Is the Rachael Ray Show Rachael Raycist?Posted on by Rebecca Kelley (Rebecca)
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For some indiscernible reason, a lot of people like Rachael Ray. Maybe it's her Joker grin or her abrasive long-haul trucker voice, but either way, the Food Network chef, author, and talk show host has plenty of fans. Her daytime talk show (appropriately titled "Rachael Ray"), however, has been under some scrutiny lately. First there's this ridiculous dress code requiring members of her audience to look like a Banana Republic mannequin, and now a complaint has surfaced that the show might be racist.
Let's examine the dress code first. One blogger tried to get tickets to a taping but balked when she saw the incredibly stringent requirements. In addition to the somewhat rude instructions on how to obtain a ticket (only submit ONE request, repeat audience members will be denied admittance, a ticket does not guarantee your spot because they distribute more tickets than there are available seats), the show's dress code rules are stricter than a school's:
Please Do Not Wear: Shorts, capri/gaucho pants, tank tops, t-shirts, ripped jeans, flip flops, sequins, hats, very busy patterns, white or primarily white/off-white/light pink tops or shirts, jogging suits or velour. You'll look your best wearing solid, jewel-toned colors (deep blues, reds, greens, etc.). We have the right to deny anyone who does not follow guidelines.
Come on, Rachael Ray, a high-class gourmet chef you ain't. You have a recipe called "why the chicken crossed the road Santa Fe-tastic tortilla soup" that only someone in sequins, busy patterns and velour would make. Your audience isn't dining at Le Bernardin, they're watching you interview Guy Fieri and argue over who's the more obnoxious Food Network host.
Ugh, you win, Guy.
As if the inexplicably strict dress code isn't enough, a reddit user posted her experiences of segregation during a Rachael Ray taping. While she and other audience members were corralled into the studio, she realized that instead of being seated in the order they were waiting in line, producers were rearranging them. Younger, pretty white blondes sat in the front, the older white (but still somewhat attractive) crowd sat in the middle, and the remaining group was forced to slum it in the back. The last group comprised of "the only 2 black people in the room, a group of Asians, several women who were a bit more on the extreme side of being overweight, and [the submitter's] group," of which 3/4ths were wearing the hijab. She did note that "later on, when they did the question segment, they asked one of the Asian girls in the last row to ask a question...[and] for the questions segment, they actually put her in a seat closer to the front, and after that was over, they sat her in the back again."
The submitter's mom, a huge Rachael Ray fan, was "completely heartbroken" by the blatant segregation. To make matters worse, when Rachael Ray came out, she "constantly remarked how beautiful the audience was," although I'm assuming she was only referring to the group of Aryan goddesses seated front and center and not the minorities who were tucked in the back corners.
Someone in the Reddit thread commented, saying he works in television and that while it's common to sort the audience and have the show's target demographic sit up front, he's never seen an instance where the group was sorted by race. I've never met a young white person who adores Rachael Ray, so methinks her audience sorting is more wishful thinking instead of a true reflection of who her biggest fans are. If she were going for accuracy, I'd assume the front row would consist of middle-aged housewives, not rail-thin 20-year old blondes.
What do you think, was the sorting an unfortunate coincidence or is the Rachael show a wee bit racist?
Is the Rachael Ray show racist in how it seats its audience?
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