Is racism responsible for Candice and Howard being evicted back to back?

The answer, in short, is “yes”.  

What is beyond dispute is that the most powerful players in the game during the last two weeks are overtly racist.   Aaryn and Ginamarie, the two Heads of Household, and Amanda, who has been “running the house” these last two weeks, have all demonstrated overt racism while in the house.  

What should be beyond dispute (but upsets the apologists for racism) is the connection between the empowerment of racists, and the eviction of the two black houseguests.    During Aaryn's first stint as HoH, she and Ginamarie (and a couple of others) were pretty free with their bigoted comments.   The rest of the house was silent about it.  That is, until the racism began to draw national media attention.

This was creating bad publicity for CBS.   The result:  a number of “conversations” among various houseguests deploring racism that seemed completely staged for the cameras (and were obviously heavily influenced by the producers of Big Brother through their Diary Room interactions with the houseguests.)

 But a funny thing happened on the way to a “just and free society” in the Big Brother house.   First, Kaitlyn (part of the Mean Girls with Aaryn and Ginamarie, but not a major source of bigoted speech) was seen  as someone who was doing well at the competitions, and thus was perceived as a greater threat than Aaryn to the game of the power players in the house.    (Until that point, Aaryn had been targeted for eviction, and her racism was very much a part of why she was the target.)   Concerns about racism were put aside when Aaryn started “playing nice,” and was seen as “less of a threat” than Kaitlyn.

After Kaitlyn's eviction, Aaryn, and then Ginamarie, won back to back HoH's.  The moment each of them won, almost the entire house trooped up to swear to how much they liked and respected the two women (Elissa, Howard, and Candice were the only houseguests who did not prostrate themselves before these racists immediately after their victories.)   The concerns of the houseguests about racist comments evaporated the moment the two most prominent racists were empowered.

The Targeting of Candice

From the very first week, Candice was seen as a good candidate for eviction, despite her relatively low profile and overall amiability.   Candice was targeted because she (and Jessie) were perceived as utterly expendable “outsiders” with whom no one else had formed close bonds.   Part of this “outsider” status is clearly a result of racism among many of the other houseguests, especially women such as Amanda, Aaryn and Ginamarie.    (And it was during this period – with Jessie on the block with Candice – that Jessie began to be included by Aaryn and Ginamarie in their little clique.)    Candice was being isolated, and racism was playing a significant role in that isolation.

What saved Candice those first weeks was the suspicion (and subsequent admission) that Elissa was the sister of former Big Brother winner Rachel Reilly.   When Elissa won the first MVP vote, she became the primary target of the house.   McCrae “used the veto” on Candice, and nominated Elissa in her place.  

(It's highly likely that the decision to save Candice  rather than Jessie was influenced by the producers of Big Brother.   While no black contestants have ever won Big Brother, three or four black or biracial players were the first to be evicted in the previous 14 seasons.   And in the previous season, the only black player was summarily evicted on the first day of competitions.     Given the amount of manipulation of the houseguests in the “Diary Room,” McCrae could easily have been influenced by a “question” like “Why do you think so many black players have been the first evictees in the previous season?”)

Candice never recovered from her first week nomination, and, except for the period when most of the house was actively deploring racism, she was always the “outsider”.    When Aaryn first won HoH, she targeted Candice (the black woman,) Andy (the gay guy,) Helen (the Asian woman) and Elissa (who was “everyone's target” because of her relation to Rachel Reilly) for “have not” status.  Candice was also assumed to be Aaryn's “replacement” choice if either Elissa or Helen (her nominees for eviction) had gotten themselves off the block.   

After Aaryn's first HoH was over, an "alliance" of sorts between Candice and Helen was created.  But Candice's “alliance” with Helen lasted only as long as the racists stayed out of power.  When Aaryn won her second HoH, Helen “threw Candice under the bus,” agreeing to Candice being the “replacement nominee,” while telling Aaryn and others gathered in the HoH room that she “had to be able to tell Candice” that she'd tried.

Howard and the Black Threat

One of the most remarkable aspects of the racism in this year's Big Brother house is the perception of the black houseguests as “threatening” and “dangerous”.  Candice and Howard were two of the least aggressive, and least competent players ever in the Big Brother house.   Neither seemed capable of doing well in competitions, let alone winning them (Howard was so incompetent that he couldn't even throw a “have nots” competition properly.)    And Howard admitted on camera that he wanted to be a more aggressive (“like Jeremy”) player, but the producers told him to be the humble “man of God” type.   Both were classic “floaters” – the kind of players that stay in the game for a long time as the more aggressive players target each other.

And while evidence of disloyalty was usually forgiven by the house's most powerful players, when it came to Howard and Candice, perceived disloyalty was a capital offense.

Howard's case is the most obvious.   One of the original members of the “Moving Company,” a first day alliance between four of the house's five “men with abs” (McCrae was added when he won the first HoH,) Howard remained loyal to that alliance while others jumped ship – and kept him out of the loop while doing so.  Howard's loyalty to his alliance should have been seen as a net plus for him once the alliance self-destructed.   Loyalty is a very hard thing to come by in the Big Brother house, and an ally who is wholly dependable is something that every player usually wants.   But Howard's refusal to “give up” his alliance to Helen was seen as a sign of disloyalty by Helen, and despite their prior friendship based on their common exercise regimens, Helen was completely comfortable with Howard being targeted.