While you were growing up who did you see in the media that looked like you?
I don’t really remember seeing people who looked like me. The only person who I could vaguely relate to was America Ferrera when she was in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Even then, she did not look like me much. She was of a lighter skin tone and had straight/wavy hair while I’m more tan with big curly hair.
In school who did you learn about that looked like you or had similar experiences to you?
Ha, no one. I didn’t learn anything about the Dominican culture or what it means to be Afro-Latina. We skimmed through black men and white woman with great achievements but when it came to women of color, I didn’t learn anything. And even as I finished my senior year of high school, I still have yet to learn about women who look like me or women of color or women in Latin America. The only time we learned of Latin American leaders was in the context of their role in the trials and tribulations of American Manifest Destiny. Of course, they taught us about the Haitian Revolution but only because it later galvanized a set of revolutions in European countries. I explore more of the lack of diverse history taught in America in this piece I wrote. See below:
Why do you think diversity and representation is important?
My favorite author Junot Diaz once said something along the lines of, monsters don’t have reflections in mirrors and that’s how I felt growing up, never seeing anyone who looked like me. Without proper representation, children growing up will never have their appearances or cultures validated. They will always be looking to assimilate and adjust to the images prevalent in the media, images that encourage people of color to abandon their culture. Representation I believe helps foster self- love. By seeing those who look like you, you can begin to accept who you are, where you came from and the lives of those before you.