We’ve been watching series 1 of the Australian series East West 101. It’s a brave attempt to create television that more accurately reflects the diversity and conflict present in Australia. It goes a long way to nuancing the way we imagine Muslim people and communities.
But a couple of things have been bugging me:
- In the first episode, there is a scene in which a married Muslim makes love. The intimacy expressed goes a long way to rendering the couple sympathetic to non-Muslim viewers. But I can’t help but think that it’s not particularly culturally sensitive to show images of a Muslim woman (I don’t know the actresses religious affiliation, but I think that’s irrelevant) in a state of undress.
- The repulsively racist detective directs his racism solely towards his Iraqi colleague and not other migrant colleagues from the Pacific or Asia.
- While I’m happy to be confronted by the representation of a repulsively racist character (I’m convinced they exist in real life), I’m mildly frustrated that there’s never any expression of solidarity with the Iraqi character from other white characters.