Cook Islands Reunion

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Remember When Everyone Wasn't Dumb That One Time?

Fortunately, this leads Jeff to return to Yul, to ask the question of whether the division based on race was a good idea in the first place. "Honestly, when I first heard about it, the first thing I thought to myself was, 'I've made a huge mistake,'" says Yul. He basically says that getting involved in something that might ultimately feed stereotypes was pretty much a total nightmare from his perspective, what with his being...sane and everything. He goes on to say that even though it started out so stupid, it wound up relatively well, and he thinks that the progress of the season demonstrated that who your friends are doesn't depend on what race you are. He points out that the members of Aitu bonded because of who they were as individuals, and he says he kind of hopes that, in some way, they made something positive out of it. I think the real answer to this question for him, and probably for many of the rest of them, is the same answer I would give, which is that the idea behind it was gruesomely cynical, but that because individual identity often tends to beat out cultural identity in an artificial small-group setting (as opposed to in a larger society, where the dynamics are completely different), it didn't turn out nearly as badly as it easily could have. Remember: if Jonathan hadn't flipped, you might well have wound up looking at a final four made up of all the white people minus the "alternative" girl they disposed of. What does that conversation look like?

Cao Boi tries to jump in here, but Jeff waves him off and moves on to Nate, to ask about the fact that, apparently, Stephannie and Rebecca got after him for not representing or looking after "the group." Which, in this case, of course, meant the African-American team. Nate claims that he was "called a race traitor," which I'd like to think didn't literally happen, but is what he feels like he was accused of. He says that, for him, the game pretty much required ignoring the race issue and going with whatever strategy would help him win. Stephannie essentially says that she trusted Nate more, and that she expected more from Nate, because they were both African-American. Rebecca's response is a little different, in that she says she expected more support from Nate because of the bond they had personally. This is a fine line, of course, but Rebecca specifically says that it wasn't a race issue; it was the same kind of personal "I thought we had an understanding" kind of stuff that you get every season. How you would separate those two things and know for sure what you're responding to in either direction, I honestly don't know.

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