RICE AND RACISM: Jury Debuts With David, Julie Jettisoned to Redemption Island
“Rice Wars” — Tensions between Phillip and members of old Zapatera reach a boiling point when Steve doesn’t allow Omatepe to store their contaminated rice in their rice bin, and suddenly turns things into a racial issue. Matt and Mike defeat David in a 3-way Redemption Island challenge and David becomes the first jury member, while Julie becomes the next challenger at Redemption Island.
Look who’s playing Tribal Council peacemaker! How long in real time did it take you to get Phillip and Steve to come to something of an understanding in terms of where they were both coming from with their comments? Tell us something about that whole process we did not see.
Last night’s tribal went on for quite a while as there was a lot to get through. Since I didn’t know anything about it, I had to spend a fair amount of time understanding exactly what happened. The next step was to make sure both Phillip and Steve got to explain their side of the story. I’m very aware that unless you have walked a mile in someone’s shoes, you cannot know their story, so we took a lot of time to understand both points of view. In the end I think both men felt heard and agreed that both of them could be living a truthful experience. The most exciting part of the dialogue was how much it captured the spirit of Survivor — a group of strangers from different walks of life forced to live together.
And now is when things get awkward. It all starts harmlessly enough. Grant and Rob are singing their new “Rice Wars” jingle, completely unaware of the foreshadowing they are now providing. After Andrea finds maggots in the Ometepe rice container, they decide to take it all out and put it on a blanket to separate the good rice from the bad. But where should they put the good rice? After Steve refuses Andrea’s request to put it in the Zapatera tin, Phillip comes over and presses the issue. Once again, Steve says nope, setting the Rice Police up to make an arresting statement: “You know what, I asked. Unless you walk with that can, the first opportunity I get to take that can and hide it, I will.” This causes Steve to call Phillip a lunatic. “That’s your perception,” responds Phillip. “Anytime somebody of my color gets up in one of your faces, then you feel like I’m a lunatic. I’m crazy.”
I’m not going to provide the complete play-by-play, but suffice it to say that before all is said and done, Phillip gives the finger, drops the N-word twice, and the words “kung fu” once. The last time I remember being this uncomfortable during an accusation of improper behavior was back when Ghandia accused Ted of “grinding” back in Survivor: Thailand. What makes me most uncomfortable of all, however, is the fact that I even remember the names Ted and Ghandia.
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