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By Caitlin Q.

Growing up we always grow up with having role models and inspiration. With those inspirations  feeding the source of our personalities and drives us to goals in life they come from different sources of media . Some of these sources is through the television , radio , books and social media apps. With the media being so open to everyone and gaining access our perspectives of the world can be altered if there is little to no representation. In the modern world we live in the lack of representation in the media affects our knowledge on other cultures , a true understanding of what the world is and if we don’t have enough diversity the youth is limited to their ability to have inspiration and set goals.

            Cultures are an amazing thing that makes the world such a beautiful place and what makes individuals unique . The great thing about culture is not all cultures are the same and they have their differences but that is the importance of others embracing each other's cultures. If the media we are exposed to doesn’t have enough representation of culture we wouldn’t understand how others grew up and why their mindset is the way it is . With the lack of diversity and representation in the media it can affect how people portray other cultures and can start with the assumptions and assigning stereotypes to individuals. Growing up I grew up in a very diverse school and was surrounded with numerous cultures and values. Being exposed to this at a young age showed me how important diversity and acceptance of other cultures.  If you don’t grow up in this type of environment this can affect your perception and understanding in other cultures. In an article by the Perception Institute it says , “ The problem, though, is that many representations are based on cultural stereotypes, which tend to marginalize and caricature members of nondominant groups. Through these representations, we see a limited, and distorted, view of others “ .  With not having the origin or the purest exposure to culture we will have a limited and non authentic view of cultures. This is affects us seeing the world because we can have a blinded mindset as well as no knowledge on something that is not normal to us.

            Living in California we are exposed only to the little things in life and the world of the California lifestyle we grew up in. The media portrays the perfect life of being in a family with a mom and dad living with a white picket fence. In television shows growing up this dream was portrayed by a white family and the image of being perfect. We can also see the lack of diversity within the situations in the media . In every typical high school movie the students' stories are never as realistic. For example in the 2021 release of To All the Boys : Always and Forever the expectations of students are going to expensive universities usually top IVY league schools. This gives such a limited and non realistic story because not everyone can relate and can be limited to the goals they reach. Just recently we see the adaptation to diverse images of the world and different walks of life . With such a lack of diversity we can be in situations that we assume people’s stories and we can assume they are no personal struggles people face. This gives us the perception that in order to be successful in life is to be used to the situations you have seen and only be exposed to those encounters. To make sure this doesn’t happen we need to have more people of color being in these roles of success and by doing this kids can relate and have these inspirations to look at. In the same article from the Perception Institute it says , “ In order to transform perceptions, we must transform our cultural landscape into one that puts forward people of color in all of their complicated humanity, rather than relying on tired stereotypes”.

            Lastly with the lack of diversity being seen in the media can limit the dreams and imagination to the younger generation. Growing up we have superheroes to look at and being a superhero you are idolized and you are a person of importance. Some superheroes that brought great diversity are the Black Panther. When Black Panther came out the black community finally had a superhero who looked like them and touched based on cultural roots. With an inspiration to look at we see someone who is being heard and appreciated. Where in the media they portray the black community is seen in a negative way and categorized to certain words and situations. Not only is it the black community who is being underrepresented it is the Asian and the Latinix community. In an article done by UCLA it says , “ When it came to Latinx and Asian representation in past years, reports were mixed, with the Latinx community leaning towards wildly underrepresented”. From an article being so new it is still an industry we see progressing . As this industry is progressing just even the littlest steps can make an impact and the youth being exposed to the media .

             The more the merrier is a saying to celebrate the more life we interact the happier we can be. This is still a saying that can’t truly be applied to the media and the way cultures , the knowledge of cultures , and inspiration of youth is still limited. If we do not have enough diversity in the media it limits us to a closed mindset that we have assumptions and stereotypes running our minds. Seeing the differences in people is such a good thing and we can learn such valuable lessons we can apply in life from others to make the world a more happier and acceptable place.

 

Work Cited

NA, NA NA. “Representation: Culture and Pereception.” perception.org, Perception Institute, NA NA NA, https://perception.org/representation/.

Ramos, Dino R. “Film & TV Diversity: What Changed in 2019 and What's next in 2020.” Deadline, Penske Business Media, NA NA NA, https://deadline.com/2020/01/hollywood-diversity-2009-strides-film-tv-representation-inclusion-1202817299/.

Tameez, Hanaa. “Two new studies about media and diversity can help newsrooms through their reckoning racsim.” Nieman Lab, Walter Lippmann House, 26 June 2020, https://www.niemanlab.org/2020/06/two-new-studies-about-media-and-diversity-can-help-newsrooms-through-their-reckoning-with-racism/.