Survivor, Colton Cumbie, and the World's Perception of America's Racist Snobbery

March 8, 2012 by  

It was a disturbing reverberation from the dark attitudes of the early 1960s. On CBS’s long-running show “Survivor”, a contestant by the name of Colton Cumbie stood up at “tribal council” to let us all know that there remains a southern U.S. sub-population of people who think that their genetics and their inherited wealth make them better than those who work hard to pursue their happiness.

Let me explain the context, for those who haven’t watched Survivor. In Survivor, contestants are added to one of two teams. The two teams compete in various athletic or intellectual tasks. In some tasks, the winning team wins “immunity” from “tribal council”, which occurs once per episode. The team attending tribal council votes-off one of their number, weakening their team. Eventually, the teams merge, making all contestants teamless. The contestants then compete for “individual immunity”. One person survives the votes at the remaining tribal councils to win the million dollar final prize.

In this season of Survivor, contestants were initially grouped into a women’s team, and a men’s team. Tonight, the men’s team won the immunity challenge, which should have spared them from attending tribal council. Instead, Colton – a gay Alabama “white” man of inherited or family wealth who inexplicably has a hate on for Bill Posley, a “black” comedian – agitated to have the men voluntarily attend tribal council instead of the women. He wanted Bill voted out of the game so badly that he was willing to weaken his own team’s chances of winning.

In past episodes this season, Colton has quietly approached the women’s team, expressing a loyalty to the women and a disloyalty to the men. It didn’t take long for the women to snub Colton. Seeing that his attempts to chum up with the women were failing, he began working mischief within the men’s team.

For whatever reason, the men have since come to see Colton as someone who should be followed lest they personally be targeted for expulsion. As a result, another male player named Tarzan agitated for the men to follow Colton’s proposal and go voluntarily to tribal council instead of the women (Tarzan wanted to vote-off yet another player, ironically for having been disloyal to the men’s team…it apparently didn’t strike Tarzan as obvious that voluntarily submitting the men’s team to tribal council was itself an act of disloyalty to the men’s team). The women, understandably, were amazed at the stupidity of the men’s team, but were only too happy to let them commit suicide.

At the tribal council, host Jeff Probst – astounded at the first-time-ever stupidity of a team voluntarily attending tribal council after winning immunity – asked Colton if there was someone on the men’s team that he did not like. Probst got the answer he expected: Bill. Probst asked why. Colton replied something to the effect of “Comedian? Get a real job” and “Have a plan B”. He was happy to see Bill’s “broke ass” sent home. Probst asked Colton the question that needed to be asked: whether or not Colton knew any “black” people. Yes, Colton replied: his family’s house servant. He said this with a proud smile and a bit of a laugh, indicating he knew the implication of his statement. He then offered lamely that the servant was like family. Tarzan cringed…yet somehow had the gall to simultaneously reject racism and…defend Colton’s statements. It was unbelievable (NOTE: just some of Colton’s and Bill’s tribal council exchange can be viewed here).

Now, look. I don’t, know either of these men – Bill and Colton – personally. I understand that show editors can spice things up by dropping inches of film that provide context. But I find it very hard to believe – given the utter malice and contempt in Colton’s words about Bill – to believe that Colton’s absolutely disgusting appearance on the show tonight was the result of mischievous editing.

A man like Bill who says he works hard to pursue his values – who, for example, pursues his happiness through efforts to build a career in comedy – is not for that reason rightly ridiculed. To the contrary, Bill – who says he comes from a poor family – should be admired for pursuing his own happiness by rational means.

I don’t care whether one is a bland mainstream heterosexual male, or an over-the-top flamboyant gay man. Neither is an excuse for being a repulsive racist.

Colton Cumbie: even though your views are shared by a tiny minority of stuck-up, snobby, lazy, pretentious racists in America, you are everything that the world rightly hates about your country. You unjustly lower the United States of America. You lower men. You lower people who look like you. You lower homosexuals. Your country’s people, of all genetic make-ups, professions, and incomes, not only are better than you: they deserve better than you. And so does Survivor. You shame your country, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Here’s hoping you get voted off at the next tribal council, you destructive, worthless, cancerous, weasel.


