Media has a role in educating about racism

Mountain DewRacism has reared its ugly head this week in Australia. Last week’s Australian Football League (AFL) round was meant to be a celebration of Indigenous culture, however an incident by a supporter took the shine off the round. Aboriginal football star, Adam Goodes was subjected to racial slurs and was also involved in another incident during the week when media personality and AFL club president, Eddie McGuire suggested Goodes should help promote the upcoming King Kong musical.

Looking at the conversation that followed its evident that Anglo Australians have a lack of understanding of derogatory terms and the impact racism has on people. Television host, Michael Leach from television show Offsiders summed it up well this morning when he said that we haven’t had the same conversation American has had on the topic. I have to agree with him. It would be great if McGuire used his media influence to lead this conversation.

The topic got me thinking about racism on television. Over the years advertisers have been labelled racist due to insensitive adverts. A recent online commercial in America for Mountain Dew was pulled due to stereotyping black males as criminals. The ad was produced by Tyler, an African-American rapper. Some people claimed the ad was the most racist ever.

In Australia KFC was forced to pull its TV commercial last summer due to racism claims. In the commercial white cricket fans offered West Indian supporter’s fried chicken at a cricket game. The advert made it all the way to the United States where Americans labelled Australians racist because the ad insinuated that African Americans eat a lot of fried chicken.

What’s been good to see recently in Australian is the use of non-white characters in commercials. Marketers have finally caught on that Australia is a multicultural place! Now we just need television shows to do the same and be more racially diverse

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