‘White bread media’
This week we explored the concept, ‘white bread media’ and the Australian media’s Anglo-centric ways. In the past few years, it is an issue that has been brought to the forefront by prominent culturally diverse Australian actors. Award winning actor Firass Dirani comments, “major networks did not create roles for people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds.” This is a sentiment that is held by many – the media and the public alike. Journalist Paul Kalina explores the notion that it is not only television that’s affected by ‘whitewashing’ – the advertising industry is also guilty for misrepresenting Australia’s culturally diverse population.
It should be noted that as with every rule, there is an exception. Actors from a multi-cultural background can look forward to being cast in “stereotypical, caricatured’ roles. Many of the roles available to them portray them in a negative light as some sort of criminal. It is in stark contrast to the respected roles in society being cast to an anglo-saxon. This is unfairly creating negative sterotypes in viewers minds.
Tanja Dreher offers an examples of a television programs that represent multi-culturalism – Salam Cafe and also points out that SBS is the only channel in the world that airs programs in different languages to cater for various cultures and nationalities. Salam cafe offers an insight into the Muslim community in a humorous manner. Dreher explains that this is an effective tactic to break down current stereotypes held by the majority of the Australian public.
Melissa Phillips raises another important issue, “What I think is offensive is that even today mainstream television hardly reflects Australia’s true diversity. Outcries from actors within the industry need to be matched by outrage from viewers.” She claims that it is not enough the industry itself is aware of the issue, but the public need to understand that the media are not accurately portraying the Australian cultural landscape and that in itself is an injustice to our nation.
Phillips, M 2012, ‘All-white Australian television fails the reality test’, http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/allwhite-australian-television-fails-the-reality-test-20120217-1tdbo.html#ixzz2SqYcAqCK
Dreher, T, (forthcoming 2014), ‘White Bread Media’ in the Media and Communications in Australia eds. S Cunningham and S Turnbull, Allen and Unwin
Kalina, P 2012, ‘Diversity still out of the picture’, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/diversity-still-out-of-the-picture-20120229-1u1jg.html