Minorities deserve representation in the media

Maya Brisan, Staff Writer

As a white girl growing up in America, I grew up seeing myself in all of the books I loved to read, in the TV shows I watched and in the movies I liked. This had a huge impact on me growing up, and I believed that I could do or be whatever I wanted. However, many BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people did not grow up seeing themselves represented the way I did. This is a huge issue, one that we need to start fixing as a collective community.

Many popular young adult books that I have read have a white main character who is usually straight, and side characters that also lack diversity. I am not saying to stop reading them, only to acknowledge their lack of diversity and try to find more diverse novels to read alongside these popular ones. I often try to read books written by authors of different races and sexualities and books with diversity, and more enjoyable. Having a diverse cast makes the book more interesting and fun, and it can encourage kids of any race, gender or sexuality that they can be whatever they want. Books have had a huge impact on my life, and the more we try to include a diverse cast, the more it can impact everyone.

TV shows and movies are doing a better job of casting more people of color and people from the LGBTQ+ community, but there is still a problem with the way they are represented. Many characters of color are presented in a stereotypical and racist fashion, which ultimately negates the attempt to diversify the cast. Movies like Black Panther, with a cast composed of mostly people of color, can have a huge impact on kids. Young Black children can watch the movie and strive to be a hero because this movie says they can; it shows them that they can be powerful and deserve the same opportunities as a white person. Characters who are LGBTQ+ should be played by people who actually identify as part of the community, and they should not be represented in a hurtful or homophobic way. This is crucial for kids who are questioning themselves because it gives them people they can relate to and helps them become more comfortable with themselves.

Another area where representation matters is in politics. Women and people of color didn’t even hold positions in government due to sexism and racism for a long time. Lucky for us, that is changing ever-so-slowly. Kamala Harris will be our first female Vice President, not to mention the first woman of color to serve in the position. This representation is important to young girls; it gives them a role model who has the power to make change in the world. According to Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, 126 women currently hold positions in the United States Congress. This is showing that improvement of representation is possible, and will soon be a normality.