That's When Good Neighbours... Are Always White

Television is failing to adequately depict ethnic minorities and cultural diversity, according to a report by the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips. Australian soap Neighbours was specifically criticised for being all white. In fact, in more than twenty years, the soap has never had any non-caucasian faces in its regular cast. Funny that, given Australia is supposedly a multicultural country. The show's executive producer has hit back, pointing out that, "Our core cast are from diverse ethnic backgrounds including French, Italian, [white] South African, [white] Maltese, Danish, [white] Portuguese and Swedish." No Australian Aborigines, then? Any Asians, maybe? You know, that lot from all of the nations surrounding the stolen continent? How about some Afro-Carribeans? Nah. Not in Aussieland. On the lack of diversity, Phillips had this to say: "Most ethnic minority participants felt the media had a responsibility to reflect Britain’s diversity across all genres and was failing to do so in three main ways: by relying on tokenistic and stereotyped representation of characters; by representing extreme and exaggerated characters; and by failing to reflect the realities of contemporary ethnic minority culture. All these shortcomings were attributed to some extent to the perceived lack of a representative power base within UK media."

5 comments:

just_jack_20 said...

I found your blog on the representation of ethnic minorities on television an interesting read. In many ways i agree that the media needs to represent the realistic and unstereotypical dimension to those from minority cultures. But, at the same time, why should we? If we are all up for racial equality then we shouldnt be forcing black characters into television programmes due to the fact that they are black? I know for a fact that in African television, as most of my friends are black, there are

ka-os said...

The last part of your comment got cut off. The point of my blog is that - and the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission - is that television in general is too white, overlooking everyone else. TV shows like Neighbours SHOULD have non-white characters, since it specifically is an urban-based drama in a multicultural country. It's lack of non-white characters is indicative of that country's inherent racism.

You say "we" in your comment, referring to the media, does that mean you're in that industry. You also identify as middle-eastern on your page; well, are you happy with the representation of middle-easterners on television and in film, and in the way middle-eastern related stories are reported in the media?

just_jack_20 said...

Enforcing ideological fantasies onto our media may make people feel agitated and aggressive, more likely to turn racist as they feel they are being imposed on. I dont like the representation of middle-eastern people in the media, but i don't think that white people would like their representation in the middle east. I think as foreigners we should be greatful, in african television everyone is black, in middle eastern television everyone is middle eastern. We should stop trying to focus on perfeecting our society in areas which are not the cause of problems, but the symptoms of it. To fight racism we need a more pro-active approach; involving ethnic minorities in community projects etc. Imposing equality never works and never will. I dont work for the media im 17 lol

ka-os said...

But surely you don't think we should accept the status quo? That's like saying "white is right" and everyone else should learn to fit in. Doesn't excluding non-white faces (or worse still, perpetuating stereotypes) from the media merely distort the average person's perception of reality? And I don't believe someone can suddenly "become" racist, they either are or they aren't. ...You make it sound like equality is a reward "ethnic minorities" should strive for. And the media isn't just a symptom of of society's ills, it influences it. The world view depicted in the news et cetera is accepted as reality by Joe Public, rather than a skewed snapshot dictated by someone's agenda. Look at how the Evening Standard was instrumental in unseating Ken Livingstone and installing Boris Johnson...

just_jack_20 said...

First of all behind every stereotype there is an element of truth; maybe there are some of us in society who find it hard to deal with this. Life isn't perfect. We are not all equal, thugh i do not doubt that we should be treated equally. Alot of the stereotypes you see are true and alot of them are not; but they reflect a general opinion based on a certain race which is in itself, based on the analyis of what we see and hear. Stereotypes keep us safe more times than granted for. Everyone wants to be the voice for the voiceless who are misinterpreted but nobody, apart from perhaps the media at times, wants to portray the effect that stereotypical minorities have on other races. I feel the media more reflects the condition of society then determine it, everything is produced to a demand in the market. these are the days when we wish to fight for unrealistic but romantic cause, when ironically, we're more likely to reach that sense of peace through facing facts. A man can be prepared to question why police stop more black teenagers than white teenagers, but isnt prepared to question why there are more black teenagers involved in stabbings than white. I think because you are not a stereotype, even within you're own minority, your perspective on the use of stereotypes is biased...

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