In Season 31 of The Real World: Go Big or Go Home, like other Real World seasons, the themes of the series of episodes center around topics that are affected young people in their actual realities. At the time that Go Big Or Go Home was filmed, amidst the discussions of race, police brutality, racism, and #BLM, and the show definitely reflected it. Specifically, the topic of race was negotiated between two cast members. One, was a small blonde woman named Jenna, who hailed from the south and made it known in her confessionals that she was conservative. Opposite her was Ceejai, a black woman hailing from a tough background (her dad killed her mom, and when the police arrived they killed her dad on sight). Over the course of multiple episodes from the season, Jenna makes racially insensitive comments. But the one episode in particular that brings into questions not only the racially motivated actions and words of Jenna, but also the racial bias of the producers, comes a little over midway through the season. In the episode, Jenna gets drunk and decides she wants to fight Ceejai. She attacks Ceejai, though she unable to do very much damage. As soon as Ceejai begins to defend herself, producers move in and grab her to take her off and away from Jenna. This is an interesting moment for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the fact that Ceejai was perceived as the threat in the fight even though she did not attack Jenna or initiate the altercation. Secondly, the fact that after this, Jenna did not go home. Later in the season, when Ceejai has had enough of Jenna’s racism, she fights Jenna. Immediately following the altercation, Ceejai is sent home. It seems that this reflects back not only on Jenna, but on the MTV producers who allowed Jenna to toy with Ceejai, even fight her, without leaving the house. The way that they perceived Ceejai to always be the threatening party also speaks to a misunderstanding of the anger that an black woman may express and experience (and that she would justified in such feelings).
Melissa McDougallIntersectionality, TV