9 Responses to “Survivor, Colton Cumbie, and the World's Perception of America's Racist Snobbery”

  1. Alan on March 8th, 2012 6:16 am

    “You unjustly lower the United States of America. You lower men. You lower people who look like you. You lower homosexuals…you shame your country…”
    No, Colton Crumbie shames Colton Crumbie. He “lowers” no one else, only gives us his own measure, by his own statements and behavior. Those who judge and behave rationally do not judge other individuals by their affiliations, gender orientation, skin color, or nationality. Those who do would be the Colton Crumbies of the world. They can have their crummy little world.

  2. Paul McKeever on March 8th, 2012 1:28 pm

    Alan: understood. And, if you regularly read my blog, you know that I’m no collectivist. However, Colton’s not living in a rational society, and though neither you nor I believe that his own beliefs and conduct should be the means by which we judge his neighbours, one doesn’t get to be like that without living in a community that harbours the same ill philosophy as Colton.

    If one is sitting at a table of men, when one of them pipes up with a load of misogyny, the silence of the other men indicts them all. If a self-styled libertarian “freedom advocate” says somewhere on the internet that he thinks there’s nothing wrong with adults having sex with children, the silence of actual freedom advocates indicts them also. When a local imam famously says that all Jews are fair targets for murder, or when terrorists blow something up in the name of Allah, the silence of local Muslims indicts them all. Nobody – not the men at the table, not the real freedom advocate, and not muslims, should ever be put in situation where they have to speak up lest they be so indicted. The misogynist, the pedophile, the terrorist, and the Colton, nonetheless put their peers into a situation where they suddenly must take time to condemn the words or actions of the misogynist, the pedophile, the terrorist, and the Colton. But the damage is done, and the protestations of far too few of Colton’s neighbours and peers will ever be heard. Having an unusual opportunity to blast his message to millions, he has damaged the public’s impression of the people of his town, and there is little most of those people can do to effectively, publicly, condemn Colton. The effect: Colton has shamed them.

  3. ressie on March 8th, 2012 3:53 pm

    I’ve been a fan of survivor but this last one for some reason, i had very little interest. to watch it . I manage to catch some of it last night . I did not really like COlton to begin with maybe its the attitude or the way he behaves to the others . I was shocked in the tribal council by what i saw and at this present time for a young person like him to have such a character. I do hope the other guys will eventually kick him out as he doesnt deserve to be on tv anymore and i am pretty sure a lot of viewers were disgusted with him. If its just acting for his part, he sure does a very good job at it.

  4. Ted on March 8th, 2012 4:43 pm

    Not only is he racist and an elitist but he also disparaged little people ” Send that munchkin back to oz” and he makes fun of fate people. his most recent tweet about last nights episode was “Of course the fat kid gets excited about donuts! #Survivor”

  5. Stacy on March 8th, 2012 5:48 pm

    I totally agree with you Paul. It was so hard to watch; I was so disgusted. I found myself yelling at the TV. I was hoping the rest of the tribe was going to stand up and tell Colton he was out of line and should be voted off, yet they stood by him. It makes me sick they they call him their leader. If they continue then it’s suffice to say they agree with his repulsive racist views, right? Here’s hoping the rest of the tribe makes me proud next week and votes Colton off! What a waste of a human life…

  6. Roger on March 9th, 2012 3:49 am

    There was another older person in the team who yelled and used profanity then ended the sentence something like “we have a black president”.

    I hope Colton will be voted out otherwise the show is going to get ugly since the women’s team include black woman.

    The show was taped so why CBS broadcasted? Ratings? Remind us the past?

  7. Victor on March 10th, 2012 11:34 am


    Colton = shifty, spoiled, intolerant, self indulgent , ugly, shallow, cowardly, narcissistic, narrow-minded , repulsive, ignorant, immoral, slimy

    Bill = Integrity. What a great guy.

    I am disgusted. Horrified actually, that the trash that was coming out of that human garbage disposal was accepted as entertainment. Disgusting!

    I am so disappointed with the producers for allowing this. I know, it sounds idealistic but come on….seriously where are the boundaries?

  8. George L. Tirebiter on March 15th, 2012 6:11 pm

    I didn’t think it was possible to dislike another human being more than Rush Limbaugh. I was wrong.

  9. Katelyn L. on March 28th, 2012 6:14 am

    Hey I completely agree with you about Colton and his cruelties, I was so excited to see him go home, and in my opinion Karma got it’s revenge. You would think being a gay white male in this time would make you humble and more sympathetic to others, but for this boy he is the worst of it all. He not only gives himself a bad wrap, but gays along with white males. This boy was a complete racist ass who was sexist, and very snobby. Thanks so much for expressing what most of America is feeling, appalled and pissed lol.

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