Following Vegemite, Neighbours is probably one of Australia’s most famous exports. It portrays the ‘real’ life of everyday Australia. Yet even in the spirit of multiculturalism, the producers attempt to showcase Australian ethnic diversity is making some fans uncomfortable.
So uncomfortable in fact that Channel Ten have been forced to remove racist comments from their website against the inclusion of an Indian family to the shows fictional Ramsay Street.
Neighbours has run for more than 25 years and delivered more than 6,000 episodes. It is a favourite in Australia and the UK, launching many stars, including Kylie Minogue, to the world stage. The foundation for all this success is fundamental to the fact that Neighbours deals with real situations of everyday real people. The opening credits feature an actual Australian street scape and most of the filming was not conducted in a studio, but in real environments.
This remember, is long before Big Brother was thrust on us.
With a diaspora of 24 million, or more than whole Australian population, the Indian community living outside of India is quite significant. More than half a million of which live in Australia and contribute value to society. If Neighbours is to mirror reality, then the inclusion of an Indian family would certainly be one positive step.
Inclusivity is the operative verb in this case. It’s time to step away from the utopian ideal of multiculturalism and into inclusivity. This is a mindset that is positioned on equality without the expectation to blur into sameness. The American ideal of a cultural melting pot is dead, the Australian philosophy of multiculturalism is problematic; inclusivity honours diversity. Kudos to Neighbours for maintaing it’s genes and keeping it real.