Survivor, Island of the Invisible Asians

A Quantitative Analysis of Asian Representation vs. Visibility in CBS's Hit Reality Television Program

Authors

  • Ethan Wang Vacaville High School
  • David Morton Vacaville High School

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v9i2.1059

Keywords:

contestant-to-camera speaking time, representation, Survivor, visibility

Abstract

This study intended to explore Asian visibility, measured in contestant-to-camera speaking time, in comparison to representation in the three most recent seasons of CBS's reality television program Survivor. Previous literature indicated a disparity in appearance time between Asian and White television characters on primetime programs, although no studies delved into reality television nor measured contestant-to-camera speaking time. This study utilized a quantitative content analysis method to collect speaking time values for each of the 58 contestants across seasons 37 through 39, as well as a correlational method to compile and average these values based on each contestant's racial identity. The results indicated an apparent difference in average speaking time between Asian and White contestants. Although Survivor represents only one program, and the results are only applicable to the three seasons analyzed, the disparity speaks to the larger issue of Asian invisibility in other forms of media and the real world. It is apparent that television producers have a more substantial impact on television narratives and contestants' visibility than directly observable. An equally allotted amount of content in future seasons of Survivor would allow viewers to better understand the struggles and experiences of Asian contestants. In order to expand on the complexity and ubiquity of the issue, it would be ideal for future research to explore whether or not the same Asian-White visibility disparity exists within earlier Survivor seasons as well as other reality television programs.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References or Bibliography

Bell-Jordan, K. E. (2008). ​Black.​ ​White​. and a ​Survivor​ of ​The Real World​: Constructions of Race on Reality TV. ​Critical Studies in Media Communication, 25(​4), 353–372. DOI:10.1080/15295030802327725.

Carter, B. (2006, August 24). 'Survivor' to Divide Teams Along Racial Lines. ​The New York Times.​ Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/24/business/media/24survivor.html​.

Chin, C., Deo, M. E., Lee, J. J., Milman, N., & Wang Yuen, N. (2006). ​Asian Pacific Americans in Prime Time: Setting the Stage. A​sian American Justice Center. Retrieved from https://www.aapisontv.com​.

Columbia Broadcasting System. (n.d.). Survivor (Official Site). Retrieved October 30, 2019, from https://www.cbs.com/shows/survivor/​.

Davis, W. (2019). 'CBS Has a White Problem': Executive Blasts Toxic Culture at Network in Explosive Letter. Retrieved from https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/cbs-has-a-white-problem-whitney-davis-explains-decision-1203194484/​.

Deo, M. E., Lee, J. J., Chin, C. B., Milman, N., & Wang Yeun, N. (2008). Digital Commons @ Biola University. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.biola.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1388&=&context=faculty-a rticles​.

Drew, E. M. (2011). Pretending to Be "Postracial": The Spectacularization of Race in Reality TV's ​Survivor.​ ​Television & New Media​, ​12​(4), 326–346. DOI:10.1177/1527476410385474.

Ducros, F. M., Chin, C. B., Lee, J. J.-H., Yuen, N. W., Deo, M. E., & Milman, N. (2018). Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on TV. Contexts,​ ​17(​4), 12–17. DOI:10.1177/1536504218812863.

Hunt, D. (2002). ​Prime Time In Black And White: Not Much is New for 2002​. (2nd ed., Vol. 1). Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Bunche Center. Retrieved from https://bunchecenter.ucla.edu/2012/05/15/bunche-research-report/​.

Kwak, A. (2004). Asian Americans in the Television Media: Creating Incentive for Change. Boston College Third World Law Journal, 24​(2), 395–420.

Lee, K.-Y., & Joo, S.-H. (2005). The Portrayal of Asian Americans in Mainstream Magazine Ads: An Update. ​Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(​3), 654–671. DOI:10.1177/107769900508200311.

McDonald, J. H. (2014). Handbook of Biological Statistics: Confounding variables. Retrieved from http://www.biostathandbook.com/confounding.html​.

Ocampo, A. (2018). Stop Forgetting Asian Americans. ​Contexts, 17(​4), 76–76. DOI:10.1177/1536504218812877.

Park, J. H., Gabbadon, N. G., & Chernin, A. R. (2006). Naturalizing Racial Differences Through Comedy: Asian, Black, and White Views on Racial Stereotypes in Rush Hour 2. Journal of Communication, 56(1), 157–177. DOI:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00008.x.

Statistics Solutions. (2020). Common Statistical Formulas. Retrieved from https://www.statisticssolutions.com/common-statistical-formulas/​.

Sun, W., & Starosta, W. J. (2006). Perceptions of Minority Invisibility Among Asian American Professionals. ​Howard Journal of Communications, 17​(2), 119–142. DOI:10.1080/10646170600656870.

Survivor​ Wiki. (2019). Asian-American Contestants. Retrieved from https://survivor.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Asian-American_Contestants​.

Taylor, C. R., Landreth, S., & Bang, H.-K. (2005). Asian Americans in Magazine Advertising: Portrayals of the "Model Minority." ​Journal of Macromarketing, 25(​2), 163–174. DOI:10.1177/0276146705280634.

Taylor, C. R., & Stern, B. B. (1997). Asian-Americans: Television Advertising and the "Model Minority" Stereotype. ​Journal of Advertising​, ​26​(2), 47–61. DOI:10.1080/00913367.1997.10673522.

Wilson, C., Robinson, T., & Callister, M. (2012). Surviving Survivor: A Content Analysis of Antisocial Behavior and Its Context in a Popular Reality Television Show. ​Mass Communication and Society, 15(​2), 261–283. DOI:10.1080/15205436.2011.567346.

Zamboni, J. (2019). The Advantages of a Large Sample Size. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/advantages-large-sample-size-7210190.html​.

Zhang, Q. (2010). Asian Americans Beyond the Model Minority Stereotype: The Nerdy and the Left Out. ​Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 3(​1), 20–37. DOI:10.1080/17513050903428109.

Published

11-20-2020

How to Cite

Wang, E., & Morton, D. (2020). Survivor, Island of the Invisible Asians: A Quantitative Analysis of Asian Representation vs. Visibility in CBS’s Hit Reality Television Program. Journal of Student Research, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v9i2.1059

Issue

Section

AP Research Articles