By Tatiana V.
In this country, the access to information is one that is easily taken for granted. We live in a world where multiple media outlets put out the same stories, and in order for news outlets to be popular and gain the attention they must play into this cycle of recycled news. Though we live in a country filled with different cultures of people who practice a different religion, and speak different languages, the media shows us otherwise. Not only does the media constantly put out an unrealistic image of who the average American is but it can either perpetuate stereotypes among minorities or it can forget about minorities altogether.
When observing the media through television many times certain minority groups simply feel left out. For instance, many newspapers and magazines have a lack of diversity among their staff creating a lack of diversity among the stories told and a lack of diversity in a point of view and commentary. In her article for Medium Magazine, Anita Sthankiya expresses that, “Pretty pathetic, considering the fact that minorities make up 37.4 percent of the U.S. population. But walk into most major newsrooms in the U.S. and you’ll be overwhelmed by the whiteness and maleness of the editorial staff.” When a story is being told by a middle-aged white male the narrative and commentary would be different than if it were told by a young Hispanic woman. News and magazines only focus on what they consider important or what will sell, so in a sense, many news outlets are putting out the same types of stories. Not only that but Sthankiya explains that a lack of diversity can lead to, “inflammatory statements and headlines that push racial divides further apart.’’ All media outlets need to work on authentic diversity within their staff to create a product that appeals to a broader audience, which benefits these outlets.
In media, the lack of diversity behind the scenes, such as in magazines and newspaper is no worse than the lack of visual diversity on the screen. As we saw in the 2016 Oscar Awards were there was not one minority nominated in any category. This starts to become a problem because films start to tell stories about different races of people but use white actors. Matthew Lynch, a writer for The Advocate, explains that after doing some research he found, “ In essence, the report found that even when there are roles available for minorities, they are given to white actors who then “dress the part” to pull it off”. For example, in the 2013 film The Big Wedding actor Ben Barnes uses brownface to play the role of a Colombian or in the 2010 film The Last Airbender, a white boy plays a role where he is depicted as an east-Asian boy. Replacing the role of minorities with white actors is not only offensive but it ruins stories. Hollywood creates a movie for white people by white people, but we live in a diverse country and white people are not the only people that go to movie theaters. The irony of this all is that movie with a diverse cast make are more successful, we can see this with the Marvels movies, including movies such as The Avengers, Black Panther, and Iron Man, which is the highest grossing franchise in history or the Fast and Furious Films which is listed seventh on the list of highest grossing movies of all time. The fact is, lack of diversity in films can reinforce racial supremacy, showing that certain races are more important than others.
When it comes to newspaper outlets in particular if there is a lack of intersectionality among the employees than it is very easy to not just exclude certain minorities from stories but it is easy to play into stereotypes. Likewise, films that lack diversity make groups of people feel forgotten and takes away from the opportunity for certain cultures to be a part of the telling of their stories.
Evgenivna, Daniela. “The Power of Diversity in the Media.” Thrive Global 30 Aug 2017 Web. 11 July 2018.
Lynch, Matthew. “HOW HOLLYWOOD’S LACK OF DIVERSITY IMPACTS HIGHER EDUCATION” The Advocate 25 Nov 2016 Web. 12 July.
Sthankiya, Anita. “There’s a Lack of Diversity in News Media, But Where Does It Stem From?” The Medium 21 Dec 2017. Web 12 July 2018.