While you were growing up who did you see in the media that looked like you?
As a child, I enjoyed listening to R&B music, and in those music videos the majority of artists or back up dancers were black. I feel like a lot of children’s television shows tried to have at least one black character so there was always somebody there representing the race. In particular, That’s so Raven was good in terms of having someone in the media that was like me.
In school who did you learn about that looked like you or had similar experiences to you?
In schools, I feel like there really was a lack of conversation about experiences of people of different races. Other than covering the slave trade in history I feel like subjects that had the opportunity to discuss racial diversity didn’t really do so. For example, in PSHE, we would spend about 3 years discussing safe sex and not taking cannabis, but part of those 3 years could have been used to discuss those who are similar to me, and others, in terms of race and so on.
Why do you think diversity and representation is important?
I think, in particular, with young children, the lack of diversity and representation can lead to ethnic minorities having a Eurocentric view of beauty and think their inadequate just because of their skin tone, by having representation minority children can see that they aren’t “weird” but are beautiful regardless of their skin tone. Having representation in the media allows us to identify with someone and embrace ourselves from a young age.
Diversity is also important in limiting ignorant views. Because of the general lack of representation, I do think that in some cases Caucasian people are ignorant to the issues ethnic minorities face. Representation will bring about understanding. If discussions about racial equality, diversity and representation are put into the school curriculum at a younger age, there will be a general greater understanding.
Without representation, large groups of people go without their voices being heard. That’s not fair on them and by having a more diverse media, people can find someone to identify with, and feel like their voices matter.