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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Amazing Race, are they excluding people who can compete with disabilities?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) February 21st, 2010

Why on the show The Amazing Race they always seem to have the obligatory Gay couple or person which to me seems like the token Gay but don’t seem to be that adamant about having a ubiquitous representation of people with a disability or handicap like legal blindness, deaf, Little People, or maybe someone with a prosthetic etc? It is like because they don’t have as much visibility or something that they are not thought to be included in every series like Gays. Have you noticed that?

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22 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

In previous seasons they have had a deaf person and also a Little Person.

I just don’t think they feel the need to have one EVERY season.

Although I haven’t had a chance to research the numbers, I’m also going on the assumption that gay people, as a group, are a far larger segment of the population than either Little People or deaf people so there would be more of them applying.

On the season when they had Charla, a little person, competing on the challenges I read somewhere that they had to make certain to provide a suit of medeival armor for her size.

I think it was a pretty unforgettable memory of her gamely struggling to complete the task dressed in metal armor and having to lead a horse.

She was a really spunky gal and participated wholeheartedly regardless of how difficult the various challenges were. She was truly inspiring and a joy to watch. Her average size sister, otoh, was one of the most annoying people I’ve ever seen.

:D

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

They’ve had people with disabilities several times.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Meet Luke Adams, a deaf individual who was a contestant on The Amazing Race.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Buttonstc @Captain_Fantasy @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I know that, I am a fan of the show. Where as they had a Little person on once that I know of and only that one deaf man, Luke Adams, they ALWAYS have at least one Gay person or couple. Be they have the numbers or not, there are more Filipinos than Gays but they don’t have at least one in each race or at least one Jewish person or couples. So, if they are going to go above and beyond to make sure there is one Gay representation, I feel IMOH that they should extend the same courtesy to those whith disabilities who can still compete.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I was SO surprised (and kind of disgusted) when I saw that they’re still doing it. I mean, how many seasons have they done?! I remember watching it back in 2002 (I think – I was 6 at the time.)

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I dont know if bringing in a token disabled person just to be PC is the way to go in a competition like that.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Nothing saus they can’t have one deaf team, a team where one or both are Little People and a team with a mute person all in the same competition. None has to be a token, if that were the case just because there was only one it is tokenism isn’t that what they do now with Gays? What would the difference be then?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I don’t agree with their token gay team either. The criteria should be based upon ability.
There’s people about there with protheses that would probably do a lot better than I would. I’d be interested to see how many people with disabilities apply to be contestants.

gailcalled's avatar

Is a person who can’t differentiate between Chile and China or pesos vs. Brazilian Reais considered intelligence-limited (or whatever they’re calling it now)?

Buttonstc's avatar

@Gail

:D :D :D

I was thinking the same thing watching the first few episodes of this season. We can’t use the “R word” but there is definitely a disability there :)

lillycoyote's avatar

@Buttonstc I think they’ve also had a person with a prosthetic leg before too.

And… the people who always seem most disabled to me are the “dating models,” another group of people for which there seems to be a more than ample supply.

jerv's avatar

I think this is funny since we were talking the other night about how entertaining it’d be to have a pair of Aspies on that show. Sure, most of us aren’t actually disabled, but it would make for interesting TV.

Oddly, there is one group that is prohibited from The Amazing Race; smokers!
That’s right! You light up and you’re disqualified! As near as I can tell from the rules, that isn’t just “no smoking on camera) either, not at all!

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv There actually was a person, just one, not a pair, with Asperger’s Syndrome on Amazing Race. link O.K. So I really like the Amazing Race. I think I’ve watched every season. So, @Hypocrisy_Central of all the reality shows on television, Amazing Race is probably the most open to people with disabilities than any other.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@lillycoyote Granted, the Amazing Race does more toward including people with handicaps than American Idol, Big Brother, or Survivor which seems to be more the parade of sexy women show; maybe that is why they always have them in warm tropical climates. OK maybe based on how Survivor is it might be hard for a person with prothetics to do some of the challenges but the Amazing Race seem to only sprinkle them (those with handicaps) when they want to flower it up but the only group (outside your usuall races) they always have is Gays. You don’t see Little People, those with Asperger’s syndrome, deaf, or OCD etc. included in every single race. If they are going to have a Gay person in every race they should have at least one person (thought they could and should have more) with a clinial or confirmed disability or handicap.

jrpowell's avatar

Do you want to see more people with disabilities or less gays?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@johnpowell Yes, I want to see those with disabilities that can compete, compete equal to the Gays. Spread it out. Having the ubiquitous Gay gets rather boring. The same as it would be if they always had ex cheerleaders or Playboy bunnies etc. they may be nice for a lot of people to look at but they would become boring.

