In today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Tanveer Ahmed, better known as Mr “No Bingo” writes an interesting essay on multicultural roles in Australian television.
As a comedian, writer and psychiatry registrar, Ahmed admits the role he played on Seven’s now-tainted game show is a stereotype.
“The responses I have received from Indian-Australians are particularly interesting,” he writes. “They vary from disquiet and politely veiled criticism that I have helped send race relations back a decade, to beaming pride that there is an Indian face on prime-time Australian television.
“There are few faces from non-English-speaking backgrounds, nor are there many characters based on an ethnic heritage. This is particularly true for commercial television. When they are, it is usually a caricature or racial stereotype lacking any depth or complexity, much like the Bingo Commissioner.”
But Ahmed also has a dig at SBS where he served a cadet journalist.
“My impression was of a dedicated group of white, middle-aged people trying their best to create what they felt was multicultural television.” Ouch.
He notes representation on screen is improving.
“The ABC comedy The Librarians has a Muslim female character who is the polar opposite of every stereotype. Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars has included Anh Do, a comedian of Vietnamese heritage, in its line-up of celebrities. And one of the creators of the new SBS police drama East West 101 has said international networks are showing interest in the series because it contains the first fully formed Arab characters they have seen on Western TV.”