I have an idea for a great Survivor – lets divide teams by religion. Muslims, versus Jews, versus Christians, versus Atheists – sounds great don’t it?

Sounds ludicrous right? Not really. Because that’s where Survivor is going to need to go to top the concept behind this year’s series – dividing the tribes up by race. Yes you read that right. By blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics.

I’m a free speech absolutist. I don’t believe in the suppression of it whatsoever. And I’m as un-politically correct as they come. Sam Kinison and George Carlin are my favorite comedians. South Park is one of my favorite shows. So never would I advocate banning or fining this.

The FCC is no friend to free speech.

So why be concerned or upset? I’ve talked to people in my line of work who don’t feel the way I do. That this will be great TV. That generating any kind of discussion is good. And this last sentiment is one I always agree with.

But they don’t come from where *I* come from. They don’t know by what rationale my old neighbors will decide who to root for. And when “our” race’s members lose – it will be talk of conspiracy and bias.

And hey, Survivor’s Jeff Probst pretty much admits this in a recent interview. Watch it.

Survivor isn’t a comedy. It’s a competition in the hearts of its fans, and in the minds of some social scientists and economists. It’s producers call the show a social experiment. Check out the ongoing conversation about Game Theory and how it applies to Survivor. So is it really surprising that this season is already being thought of as “Survivor: Race War”? No. Not at all. It’s to be expected.

A dark part of me admires the marketing genius behind it. The degree to which the show’s producers will go to get ratings. Sure the season will sprinkle heart warming lessons in a few episodes. And they will move to integrate the tribes within two or three shows and those that integrate the best, supposedly, will do the best. But that does nothing to change this show’s exploitive starting point – segregated tribes – and it will be that, which sets the tone for the audience.

And bring in the viewers.

Are they holding a mirror to the reality of American society? Maybe.

But I can’t help but feel this story joins a growing number of race and racism related stories surfacing in the news. Stories that, when coupled with rising crime and poverty figures, set us back to the early nineties – at least.

This, at a time, when real bridges must be built, and re-built, between members of different races, different religions, different classes, and different sexes, and different political parties.

Ask yourself, does this Survivor season help or hurt fight the realities that Katrina exposed? The story of Katrina is one of race, class, and indifferent government and society.

Does it help? Or does it exploit?

There is a difference. Think about it.

From my point of view, there seem to be too many damn people are busy dividing us, to sell us something.

Too damn many.