Aethelwine's avatar

It could be possible that there are more gays and lesbians than people with disabilities that try out for the show. Did you ever think of that?

just a thought

Buttonstc's avatar

@jonsblond

That would be my assumption. I don’t know where I could find accurate numbers on this, but just going by my own experience from living in two major metropolitan areas and a good bit of travel, I have encountered significantly more gay people than those in any of the other groups mentioned.

It doesn’t make sense to me that they would be purposely excluding folks with various disabilities since they have obviously been successful with them in the past.

I think having Charla (the Little Person) on generated a lot of good publicity and ratings as she was such a positive person. For my personal taste, they could have excluded her naggy obnoxious sister and it wouldn’t have bothered me at all.

jb, I think you’re right that more gays apply than those in the other groups mentioned. I don’t know how we could verify that, but I’m pretty sure that’s it.

I also don’t understand why having gay people on the show most seasons necessarily obligates the produces to include a disabled person.

Being gay isn’t a disability and it’s not necessarily more outstanding or unusual to have them on as any other group such as Asians or Black people or whatever.

I seriously doubt that the producers are sitting there saying, well have we cast our token gay person yet? In this day and age, I think it’s pretty beside the point on a show like this.

I think demanding tokenism and quota casting is rather misguided.

I also like the question asked by jp. Would the OP be happier if they cast less gays to balance it out? Why are gays being the ones to be seemingly pitted against the disabled? That’s not making a whole lot of logical sense to me.

Is there something I’m missing here?

Buttonstc's avatar

BTW. As long as Survivor was mentioned, there was an amputee with a prosthetic leg who was on one of the seasons. I’ll include a link to his website.

I think the bottom line for casting on these reality shows comes down to ratings. Casting the people who are the most telegenic is one major factor. The other one is controversy.

But how well someone translates on camera trumps everything else. I’ve seen interviews with producers of various types of reality shows and they confirm that.

I don’t think that having a disability was the sole reason Chad was cast on Survivor. He has a terrific personality that translates well on camera.

If he were a self-pitying mope, just having a disability would not have been enough to get him a spot on the show.

Just because someone is deaf, a dwarf, or any other handicap does not mean that they would do well on TV. The number of able bodied people who are rejected for this reason are staggering. These are TV shows not a democracy. Their primary motivator is money, not philanthropy or equal opportunities for all.

Just because someone’s handicap makes them a bit unique does not guarantee that they will be good for television. That’s just the plain hard truth.

It certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t find success and accomplishment in many other avenues. There are very very few people who are successful on TV whether handicapped, gay, or straight.

Do I think they are trying to exclude handicapped people, you ask. Well, obviously not since they’ve had them on the show with good results so that would be a foolish move. I just think it’s a numbers game. And because there are probably fewer handicapped folks applying, it’s more difficult to find ones who are telegenic enough to make the cut. Numbers, pure and simple.

The fact that they aren’t cast on these shows says less negative about them than it does about the media industry.

TV is a very fickle industry which does not necessarily reward genuine accomplishment, achievement, or brains. That’s why there is the over-proliferation of models and beauty queens regardless of how dimwitted or ill-accomplished. And these dimwits outnumber gays by a hefty margin. I don’t know why you’re not complaining about an over-proliferation of THEM !

You’re expecting TV to be a level playing field. It’s not And it’s unrealistic to expect it to be. It is what our culture has made it into.

They live and die by the ratings because that’s what brings in the bucks. If they think that someone with a disability is also telegenic enough to boost ratings, they are cast. If not, tough luck.

Would I personally like to see a greater variety of people both disabled or not rather than the ubiquitous dimwitted pretty people which proliferate ? Absolutely !

Do I think it’s likely to happen more often ? Realistically, no.

I enjoy seeing folks with a variety of different backgrounds, life experiences, abilities or disabilities. I find the vacuous model types pretty boring. But, clearly, I’m not the majority of the audience.

Would it be nice if it were different ? Sure. But it’s TV and my expectations for it are not high.

