University of Pittsburgh
September 13, 2006

Director of Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems Available to Discuss Controversy Surrounding This Year's Survivor! Season


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Social scientists are among those waiting to see the first episode of the new season of Survivor! airing tonight at 8 p.m, Sept. 14, on CBS. For the first time in the show's history, the so-called "tribes" will be grouped ethnically-Black, White, Latino, and Asian.

While the casting has the makings of an interesting social science experiment, admits Larry Davis, director of Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) and dean of Pitt's School of Social Work, it also has "very risky implications."

"This kind of programming is not in the best interest of the country at a time like this. In fact, I can think of no time when it would have been in the best interest of the country," commented Davis, who is also Donald M. Henderson Professor of Social Work.

Davis has focused his academic and research interests on race, diversity, and gender and class issues. He holds the Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Michigan State University and master's and doctorate degrees in both social work and psychology from the University of Michigan. He was the first Black to graduate, in 1977, from this dual-degree program.

The CRSP looks at how race influences group relations, economic and educational disparities, mental health practices, families, and criminal justice.