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September 2, 2015

Big Brother 8's Amber speaks out on anti-Semitic rant

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Sep 22nd 2007 2:05PM
Amber from Big Brother 8After being in the Big Brother 8 house all summer for a reality television show, it's time for Amber Siyavus (also known as Amber Tomcalvage) to face the realities of her words and actions during that time.

While I didn't get a chance to talk to Amber myself -- probably a good thing -- our friends over at Buddy TV asked her some of the tough questions show fans had in mind in an exclusive interview. I suggest you check out the entire interview, but I want to touch on one of the questions and her answers while adding my two cents in here.

The single most nagging issue, and perhaps most controversial one, concerns Amber's anti-Semitic remarks while in the house. Now, if you recall, she said (paraphrasing) that New York is full of "greedy and selfish Jews" and she can always pick a Jewish person out by his nose and name. Not only that, but she didn't like them. I saw that conversation play out live on the feeds. She indeed said it and she said it in the manner in which it comes across -- prejudiced and rude.

In the last page of the Buddy TV interview, Amber herself said she wanted to address the anti-Semitic comments. Did she apologize? Nope, not really. She said, and I quote: "... I was talking to Jameka and I made that comment, it came from a bad place."

You bet it did! What Amber doesn't seem to understand is that the "bad place" is inside of her. And, following that reasoning, it doesn't matter her moods or whatever, the thought was something from within her, "bad place" or not. It aired over the live feeds and is caught on YouTube for eternity, or however long the current technology lasts. I realize that many folks have those "bad places" within them, but when you're exposed for the world to see -- well, it tends to make you look not only prejudiced, but a bit stupid to even say such a thing, as well.

Here are a few more of her comments on the anti-Semitic remarks and my take on them:
  • "... the words I should've used, money-making and hard working, and goal-oriented instead of saying selfish and money-hungry, I didn't mean those in rude ways."
Say what? Don't you get it, Amber? Whenever you lump a group of folks together as a whole and speak of traits on a whole, you're being ignorant and tossing about stereotypes which aren't necessarily true! What is awry in your thought process? Sugar-coating a blanket statement doesn't make it less prejudicial. I'm from the NYC area and truly live in diversity. People are people, no matter the area or religion, whatever. Some work hard, some don't. Some folks think about making money, some don't. We're talking human nature here. Folks in the New York City area and Jewish people are just like everyone else in the world -- so diverse that you just can't make blanket statements without coming across as ignorant! Sheesh!
  • "It's not me to sit around and criticize people, I'm not prejudiced, I love everybody."
Give me a break, Amber. You sat around and criticized your fellow housemates in the house all season, for one thing. Whether from "a bad place" or not, you made the comments you made for the world to see and hear. They had to come from within to emerge from your mouth. Folks don't just say what you did unless it's originally from within. You love everybody? I certainly don't. However, I make my decisions on a person-by-person basis as each individual is unique. Again, a sugar-coated blanket statement. That will make your bed very nasty for sleeping in, eh?
  • "Again, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, I can't tell you that enough."
I'm sure you are, Amber. I'd say it might be a wake-up call, but until you admit that it's quite possible you're ignorant of the world and its peoples, and that you plan on working to improve your understanding of folks from all walks (and I mean ALL walks) of life ... until you admit it was a prejudicial comment ... your apologies mean nothing.

Now you see why I wouldn't be a great interviewer, eh? But she side-stepped and sugar-coated the whole thing instead of just coming out and saying "I was wrong to say that. It was a prejudicial remark. I apologize to all I offended and will work on dealing with my personal biases which obviously do exist within me."

That's all she need say.

Do you think Amber is really prejudiced against Jewish people?
Yes936 (77.5%)
No108 (8.9%)
Amber who?163 (13.5%)

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Is everyone forgetting what jessika said also.Jessika made a remark calling jamimeka a little color girl.She also said she did not know that was wronge.

October 20 2007 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, William, William, William. You are a simple-minded idiot! Enough said.