Anyhow, enjoy Chad’s website.

www.chadcrittenden.com

Aethelwine's avatar

@Buttonstc Excellent points. I remember watching an interview with Jeff Probst and he was asked if there would ever be a Survivor in a colder climate. He mentioned that they would never do that, the ratings would drop if everyone was wearing parkas instead of bikinis.

Buttonstc's avatar

Hahaha

That is so true. There was a short little blurb with a few photos in TV guide positing that the bikinis are getting skimpier each season.

Even tho Survivor has kinda gone downhill over the years, I usually end up watching most seasons anyway because it’s still interesting to watch the diversity of interactions of folks with these strong personalities.

I like Jeff’s attitude in general. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and has some interesting insights into the dynamics of the game.

I also remember him describing his and the producer’s challenges inherent in dealing with an entire group composed of all these extreme “Type-A” personalities all crammed into a small space for a compressed time period.

Obviously not something you encounter in everyday life :)

I just keep reminding myself that it’s just TV after all.

The main reason I’m watching AR this season ( I don’t usually) is to watch how dimwitted the model couple this year can possibly be.

She was the blond bimbo beauty contestant who made national headlines with her rambling incoherent attempt to explain why so many US students can’t find some country on a map.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s hilarious, absolutely hilarious. I’m sure it’s somewhere on YouTube.

Her boyfriend rose gallantly to her defense in their intro interview explaining that so many people gave her flack to that unfairly. Ha ha. Unfairly?

She promised that she would surprise us all. I’m not holding my breath.

That’s pretty pathetic. When one is reduced to watching a show primarily waiting for the other shoe to drop due to the nitwit factor :). But, it’s the middle of a long cold winter.

That’s my official excuse, Your Honor :)

BTW. I don’t automatically assume that all blonds are necessarily brainless, but THIS one definitely is.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Buttonstc “*I don’t know where I could find accurate numbers on this, but just going by my own experience from living in two major metropolitan areas and a good bit of travel, I have encountered significantly more gay people than those in any of the other groups mentioned.*

Being gay isn’t a disability and it’s not necessarily more outstanding or unusual to have them on as any other group such as Asians or Black people or whatever.” If we play a straight numbers game Asians, Blacks, Hispanics etc out number Gays so by reason of numbers Gays would be seen as scarce as those with handicaps.

“*jb, I think you’re right that more gays apply than those in the other groups mentioned. I don’t know how we could verify that, but I’m pretty sure that’s it.”* Again, numbers, there would be more straight people than Gays applying if one used logic.

“*I also don’t understand why having gay people on the show most seasons necessarily obligates the produces to include a disabled person.*” The same could apply having one every season at least every season I have watched and I have seen most ? I would think that segment of viewers (the handicapped) would like to see representation of them, numbers equaling Gays notwithstanding, To see them as good enough for a showing maybe every 3rd contest because they don’t have the numbers Gays have don’t make logical sense.

“*_Would the OP be happier if they cast less gays to balance it out? Why are gays being the ones to be seemingly pitted against the disabled? That’s not making a whole lot of logical sense to me.

Is there something I’m missing here??_*” First I would go on record to say that if they (the producers) can’t see way to increase the handicap presence maybe they should lessen the Gay presence to at least give the appearance they are trying to be fair and equal of it. What you might be missing is as Buttonstc say it is mostly about ratings and who is TVcentric then equal access to the handicap is mainly a sham, and Gays get maximum exposure because they are more accepted in US homes on TV then the handicap.

“*Just because someone is deaf, a dwarf, or any other handicap does not mean that they would do well on TV. The number of able bodied people who are rejected for this reason are staggering. These are TV shows not a democracy. Their primary motivator is money, not philanthropy or equal opportunities for all.”* Which is probably the most telling sign, because of ratings and, for lack of a better word, the US viewers ability to stomach Gays on their TV set more than the handicap, Gays get the nod more than the handicap.

“*seriously doubt that the producers are sitting there saying, well have we cast our token gay person yet? In this day and age, I think it’s pretty beside the point on a show like this.”* Well as you say ratings = bucks and that could give way to having a Gay or Gay couple because they feel iy will be could for ratings, if among Gays if nowhere else.

@jonsblond “It could be possible that there are more gays and lesbians than people with disabilities that try out for the show. Did you ever think of that?” Yeah..but that alone should give them more of a go than other groups? More straight people I believe apply than Gays so off pure numbers there would not be a Gay in every race same as the handicap.

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