Life & Stuff · Writing Tips

Why Representation in Media Matters

Growing up, I didn’t see many girls who looked like me on the TV. They weren’t in the books, on billboards, or in films, either. Thankfully, this is starting to change but it’s still not where it needs to be.

You see, if you’re a child who’s not white, it can be hard to grow up without seeing yourself as the hero, the pretty girl, the cool boy, the main character. Instead, when POC characters are cast, they’re usually the bad guy, the stereotype, the fool, or the lower class.

What kind of message does that send to people of colour?

It says that we are less-than.

If that’s not true, then changes need to be made. Why aren’t the Black girls or the Asian girls the pretty one that the boy goes for? Why aren’t the Black or Asian people the superheroes and the change-makers? Because I don’t know about you, but I can think of a great many POC heroes in our real world. It’s time we saw them on screen, too.

Not sometimes. Not playing the game “let’s spot the non-white characters!” But regularly. It needs to be normalised; not a statement; not tokenism.

And of course, this isn’t just race. This goes for LGBTQI+ people, disabled people, religions, other cultures and other “minority groups” too. They are all a very real part of our world, so why are they excluded from our screens?

There are people in this world that don’t feel like they truly belong here. That they aren’t worthy. That they’re not good enough. By excluding them from TV, films, books, plays, etc, we are part of the problem.

We are saying, “you’re good, but not good enough to be seen.”

Is that really what we want to be saying? No? Then be the change. Writers, include POC characters not as a token but as a real, purposeful, fleshed out character. Producers, directors, showrunners, make use of the amazing POC actors waiting in the casting rooms.

It could change lives.

And lastly, POC people like myself, share your stories! Minority groups, make your art! Become writers, directors, producers, actors and be seen. Don’t let your people down; help them to be seen.

 

List of TV shows with a main cast featuring (mostly) minority groups:

  • Jane the Virgin
  • One Day At A Time
  • Power
  • Atlanta
  • Black-ish
  • Empire
  • Marlon
  • Fresh Off The Boat
  • The Good Place
  • Brooklyn 99 (Jake and Boyle excluded)
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Kim’s Convenience
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Underground
  • Master of None
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • Game of Thrones (ish)
  • Sense 8
  • New Girl
  • Insecure
  • Luke Cage
  • American Crime
  • Black Mirror
  • The Carmichael Show 

 

Please add more in the comments below to help more people support and find these shows!

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