Imagine a world where you’re looked down upon based off of the circumstances of your birth. Where you aren’t allowed to do things the average person would. Not allowed to go places that everyone else can. You’re completely segregated from your peers. This isn’t a story. This is history.
Throughout my life, I’ve been constantly compared to my peers. That I act white. I dress white. I speak white. As if white is the definition of being “normal”, civilized, pure.
Every day I look in the mirror, and those constant comparisons bring me down. I only see black. The opposite of white. Am I as attractive as my white peers? Do people see me differently because of my skin color? Why do I have to think this way?
People try to say there isn’t problem with representation. That we “shouldn’t see color” and by that very notion, we’re being racist. It’s not just about skin color. It’s about what we see on a daily basis. It’s about finding someone to look up to, relate to, and see ourselves in. It gets more and more difficult to find yourself in someone who’s a different race or gender, with 2 parents (a mom and a dad) and 1.5 siblings. Every person has their own story and you start to notice that their stories are way off the baseline of what we call “normal” in our society. So why aren’t we recognizing this and changing our definitions of normality?
This isn’t me bashing on white actors and actresses. This isn’t me trying to tell you that you that we can’t have white people in our media. I want to open up a dialogue. I want people to see things from a different perspective; from a perspective of a minority living in a socially unequal world.
Next time you decide to enjoy your favorite form of media, digest the things that I’ve said and just take a look at it from my pair of eyes. When you take a step back and see it from my eyes, you’ll notice the patterns of inequality and representation.