Popular ABC kids show Bluey has been forced to pull two of its episodes over racism claims.
According to an update provided by the ABC on their website, some viewers complained that two episodes featured on ABC iView “included a term with racial connotations and a problematic history for Indigenous Australians”.
The term in question is “ooga booga”, and in light of the complaints, the ABC has pulled the two episodes containing the words (‘Flat Pack’ and ‘Teasing’) down and will rework them to remove the term.
The ABC also issues a public apology on its website for anyone who was upset over the word “ooga booga”.
“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,” read the apology.
“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 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.”
However, most fans were unaware of the racist connotations behind “ooga booga”, which has conflicting definitions.
Slang website urban dictionary says it’s a form of “caveman” greeting, while Macquarie Dictionary says it is a derogatory noun for the language used by “African savages”.
Yet according to another fan of the show, the meaning of the word goes deeper, and can cause distress among Indigenous people.
“I know to many you just see this word as “caveman speak”, or in the harmless way the writers clearly did too,” the fan wrote on the Bluey Facebook page.
“But not everyone sees it that way. Including me. I’m in my 40s, and I well remember a time growing up in Western Sydney where the phrase ‘Ooga Booga/s’ was used conversationally to describe a dark skinned person/s. It was used in social circles, in movies or TV depicting black indigenous people as ‘uncivilised fools,’”
“I personally balked at hearing it used in Teasing, but never said anything because I thought it was maybe just me.”
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