Beloved children’s animated program ‘Bluey’ has been criticised for not having enough ‘diverse’ characters.
ABC journalist Beverley Wang has taken aim at the program’s lack of diversity, posing the question: “Can Bluey be more representative? (And yes, I’m aware that Bluey’s Border Collie pal Mackenzie is from New Zealand)”.
While Wang’s ABC Everyday article praises some of the show’s representations of parenting, she goes on to ask: “Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey’s Brisbane?”
She adds, “If they’re in the background, let them come forward. (Maynard, voiced by Sean Choolburra, I’m looking at you).”
Sean Choolburra is a proud Girramay, Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta and Gugu Yalanji man, who voices the character of Maynard (the Irish Wolfhound) who is a secondary character in the series.
“As a parent of colour, I am always conscious of the presence – or absence – of diverse representation in kids’ pop culture, what it means for children and the conversations we have around that,” the journalist writes.
“I sincerely believe you don’t have to be ‘Other’ to think about this too.”
For those unfamiliar with the show, it follows the lives of Bluey the blue heeler puppy and her family, and has been applauded for its realistic depiction of modern-day families in Australia.
“We live in a world where the majority of main characters on children’s television are white; where there are more animals than people of colour protagonists populating the pages of children’s books,” Wang explains.
Wang has since received online backlash over her opinion piece, and has responded by reiterating that, “This piece is essentially a love letter to Bluey, plus a very gently-phrased wish to see if a great show can push itself to do even better. I know I’m not alone with my questions (and love) for Bluey.”
This piece is essentially a love letter to a Bluey, plus a very gently-phrased wish to see if a great show can push itself to do even better. I know I'm not alone with my questions (and love) for Bluey.
— Beverley Wang (@beverleywang) April 14, 2021
While many attacked the writer, others empathised with her, with one person writing: “It was the gentlest, most soft piece about the topic and full of praise for Bluey. What is actually wrong with people that we can’t talk about these things in this country?”
Another added, “Beverley Wang’s observation about diversity in Bluey is a small part of an appreciative column about what the show means to her. Doesn’t read like an offensive in the culture wars.”
You can read the piece in its entirety here.