Did your Bluey episode list get smaller today?
Bluey has become a loved by not only children, but adults all around the nation too. But earlier today, many parents were confused to find two of the most popular episodes of Bluey taken off the air. The ABC stated that there was a complaint lodged regarding episodes titled ‘Flat Pack’ and ‘Teasing’ after the term ‘ooga booga’ was used.
It turns out, many parents had no idea the term is racially offensive. After the announcement today, parents have embraced this as a lesson and have shown enormous support for ABCs decision to pull the episodes.
‘Flat Pack’ has been reworked and is back on ABC iView, while a modified ‘Teasing’ is set to return next month.
Urban Dictionary defines the term as purely a greeting used in the times of cavemen. This could be why many were not aware of the derogatory meaning behind it. We asked a group of parents’ whether they were aware of the history of the term and 95% claimed that they had no idea.
“[I] just thought it was an imitation of a monkey to be honest,” Alison said.
“We are devastated. We had no idea that it was racist or people would be offended…. It’s actually my son’s favourite name for his daddy when they are playing now… I’d hate to think that someone in public would have been hurt by hearing it,” Hayley said.
The insult has been used to target Indigenous Australians and only last year was used to insult Arrernte feminist, Celeste Liddle.
Another Bluey-fan, Maeve put it simply for us. They advised that the term was used to compare Indigenous Australians to cavemen and to insult them as though they were not evolved.
“It’s a term that’s used to denigrate Black POC by comparing them to cave men or Neanderthals. It hasn’t been in common vernacular for a while but I understand why it could be distressing for some people,” they explained.
Taking responsibility for the stuff-up
The ABC released a statement:
A viewer complained that an episode of the animated children’s program published on iview included a term with racial connotations and a problematic history for Indigenous Australians. The ABC sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled ‘Teasing’. The ABC has a strong record for giving voice to Indigenous Australians and an ongoing commitment to helping reduce discrimination and prejudice and in this case, the language used was inadvertent. The complainant was advised that neither the ABC nor the external producers were aware of the potentially derogatory meaning of the term, which was intended only as irreverent rhyming slang often made up by children. The episode was removed from iview as soon as ABC KIDS became aware of the complaint and the ABC undertook to change the dialogue prior to future broadcast or publication.
It is understandable that not everyone is aware on the definition of every single word and its historical meaning. It does raise the conversation, however, on how we can educate our children when incidents like this occur.
Mums speak up about ABC’s swift actions
“We’re honest with our kids, [we say] something like; ‘it turns out that word has a meaning some people weren’t aware of, and it could hurt peoples feelings. Because we always want to be kind they won’t show that episode anymore'”
“I did have a conversation with my family about the word, what it meant and how it was offensive. I’m trying to remind my family regardless of our interpretations or feelings it’s to up to us to determine what is offensive or racist. If it is, then we need to not question but educated ourselves as to why it is.”
Jacqui also added:
“I didn’t know that it was racist – I thought it was just caveman speak. We won’t use it anymore in our household. There’s been a few big changes lately and I’m personally all for them. Changing a lolly name like Redskins, for example, won’t ruin my life, but it will be a positive change for some people and that’s what’s important in my eyes.”
“Yeah, my husband and son use it frequently, too.. I didn’t even know it was a word, just thought it was something made up,” another parent said.
If we can raise the next generation in a way that can acknowledge problematic mistakes and can respect a different perspective especially when they are not directly affected by it, then we’re in for a very bright future.