Racism, Racialism And Multiculturalism From The Outsider
The Hoo-Hah over Hey Hey’s re-enactment of the Michael Jackson Black & White Minstrel Show misses the point about racism in Australia. Our culture is unambiguously multicultural. We tolerate racial diversity like no other country in the world, even if its positive affirmation is often lacking. And as such we are racialist. That is we do recognise differences between the concomitant cultures that make us Australian and can parody these differences sometimes with great effect (as in ‘Salam Café’) and sometimes really badly (as in ‘Hey Hey’).
But that doesn’t make us racist. The poverty of the Hey Hey sketch is the price we pay for our healthy multiculturalism. We must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.