ABC children’s cartoon Bluey at centre of social media storm over ‘lack of diversity’ claims | Ralph Lauren

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Australia’s most popular children’s show, Bluey, is at the centre of a social media storm after an ABC columnist questioned whether the cartoon about a family of blue heelers could be more diverse.

In an opinion piece on the ABC Everyday website Beverley Wang detailed her love of the ABC Kids cartoon — which raked in an incredible 7.2 million viewers across its latest series — but posed the question: “Can Bluey be more representative?”

“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,” she wrote.

Bluey follows a family of blue heelers and has become an international hit.
Camera IconBluey follows a family of blue heelers and has become an international hit. Credit: supplied/RegionalHUB

“I sincerely believe you don’t have to be ‘Other’ to think about this too.

“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.”

“Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey’s Brisbane? If they’re in the background, let them come forward. (Maynard, voiced by Sean Choolburra, I’m looking at you.)”

Choolburra is an Indigenous comedian, actor, dancer and musician who voices the character of Irish Wolfound, Maynard.

Bluey was quickly trending on Twitter, with users divided.

Some defended the perspective as a thoughtful, respectful and “entirely reasonable” take, while others attacked it as “taxpayer funded dross” and “tired identity politics.”

The show, which centres around Brisbane sisters Bluey and Bingo and their parents, Chilli and Bandit, is a reflection of the life of creator Joe Brumm — a father of two young daughters.

Brumm has previously told how every single episode features something he went through, “a game that we used to play, or a place that we used to go, that it acts as a photo album for these moments, except they’re all dogs.”

The Emmy-award winning show is the most popular ABC Kids show in history and has been widely applauded for its humorous, heartfelt and realistic take on parenting and Australian childhood.

In response to Wang’s column, Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications at the Institute of Public Affairs, argued “most Australians would see it as a weird take to see Bluey through the prism of identity politics when it’s just a wholesome cartoon.”

“Its a real whacky end point of identity politics where actual people at the ABC and Guardian (and no where else) are mad that a dog is not diverse enough…. it’s a dog,” he wrote on Twitter.

But Dr Briony Lipton, a postdoctoral research associate in the Women and Work Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School, said she loved the piece.

“Would love to see more diverse representation (where are the queer doggos?) on the show.”

Wang has responded to a barrage of criticism via her Twitter page, describing the article as a love letter to Bluey.

“Apparently I have an *unstable mind.* I’m *obsessed* and *unhinged* for politely wondering whether Bluey’s Brisbane can be more like the real Brisbane,” she wrote.

“It just goes to show that politics are everywhere, and representation matters.”



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