Dumb, Drunk and Racist ”“ Are we really?

Radhika Budhwar, Gurmeet Chaudhary, Mahima Bhardwaj and Amer Singh go through an Australian tour to examine stereotypes

While SBS’ Bollywood Star Reality show takes on the Indian community and tries to turn some of the Bollywood hopefuls down under into a Bollywood star as the finalists four Gautam, Tiegan, Sarah and Sharon go through their finger biting ordeal, we find ABC with its series ”˜Dumb Drunk and Racist ”“ Are we really?’ is trying another angle which has been hotly debated worldwide and even on forums such as Q&A.  Discussions abound whether Australians are multiculturally tolerant and as good as they claim themselves to be or otherwise.

With this series we see it through the eyes of four Indians Radhika, Amer, Mahima and Gurdeep having been rounded up by ABC reporter Joe Hildebrand who offered them a trip through Australia and make up their own mind about the stereotypes about Australians.

ABC Joe Hildebrand

Australians get a bad rap overseas, and their stocks seem especially low in India. In fact, a sizeable chunk of India’s 1.2 billion people think Aussies are dumb, drunk and racist. But doesn’t every country have its negative stereotypes?

In this six-part factual series, journalist Joe Hildebrand takes four Indians on a road trip around Australia to examine our worst stereotypes ”“ are we really beer-swilling, racist bogans, or are we simply misunderstood? Shot on location in India and across Australia, this series puts its Indian protagonists smack bang in the middle of passionate debates and immersive experiences that could change their opinion of Australia forever. After three weeks of seeing the good, the bad and the ugly up close, will the intrepid Indian travellers still think that Australians are dumb, drunk and racist? And what will the Australians think of themselves, after seeing Australia through their eyes?


First episode:

Wednesday 20 June 9.30pm ABC 2

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Whether we like it or not, Australia has an image problem overseas. But there’s one country that seems to have a poorer image of Australians than any other ”“ India. Journalist Joe Hildebrand sets out on a pilgrimage to Delhi and beyond to examine this anti-Australian sentiment

While in India Joe meets the four locals who will join him on a road trip across Australia. As a newsreader and journalist for a Hindi network, Gurmeet Chaudhary was shocked by the negative stories appearing regularly in the Indian media. Call centre worker Mahima Bhardwaj takes Joe through the unpleasant encounters she’s had with Aussies over the phone. Amer Singh is a third year law student in Chandigargh who decided it was safer to stay in India to study. Radhika Budhwar advises Indian students where they should study overseas; she hasn’t recommended

Australia for the last five years. All agree to risk life and limb to visit our reviled and dangerous country.

Joe kicks off the Australian tour by mixing the glitz and glamour of Sydney Harbour with Australia’s most renowned beach, Bondi. The travellers quickly become seduced by the beauty down under. But before his guests relax too much, Joe stops them in their tracks with a provocative mural plastered on an inner-city wall. The mural ”“ which reads ”˜say no to burqas’ ”“ sparks off the first heated debate”¦ and the Indians aren’t the only ones upset by the message the mural carries.


27 June 9.30pm

Joe and the Indian tourists dive head first into Australia’s multicultural melting pot. Despite being a nation built by successive waves of refugees, the most recent arrivals often cop the most flack and in Australia in 2012, it is Australian Muslims who are on the front line.

Mahima, Radhika, Gurmeet and Amer are in the second week of their ”˜dumb, drunk and racist’ road trip, and begin this episode in Sydney’s Lakemba ”“ a suburb with a predominantly Muslim population. Radhika is clearly surprised by the lack of white people in Lakemba: “This is not really Australia”¦ these people have built their own country in another country.” Later, Radhika and Mahima meet Nasro, a Somalian refugee, who tells them that although she has experienced kindness, she has little doubt that most Australians are racist.

Venturing deeper into the heart of this issue, Joe takes the travellers to Cronulla beach and tells them the story of the infamous 2005 riots. The footage of that awful day shocks everyone and brings law student Amer to tears. The crew then travel back into the heart of Sydney’s Western suburbs and play a game of soccer with the all-women, multi-ethnic Lakembaroos.

Finally Joe takes them to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. There they meet members of the Australian Protectionist Party, a group that believes multiculturalism is a failure and Muslim immigration should be stopped altogether. As they are talking, several pro-refugee advocates arrive and tempers flare as the Indians find themselves in the middle of a heated argument about multiculturalism

Wednesday 4 July at 9.30pm on ABC2

Joe takes the intrepid travellers to Melbourne, a city that has had its reputation tarnished overseas because of a spate of attacks on Indian students. But were they really racist attacks, or more a case of the students being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Wednesday 11 July at 9.30pm on ABC2

This episode looks at how Australia treats its Indigenous population and the often volatile relationship between black and white. The Indians travel into the heart of Australia to talk to Indigenous Australians, but not everything goes according to plan.

Wednesday 18 July at 9.30pm on ABC2

Joe gives the Indians a crash course in what constitutes an ”˜average Aussie’. Are we bushies, bogans or battlers? Why do we celebrate our larrikins but hide our laureates? The crew try to discover the truth behind these stereotypes, but it’s in the suburbs of Brisbane that Gurmeet’s view of Australia is really challenged.

Wednesday 25 July at 9.30pm on ABC2

After a three week road trip, the Indians’ Australian odyssey is nearly at an end. But first, just how drunk are we? The crew experiences a cricket game, a club crawl, a pub, a bachelor and spinster

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