“Survivor” has seen its fair share of cultural and racial conversations brought to the forefront in recent seasons. Last night, the first real discussion of racial identity and subconscious biases on “Survivor 42” took place in episode 9, when black contestants Drea Wheeler and Maryanne Oketch boldly vocalized their fears of this season becoming yet another example of several black people being elimination in quick succession.
Although talk of race and cultural identity on the show has caused some discomfort to a (largely white) portion of the show’s fanbase, Maryanne and Drea have taken to social media to clarify their opinions on the matter and address the audience about everything that went down.
Here’s what you need to know:
Maryanne Praises ‘Allyship’ Shown by Lindsay & Tori
In an Instagram post shortly after the episode aired, Maryanne posted an image of herself, Drea, Jonathan Young, Lindsay Dolashewich, and Tori Meehan at Tribal, which includes a memorable shot of Drea cuddling with Jonathan. In the caption, she reiterated her points about how “Survivor,” at its core, is a social game, and hence a “microcosm of society.” “We all bring parts of our outside life into the game,” she said, “and it affects the way that we may navigate scenarios that occur.”
She went on to praise the “allyship” shown by Lindsay and Tori, which she described as “so powerful, as they had every right to fight for their safety in the game once both idols were played, but instead, they chose to take a step back to actively listen to where I was coming from.”
“I have so much love for everyone at that tribal,” she concluded, “and I am so thankful that I was able to speak about something that I wish I heard when I was just a fan watching the show that I love.”
She followed this post up with a tweet saying that the support she has received from the fanbase regarding the episode has been “overwhelming.” “THANK YOU so much for paving the way for me,” she told her followers.
Drea & Lindsay Stress Importance of Empathy Among Viewers & Cast
Though she did not address the conversation held at last night’s Tribal specifically, Drea tweeted a message Thursday morning pleading with fans to be kind to her fellow contestants, despite the strong feelings they may hold. “I respect everyone’s thoughts and opinions,” she wrote. “All I ask is that you respect my fellow [‘Survivor 42’] family. Be kind.”
A week earlier, Drea posted a picture of herself and Lindsay on the island on both her Twitter and Instagram, captioning it: “These moments are the ones I cherish the most on Island … this is so much fun, ALL OF IT.” Chanelle Howell, who wasn’t directly involved in the conversation but was very engaged in the conversation nonetheless from the jury bench, also said recently that she was rooting for Lindsay to win the game.
For her part, Lindsay also weighed in on the discussion that the audience got to see last night, posting the same picture Thursday afternoon that Maryanne did. On Instagram, she wrote:
Survivor is a game – yes. But Survivor has also historically been able to prove this social experiment is a microcosm of society. This is a major factor of why this game is so iconic.
Drea and Maryanne spoke beautifully about a very real issue that unfortunately still happens today. Equality should be a right, not a privilege.
I hope everyone watching was able to hear the truths of what still goes on today. We can use more compassion and empathy in this world 🧡
“Survivor 42” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The three-hour finale will air Wednesday, May 25, 2022.