TV: Are We Dumb, Drunk & Racist? Yeah, We Kinda Are.


I’m loving all the independent Australian programming that attempts to show how racist we really are.

Last year, it was Go Back to Where You Came From (which is apparently airing a “celebrity” version soon!) which drew on our contempt for “boat people” and this year it’s Joe Hildebrand’s Dumb, Drunk & Racist, not only about Australia’s racism, but our drinking and thought habits.

Hildebrand introduces four Indian expats to the world of sun, surf and skin, but which could more accurately be described as “Dumb, Drunk & Racist”. Can you blame the Indians for having such a closed-minded view of the land down under when their students are constantly bashed and their call-centre workers denigrated for doing an honest day’s work? I think it was Radhika who asked, “Why Indians, not Bangladeshi or Pakistani [people who are bashed]?” To be honest, I don’t think racists are that savvy: they see someone who doesn’t look like them and it’s on. I think it’s pure coincidence that a lot of the student bashings that go on in Australia, and particularly Melbourne, are of predominantly Indian students.

And there’s an insidious kind of racism that’s embedded in a lot of cultures, not just Australia’s. Amer contends that sometimes a fight is just a fight, and sometimes there’s no racial undertone but people want to put the racism sticker on it because it helps explain what we can’t:

“Two white guys fighting is just a fight; a black guy and a white guy fighting is ‘racially motivated’.”

In the show, which aired its last episode last Wednesday, Amer, Gurmeet, Mahima and Radhika go to the outback, hospital rooms, Cronulla beach and Melbourne’s train lines after dark in an attempt to work through our apparent inherent racism, alcoholism and unintelligence. I hate to say it, but by and large, Australia is a Dumb, Drunk and Racist country. That’s not to say that all Australian citizens abide by these lifestyle rules, but as a whole, the quintessential Aussie does.

Having said that, though, the Indian’s weren’t exactly open to some of our ways of life. While racism is bad, so is homophobia, but Gurmeet had no problem frowning upon a lesbian couple they met a few weeks ago.

And I hate the notion of reverse racism, but Gurmeet was guilty of it when he said that we’re Dumb, Drunk and Racist because of our “criminal DNA”: “It’s in the mind of the Australian people.” So I suppose that means that oppression of women, arranged marriages, extreme poverty and third world living standards are in the “DNA” of Indians? (To be clear, I don’t actually believe this.)

In one of the episodes, when India was being compared to Australia and the different standards and living conditions of each country, Hildebrand scoffed, “Why should we compare our statistics to those of a developing country?” Here, here.

The most sympathetic of the bunch is Radikha who, when faced with the plight of Indigenous Australians who are so marginalised they often don’t warrant a mention when talking about racism, said:

“When there is a community which feels so hurt, so wronged, so scarred, so alienated there will be a hesitancy to come forward. Even if they have any kind of motivation, there are a million things to quell that motivation.”

What did you think of Dumb, Drunk & Racist? Do you think we are?

Related: My Response—Go Back to Where You Came From.

Image via Xceler8.

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