I do not believe there is a single individual in the current Big Brother house who is racist, sexist, or an evil person. If you got to know each one of them, you would probably meet a charismatic individual (there’s a reason they got cast). After two days, it is difficult for anyone to pass judgment on people we’ve barely met. However, I will say Big Brother has an inherent systemic form of racism and beautyism, which makes the game far more challenging for minorities. Not impossible to overcome, but it creates an uphill battle from the start.
I love the game of Big Brother and the entertainment it brings me in the Summer. Unfortunately, it is devastating to watch my friends who are People of Color get emotionally depleted watching the casts minorities get targeted from the jump. It becomes a similar pattern every single season, and it all comes down to one major thing: CASTING.
From here, I want to breakdown how poor casting affects minorities on Big Brother and ways they could quickly fix it.
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE OF COLOR
The 2010 Census had the amount of non-Latin Blacks in America at 12.4%. Thus, most fans can look at the casting of two Black people on the Big Brother cast an accurate depiction of our nation as they make 12.5% of the household. Sadly, it doesn’t work out that way. In the Big Brother House, it is 14 against 2. Yes, not all cast members are white, but in the aggregate one race gets vastly outnumbered by the rest of the population. Humans connect with those who they are most comfortable with from the start. Most white players are not actively trying to eschew the black cast members; they simply connect better with the people who look like their family, who look like their friends, or their doctors or whatever. Likewise, it’s difficult for Black players to assimilate themselves in a foreign place, which is both their home and a semi hazardous environment considering the lack of trust you can have in a game like BB. The TV show Everybody Hates Chris perfectly depicted how it feels to have a familiar face around you:
On BB20, Bayleigh and Swaggy were able to connect because there was an inherent familiarity between them instantly. If you put two white people in a house with fourteen minorities, they would stick out like sore thumbs.
Even if the minorities were to all align, it’s still 11–5 on this BB21 cast, 10–6 for BB20, and 13–4 for BB19. The last census had the amount of US non-Hispanic Whites in this nation around 62%, which again backs up the cast a bit … though it feels like an antiquated form of casting when the census projects non-Hispanic White Americans to be less than 50% of the population by 2045, which sounds far, but it’s legitimately only 26 years away now (6.5 presidential terms or 18 plays of November Rain away).
Big Brother desperately needs to diversify their casting. The US is a melting pot country, but Big Brother is creating a Salad Bowl. On night two, we watched Jackson, who is probably a good guy, nominate the two Black players, the older Latina plus size Model, and the oldest guy in the game. I understand from a game perspective those are people that would be best for his game, but partially the reason they’re the best for his game is that they have the starkest differences from himself as a human being and he’s chosen the quick superficial stuff versus potential personality aspects. Jackson could easily win this game and make significant moves the rest of the way and prove to be an awesome person. It just sucks watching people who have this inherent uphill battle get targeted so quickly. So many of these people want to change stereotypes, and it’s not happening because it’s easier to rely on the norm.
BrainMass defines Beautyism as “the term for the phenomenon of workplace hiring of physically attractive people over less attractive people, often in spite of qualifications. If a company hires based on external attractiveness qualities, then the potential for missing more capable and more stable employees can occur.”
There are no real qualifications for playing Big Brother other than being 21 and over. Thus, anyone is “qualified” to play the game. However, Big Brother skews far more towards the side of beautiful people and social media influencers today more than ever. CBS is not wrong in making this move; humans love beautiful humans. If you’ve ever been on Instagram, it’s become a cesspool of half-naked girls, slimming tea ads with half-naked girls, or pictures of food and dogs (sometimes with half-naked girls). The worst part is, my simple animalistic brain still follows all those accounts despite detesting what they stand for because those people are hot, and my eyes like them.
Casting these attractive influencers who know nothing about the game attract the least common denominator fans who watch based solely on their physical attraction to people. After a while, it fades. I and many others watch Big Brother for the game aspect, and if they continue to cast people like Matt or Elena from BB19 or JC from BB21, it’s only going to dilute the game.
They need to diversify the racial casting of Big Brother, CBS needs to expand the ages and body types of cast members. They rarely cast legitimate plus size women (not girls who are a bit thicc, actual plus size women). This season they did it with Jessica, and I applaud them for it. Except for the fact Jessica, is one of the most gorgeous women on the planet and a model. CBS is saying “hey, we cast plus size women on our shows too, you only have to be a model!” The same could be said for Fessy last season, yes they cast a Muslim male. Unfortunately, he had to be a College football player and a pretty boy.
The solution is to diversify the casting similar to Survivor and Amazing Race. They do a great job of casting those shows, and if they did the same for Big Brother, we’d get a better product.
Maybe I’m too cynical, but honestly, it’s something we should care about as humans and Big Brother fans. Big Brother is a great game which unifies a nation as we all watch together. Everyone should be able to watch and connect and feel their favorites are getting a fair shot. Watching fans truly feel as their favorites are playing with a glass ceiling crushes my heart. I want everyone to be able to enjoy Big Brother equally.