Game Show Network has a new show called "Without Prejudice." This odd construction features five contestants and a panel of five judges. Both sets of people are just ordinary folks - no celebrities. The contestants reveal more and more about themselves as the show goes on while the judges keep voting to remove certain contestants from the game. The interesting part is when they ask the judges why they're voting someone out of the game, because that's where our inherent prejudices come into play.
For example, before round one, the contestants say hello and where they're from. That's it. The judges then vote to remove one of them based solely on their few seconds of video tape and the impressions they left. One guy admits he's automatically biased against the black guy and one woman admits to choosing the woman over the man because "Mom told me to always choose a woman if there's a choice." The show is led by a psychologist and the group of ever changing judges have to discuss their choices. It's not a fast action style, but it is an interesting idea. You can click this link to watch the first episode for free.
Anyhow, the Game Show Network teamed up with Zogby polls and came up with a "Report Card on Prejudice in America." The results are certainly worthy of notice.
Most people won't come right out and admit their own prejudices so Zogby tried something different this time.
"Over my years of polling, I've learned that Americans tend to offer socially acceptable responses when questioned on their own views about race and prejudice," pollster John Zogby told The Bilerico Project. "That's why in this poll we predominantly asked people about 'most Americans' views on race and prejudice. We believe this provides a far more accurate window into how people really think about these issues. Americans are more forthcoming when discussing the problem in the context of their neighbors' lives than in the context of their own lives."
Put in that context, the results are simply stunning and should provide hours of discussion possibilities. For example:
While 67% of respondents claimed to have no preference themselves between a white, black or Arab clerk in a convenience store, 71% said, "most Americans" would seek out the white clerk. Just 1% said Americans' first choice would be to approach a black clerk, while less than 0.5% said the same for an Arab clerk.
73% said in the event of a shooting, most Americans would expect African Americans to be involved. 70% said in the event of insurance fraud, most Americans would expect whites to be involved.
62% said they believe Americans oppose same-sex marriages. Yet 58% would elect a gay person for President -- about the same as for an Arab-American (57%), and more than for a person over age 70 (51%), or for an atheist (51%). On gender, 93% think Americans believe men are most responsible for crime, extra-marital affairs (82%), and sexually transmitted diseases (72%).
58% would elect a gay President? That's amazing, don't you think? Or, well, more accurately 58% said they think most Americans would vote for a gay president. I have heard for years that America was ready for a woman president, does this signify a real chance for 24 to look even more like real life than it does under Bush? After all, the producers for the FOX show announced today that next season's President would be played by openly gay actress Cherry Jones.
GSN released the poll as part of the "Without Prejudice Project" in conjunction with several leading civil rights organizations and UnderstandingPrejudice.org. (GLAAD seems to be the LGBT representative.) The show's website offers several resources to help spur some discussions about the show - a novel idea for a network like the Game Show Network...
I have to say though, I was only able to watch the first (of 3) segments of the first episode. I got bored watching it - too much talk and not enough game show, if you ask me. But how do you really spice something like this up without losing any chance at television redemption? You have to find the perfect balance - just like you do in life.
What do you think? Boring? Interesting? How would you make it better?