This is a very interesting question, without really an answer. Many times we talk about the importance of diverse casting in Australia, but we never tackle the issue of racism perpetrated towards those who are diverse and have been cast for a project. An interesting article written by Soaliha Iqbal for Pedestrian TV raises this concern and it is definitely worthy of a mention for an open discussion. Here are some excerpts from the article:
There’s been an icky trend recently, in both reality TV and otherwise, where POC are cast in super ground-breaking roles for diversity and representation – but then thrown to the wolves when it comes to inevitable racist backlash from viewers and even co-stars.
I mean, just look at John Boyega in Star Wars. His role was the representation we had been BEGGING for, and he quickly became the face of the franchise. But despite his success, he ended up telling GQ that he felt “frustration” at being the only cast member to have to deal with racist DMs and death threats.
We all celebrated when it was announced Noongar-Yamitji woman Brooke Blurton would be the new Bachelorette, and the question of the racism which will be hurled towards her not just from contestants but also from social media keyboard warriors is a real concern. More from Pedestrian TV:
When we asked Brooke Blurton how she was going to cope with the typical vitriol that follows reality stars around, she gave us a real queen shit answer and basically said she’s thick-skinned and it won’t get her down. While I love that, I also think it’s worth having a convo about what the channel can do to support a person, too.
I know what it’s like being the minority in the room, dealing with a million micro-aggressions, constantly trying to make yourself as palatable as possible, trying to behave in ways so you don’t validate any of the racist stereotypes about your race, having to represent your entire people and yourself… it’s completely exhausting emotionally and physically, and the last thing you need after that is a tidal wave of hate, whether it’s in your DMs, on social media comments, or on set from other cast members – no matter how strong you are.
It’s one thing to cast a POC in a role that desperately needs updating (Brooke Blurton is single-handedly going to SAVE The Bachelorette), but I just hope this isn’t where the interest in diversity ends. Representation is more than just casting a POC – we also need to make sure they are comfortable, safe, and have some protection from the vitriol that is potentially going to come their way, both from viewers and from other people on set.
Definitely a question to reflect on.
To read the original article, please click on: Is Casting Diverse Reality TV Leads Progressive If We Don’t Actually Protect Them From Racism?