September 25 2007 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jackie - you managed to say in your article what I blundered over in my blog about Amber's BuddyTV interview. Well done! At the very least, CBS should have done a better job at debriefing Amber and her family AND perhaps offered to hook her up with a publicist to help Amber understand the impact of any future dealings she has with the media.

I want to address William's comment. William, do you realize your comment makes a blanket statement about Americans, which is mimics the same thing Amber did with her anti-semitic comments? You may want to think on that.

And finally, Dick was referred to as "Richard" by his mother in interviews. I think Dick also told the HGs that his mother was the only one who ever called him Richard (and still does). So, William, if your intention to call Dick "Richard" was out of respect to his mother, then that's fine. But to call him Richard and vilify his actions within the realm of the game is a bit hypocritical, don't you think? Because on one hand, by calling him Richard you're giving him some kind of respect-by-extension (if you will), yet you expect him to apologize for simply being who he is.

To all the "Dick" haters out there, I have 2 things to say: If he offended you so much, why didn't you simply change channels? And secondly, why must we, as a viewing audience, thrust the mantel of "role model" on every TV character that comes down the pike? If I were a parent, I wouldn't want my children to look to TV to find role models. Hopefully, I'd steer them in the direction of academics, literature, athletics, science, engineering and everyday people who do extraordinary things.

Thus, another two farthings have been cast into the caldrun. *Ka-ching, Ka-ching*


September 25 2007 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't care what this little meth fiend says, she is what she is ;a true dope head without a brian cell left in her wooden head. I feel sorry for her dauhgter who will grow up to be like her Mom, a dumba** little redneck with a drug problem of her won no doubt! Oh gee, was that a prejudged remark? You bet it was! I call 'em as I see 'em Amber just like you!

September 24 2007 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ex-NYer and Current Jew here. I believe that a silver lining of Amber's insensitive remarks is that she exposes the hidden Anti-Semistism that still very much exists in many parts of America, especially outside of big cities. She just voiced what many, many others think.

On a semi-related note: I wonder how Eric will fare when he moves to Kansas... ROFL.

September 23 2007 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larissa Williams

Chester, you're so right. Don't let the opinions of someone so ignorant affect you, people. I could see freaking if someone that's respected by society got caught muttering those infamous words, but for someone that doesn't even know what 'backdoor' means (and she's ON BIG BROTHER!) it's just ridiculous for us to get so worked up.

Oh, & Amber, if you're reading this:

muttering= spoken words
infamous= bad stuff made well known
ridiculous = silly


September 23 2007 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amber is a former tweeker....her brain is fried.
Just recall all of the every day words she was clueless about.
Consider the source when you consider her remarks and just move on, there's plenty more train wrecks to watch.
How can I be so sure...well there's more reality tv to view.

September 23 2007 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My dad's Jewish and he's the farthest thing from money-oriented! So am I and to use Amber's words "I haven't decided if I'm selfish, money making, or goal oriented yet, excuse me" EVERYBODY'S his own person.
Loved ur blog Jackie, thanks for a great season!

September 23 2007 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very well put Jackie! I so enjoyed reading all your blogs. Thank you again.

September 23 2007 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Side Show Bob!

Talk about Dick all you want and how awful he was and all the other descriptions that have been used to describe him, one absolute fact about him, and that is, or was in this case, he was the same way throughout the WHOLE season and that was his game plan. People say, "The houseguests were "terrorized" by his demeanor"., That's a "crock"! There was ample times and opportunities to shut him up and they didn't! You had an ex football player in the house, surely HE could've knocked him on his ass, and don't hand me that BS about the jock and the daughter were smitten with each other and that's why Nick didn't want to step in,B/S!!! Look at the size of Zach, HE could've used that to shut Dick up, but NO, he also was TERRORIZED!, that BS too! As far as Amber, there isn't enough space on this page to describe that USELESS BAG OF MONKEY NUTS!!! Her comments about the jews were WAAAAYYY out of line but when you recieve your thoughts from ANOTHER PLANET you have your own alien language to help interpret them.

September 23 2007 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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