The world of media and communication

May 6, 2013

Is Australian TV racist?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 7:20 am

627291-neighbours

In contemporary society considerable attention has been placed on media performance in respect to multiculturalism in Australia. The social, cultural and political role the media plays in society has often been criticised in recent years, in which academics suggest performance is a key indicator to determining the significance of the media for our understandings and experiences of diversity and difference within Australian society (Dreher, T 2013). Multiculturalism was the central focus for week 9 which predominately focused on the key concept of a white bread media (Dreher, T 2013), which reflects the representations of ‘a stereotypical, mainstream potentially racist portrayal of ethnic minorities (Dreher, T 2013) in the Australian media.

The 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing presented statistics to show an insight into how prominent multiculturalism is in Australia (ABS 2012). The statistics suggested that over a quarter of the Australian population was born overseas accounting for 26%; in which a further 20% of families have one overseas- born parent (ABS 2012). These statistics indicate migrant’s account for a large component of the Australian population, which emphasizes multiculturalism, is an important factor when considering what content is produced in the Australian media. Does the Australian media produce a white bread media, ignoring the inclusion of ethnic groups?

In reviewing current Australian television shows, I believe to a large extent Australian media promotes white bread media. Neighbours is a show that typically has ‘white people’, in which the inclusion of an Indian family is only a recent occurrence. With the integration of cultural diversity through this television show, the producers received much criticism from fans, in which the actors received many racial remarks. Big Brother Australia is typically white Australians, in which there has not been a series with the inclusion of indigenous Australians, Indians or black individuals. With these examples in mind, I find it hard to provide examples where there is great cultural diversity in which a majority of the television shows will include one or two individuals from ethnic backgrounds just to say they are not racist.

In the seminar it was mentioned the website “Aussie Bums” which has received great criticism on social networking platforms for the exclusion of ethicnicity in their models, claiming there “all white”. One individual claims “would it be such a stretch to reflect Australia’s racial diversity in their ad campaigns” which generated a lot of attention online. Thus, this is promoting a white bread media on the foundation that it provides stereotypes within Australia.

In my opinion ethnic representation in Australian media is under-valued and under-represented. As a country that thrives on multiculturalism it is not widely conveyed in the media, which presents a significant issue. Australia has a far way to go developing strategies to incorporate diversity in the media.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012,  ‘Reflecting a nation: stories from the 2011 census, 2012-2013’, accessed 6/5/13, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2071.0main+features902012-2013

Dreher, T (forthcoming 2014) ‘White Bread Media’ in The Media and Communications in Australia eds. S Cunningham and S Turnbull, Allen and Unwin

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