by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse, originally published at Does Race Matter?
Find the person of color. It’s a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo?”
I was excited when I heard that the next Real World would be set in Sydney, Australia. I tend to like the international seasons mainly because I get to see a bit of the country in which they are staying. However, the smile fell off my face when I checked out the cast. It’s aaaaall white, with the exception of one girl, Parisa, an American of Middle Eastern descent (more on that in a minute) and the daughter of Muslim parents. Maybe they felt like throwing a brown Muslim girl into the vanilla pot would liven it up a little, but honestly, I feel like this is MTV’s as-per-usual approach to diversity: do something controversial, put the people (or person, in this case) of color in an awkward position that makes them react in an outrageous, albeit usually justified, way, then sit back and watch the ratings go up.
I am still feeling a little excited about watching the show, however, mainly because I just so happen to know the one person of color on the show. Parisa, who is of Persian (Iranian) descent is an NYU alum who went to the same undergraduate college (Gallatin) as I did. She and I also were in a class called Women in Islam, and I am happy to note that she is incredibly nice and intelligent. SO I am hoping that all the BS MTV will throw at her for ratings’ sake won’t break her spirit. I think it will be good for the average Americans out there watching to see a woman of Middle Eastern descent who breaks the mold. It also may appease some of the viewers who posted on the message board, lamenting the lack of black characters and general diversity on MTV reality show. Nevertheless, congrats to Parisa, but a big fat boo on MTV for making her a tv token!
By the way, this is Parisa. Note that she is not wearing 10 lbs of makeup like the other women on the show:
Some final notes:
Um, I am also tired of the Southern person always being dumb as fuck. Lastly, I wonder how white women feel when they watch The Real World considering that the white girls are almost always slutty, overly made-up drunkards. I recall there being a really good interview/set of articles regarding the issue of misogyny and sexism in reality tv (usually the women are promiscuous, but in that out of the control scary way, have substance abuse and/or psychological problems, and are belligerent and overly competitive toward the other women in the house). It looks like this one will definitely fit the bill.
I guess we’ll all find out on August 8th.
Trailer for The Real World: Sydney
Parisa also happens to be an awesome singer, so her dream to be a singer/songwriter will probably be realized quite soon: