, just yes! Can we have some conversations about these things? Because I feel like this is a lot bigger than people are realizing.
I’ll be watching the rest of this season to see how everything plays out, and will write about it as well, so if you’re interested, I’ll be tagging them all as “Alex watches Big Brother.” Or, because I’ll likely forget that tag (…I know how I am, don’t judge me), they’ll also have a secondary tag, “Big Brother.” :B
I can’t stomach that so I’m not going to watch it. I’m glad I have never watched an episode of Big Brother in any of its incarnations.
But watch Whites pull their usual “We’re not ALL like that!” and attempts to distance themselves like ol’ girl tried to do.
This video made me sick. I watched maybe one season of Big Brother and this is fucking disgusting. I’m crying and I’m ill over this. WTF is wrong with those people? Oh yeah. Fucking racists.
i can’t watch it, but people need to see this and watch this.