“Fundamentally, White People Are Pretty Bland”: Diversity Advocate And Aussie Hero Karl Stefanovic
He had a broader point, but this quote will live through the ages.
Karl Stefanovic has been racking up the progressive brownie points lately after his wear-the-same-suit-for-a-year stunt went viral over the weekend, but just a few days after that little slice of glory he has somehow managed to go one better.
In an interview with indigenous TV network NITV News, Karl outlined why he thinks Australia needs more diverse faces on TV in the most Karl Stefanovic manner you could possibly imagine. In what may be the greatest sentence ever uttered on Australian television, Karl explained that we need more non-white people in the media because “fundamentally, white people are pretty bland”, before giving the biggest, cheesiest, cheeky-bastardiest grin to ever split open a human face.
Some context: yesterday the premiere of SBS’s First Contact sparked a discussion about Indigenous Australia on the Today Show between four non-Indigenous Australians, of whom Karl was one. During the segment he pointed out that, like many conversations about Indigenous Australia, the panel had no Indigenous participants. NITV contacted Stefanovic after the segment so he could expand on that point, hence the interview, which aired on NITV earlier tonight.
The white-people-are-bland thing is the most headline-grabby quote, but the rest of the interview is even better; Stefanovic comes across as a seriously intelligent and enlightened dude. When asked about how Australia can work on hearing more Indigenous voices and perspectives, he offered this up:
“That’s a difficult question to answer from my perspective, but what I can tell you is where we can stop, and we can stop — and that is, white people like myself — stop talking with any degree of expertise about something we know little about. So, I don’t want to hear from people in the city, like myself, who are in nice suits and nice houses and drive nice cars and earn a great wage, talking about ‘what it must have been like’ for Aboriginal Australians.
“I don’t want to hear them talking about or offering their opinions on how to fix a situation they have no idea about. I don’t want to hear us saying to our politicians ‘you’ve gotta get out there and you’ve gotta solve this problem, something’s gotta be done’, because invariably you ask something of someone who says ‘something’s gotta be done’ and you know what they’ll say? ‘Well I dunno, but it just needs to be fixed’, and for too long, I believe, white people have been trying to solve the problems of Indigenous Australians, and they have no idea how to do it.
“…I think it’s up to the Aboriginal leaders and community leaders to make decisions about their own community, and we stay right out of it, and that starts and ends with offering your opinion about how to fix things. We don’t know! We don’t know what it must be like to live as an Indigenous Australian. We have no idea, so butt out.“
Here’s the NITV interview in full. It is so worth your time.
At this point I am ready to declare the third week of November as Australia’s official National Karl Week. In decades to come, children around the nation will feed each other insanely hot pies and tell stupid Dalai Lama jokes in his honour. This is the prophecy, and it shall be fulfilled.