We all missed a potentially great show:
“LOS ANGELES — “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” an ABC reality series that pushes hot buttons of racism and anti-homosexuality, was pulled by the network before its debut…
The six-episode show, which was to debut July 10, follows three families in Austin, Texas, who are given the chance to choose a new neighbor for a house on their street. Each family initially wants someone similar to them _ white and conservative. Instead, they must choose from families that are black, Hispanic and Asian; two gay white men who’ve adopted a black child; a couple covered in tattoos and piercings; a couple who met at the woman’s initiation as a witch; and a poor white family.”
Wow! This would’ve been great! Very rarely do we get to see the process of discrimination. Here, we have a television show that would show not only that, but how people rank minority groups. This would be required watching in every sociology class in the country. This would be the most valuable reality show ever made.
Instead, they pull the plug on it before it aired. Why? Both GLAAD and the Family Research Council opposed it:
“The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, after viewing the series, expressed strong concerns. While it ultimately carries a valuable message about diversity and acceptance, those watching the first episodes could be left thinking discrimination is “not that big a deal,” GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine said Wednesday. “Regardless of how things turn out at the end of the last show, it’s dangerous to let intolerance and bigotry go unchallenged for weeks at a time,” he said, adding that GLAAD hopes a revised version might air.
Before ABC announced its decision, the Family Research Council said it was worried evangelicals would be made to appear judgmental and foolish.”
What kind of things could they be scared of?
“In the early episodes, one man makes a crack about the number of children piling out of the Hispanic family’s car and displays of affection between the gay men provoke disgust.”
First, I’m shocked that the people who choose the “new neighbors” would sign the release forms on this show. Discrimination processes are incredibly private due to their socially sensitive nature. No one except KKK members and other extremists want to be known as racists or homophobes or sexists, etc. To actually show the intimate details of minority status ranking (which race is the lowest? are racial minorities ranked lower than sexual minorities? than religious minorities? etc.) is risky to the participants. This would have been fascinating to see.
My solution is to turn this into a two hour documentary. That way, the reasons these groups opposed the show would be moot, except for the Family Research Council. The FRC shouldn’t worry that “evangelicals” would look bad. People will see this as a microcosm of the nation’s feelings toward minorities, not just evangelicals. In general, humans are judgmental, discriminatory creatures. This show would shed light on the process, which is a rare thing indeed. Turn the show into a documentary! Show that show!