Australian Mainstream Televisions, Let Us Represent Us On Our TV
It is to no one’s surprise when a study by the non-profit media diversity Australia finds that presenters, commentators and reporters on Australian television are dominantly Anglo-Celtic background (ABC News).
Although about a quarter of the Australian population is from non-European and Indigenous background, what we watch our television every day in our living room is dominantly white anglo Celtic TV presenters. From the breakfast talks about Indigenous stolen generation to diversity itself, white TV presenters will always in the frontline talking about us. We have been objectified only as a token of the first-hand interviewees from the field, and still, the issues are nonetheless in the leads of white Australian TV presenters. Not even the talks of diversity issues are appropriately ‘being represented’ in mainstream televisions.
Writing for the Guardian, Steph Harmon made it clear that it wasn’t anew fair when it came to the conversation about diversity ( The Guardian, June 2020). She got into the core of the issues by speaking to six indigenous TV industry practitioners and those of colour. Benjamin Law, TV writer and journalist, shared his thoughts of his experiences that often people of colour and Indigenous people have become accustomed to being exploited by an all-white team for the sake of revealing their stories. He added that people of colour and Indigenous people could only be feeling nothing but ‘blessed’ for being credited for the show.
But that’s the behind-the-scene, the experiences of the people of colour and Indigenous people in the TV industry. We, the viewers, could turn to non-commercial SBS channel and community TV if we want to watch those who ‘look like us’. But placing us as viewers of particular ethnic TV channel only push us aside and drift the issues further away from the Australian public. We want to be inclusive being a part of the Australian society, rather than being a part of ‘certain ethnicity group’ in the eye of the Australian viewers.
Mainstream Australian televisions, we have been watching you for decades, so when will you start listening to us? The Australian public is waiting for the better. Diversity can begin from the frontline of your presenters, newsreaders, and reporters. We don’t need to remind you that thirty per cent of Australians are born overseas. I am sure you know it very well. It is time to see fresh new non-Anglo-Celtic faces in our living room.
Let us talk about our issues. Let us represent our issues on TV. We don’t want to be represented by those who don’t look like us. We want to watch and hear an Indigenous person present the news of Aboriginal issues. We want them to talk about their problems with their voices. We are tired of watching Kerry-Anne Kennerley petrified Australian public over Aboriginal issues with her ignorance, and Samantha Armitage with the blonde bimbo issues of racial preferences.
Don’t you think it is time for a change?