Enough with just white: Give media some color

Enough+with+just+white%3A+Give+media+some+color

Izzie Osorio, Staff Member

It’s an undeniable fact that entertainment media is everywhere and that everyone consumes it. I remember being an awkward pre-teen, watching reruns of Hannah Montana and Lizzie Mcguire repeatedly until my eyes glazed over. As I look back now, I can admit that while the humor was questionable, there was something else that was troubling. Along with all those shows, all the entertainment media that I had watched had predominantly white characters that were starred. I believe that the insufficient amount of racial representation in entertainment media ought to be changed.

When white characters are all they see, viewers start to believe that the norm is to be white. They start to feel insecure in their own race and begin to adopt a sense of abnormality.”

— Izzie Osorio

Let’s start off with some statistics to set the issue of representation into perspective. According to a study released by UCLA in 2014, 7 percent of the top 72 percent of film actors represented a racial minority group. The television industry was comparatively worse, with only 2 percent of actors representing a racial minority group. All other actors were white. Those numbers are especially concerning considering that all minority races are able to outnumber white Americans. While it may not seem like such a problem when addressing racial representation, the fact remains that the lack of racial representation in entertainment media is particularly harmful.

I realize now that entertainment media in my childhood presented a pitiful amount of characters that racially resembled me. On the off chance that there was an actor or character who happened to be my race, they played a role that subscribed to horrific stereotypes. When there is an absence of someone you can relate to, what you see is what you interpret to be the norm. In terms of race, when white characters are all they see, viewers start to believe that the norm is to be white. They start to feel insecure in their own race and begin to adopt a sense of abnormality.

Diversity is beautiful. The idea of more people of color in the media should not be offensive – it’s an idea that ought to be celebrated.”

— Izzie Osorio

It’s not right that people of color grow up not being represented in the media, especially when the consequences are so harmful. So, a quite obvious solution is to simply include more actors of color into entertainment media. And it’s not that racial representation hasn’t gotten better – it’s gotten exponentially better as the years have passed. But we’re not where we should be with racial representation. Once people of color start to see more and more people that represent them in the media, that’s when we will start to feel more comfortable and confident in our own skin.  Any argument against this is superficial and underdeveloped. Diversity is beautiful. The idea of more people of color in the media should not be offensive – it’s an idea that ought to be celebrated.