Diasporic Media has an ever expanding definition, and cannot really be defined in a few words. However, it is used in regards to race and ethnicity representation and stereotypes. A prime example used in our lecture was the over representation of asylum seekers and migrants in the media –
Asylum seekers’ (and many other migrants) are largely at the first stage of struggles over representation – the stage where there is a huge need to simply contest very limited and negative images, misinformation and prejudice (Branston and Stafford, 2006).
While writing the introduction to this blog post, I happened to view an advertisement on the television for an Australian 1989 sitcom, Acropolis Now. The first thing I noticed was how stereotypical the characters were made to be, however it was “okay” because the actors themselves, were of the same nationality.
Acropolis Now was created by three Greek-Australian actors. It was set in a Greek cafe in Melbourne, a family owned business and is centered on the cafe staff. The characters embody “typical” Greek characteristics, which can be seen through their accents, costumes and practices. Wikipedia briefly describes the show –
Jim’s father asks him to run the family business, the Acropolis café, when he suddenly leaves Australia to return to his homeland Greece. The series centres on the activities of the cafe staff. Greek Jim Stephanidis (Giannopoulos), is the immature owner and his best friend, Spaniard Ricky Martinez (Palomares) is the sensible manager (who ended up leaving in Season 2). Memo (Kapiniaris) is the traditional Greek waiter, Liz is the liberated Australian waitress. Skip is the naïve new cook from the bush and Manolis is the stubborn cook from the old cafe. ‘Hilarity’ prevails from the clash of cultures and beliefs.
It also states that the television series was partially responsible for the term “skippy” or “skip”, referring to white Australians.
Although this was a successful sitcom, purely for innocent entertainment and of comedic genre, I find it hard to believe that this kind of televised material would be accepted nowadays, especially if the characters were played by non-Greeks.
It seems to be acceptable in society to create stereotypes like this in the form of satire, as long as the creators themselves are not of another race, ethnicity or gender. However, diasporic media can also create hope for equality in the media and break stereotypes as much as it can create them. Diasporic Media has the ability to present people who are asylum seekers, migrants and so on, as part of the community and representing another nationality.
What is your definition of Diasporic Media?
Crawfords, 1989, Acropolis Now, Crawfords, viewed http://www.crawfords.com.au/libary/sitcom/acropolis.shtml
Khorana, S., 2014 ‘Diasporic Media, BCM310 (Emerging Issues in Media and Communication), Week 11’, Powerpoint Slides, BCM310, Emerging Issues in Media and Communications, University of Wollongong, 19/05/2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/course/view.php?id=2653