Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Diversity in the Media

Here's the thing. I actually don't like it when television shows and movies are "diverse", but it feels forced. I don't like it when black/gay/female/etc characters are just thrown into the mix as tokens just for the sake of being able to say "fuck yeah diversity". I very definitely feel like there's a wrong way to approach diversity and I see things being done the wrong way a lot.

But I do not understand people that actually go out of their way to complain about diversity as a concept when it comes to the media they consume. I also can't help but notice that the complainers are always people that have no earthly idea what it's like to grow up almost never seeing people that looked or acted like them when they went to the movies or turned on their television.

I know what that's like and it's really not fun. It really does give you the impression that you're an undesirable of one type or another. Or that there's something wrong with you. Or that society would really like it if you just disappeared or tried your best to hide/deny/erase anything about yourself that makes you different. The characters people rooted for in movies and on television were very, very rarely anything like me. When they were there at all, people like me were almost always the sidekicks, or the comic relief, or -- God forbid -- the villain.

Imagine the type of message that sends to that young person about where their "place" is as far as the world they live in. Imagine the type of message that sends to the young person that does see themselves depicted, but not their neighbor or the kid that sits next to them in homeroom.

If you truly don't see how and why that's problematic, then I don't know what to do with you. I am personally glad that kids today are less likely to grow up feeling that way. I don't think we've perfected the way we handle diversity in media yet by any means, but I like that we're at least fucking trying. That should be a good thing.