Representation Matters

Jonathan Smith, Staff Writer

As children, the most inspirational thing that could be placed in front of us were people that were most like us. Whether that be our parents, our friends, characters on television or people that we see in professional settings. This is a matter that should be addressed more. Representation is one topic that nobody seems to care enough about until they’re the ones being misrepresented. We’ve all seen movies and television shows that improperly cast their characters and give people who have no knowledge or experience on certain matters. For instance, in 2009, ABC Network aired its first episode of Modern Family that displays a multidimensional family that properly represents many different cultures and variations of society. Sofia Vergara plays the Columbian wife of her husband played by Ed O’neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet play the homosexual couple who later end up adopting their first Asian child.

This is what proper representation is, but it shouldn’t stop there. Last month, people of the African-American community got the chance to witness their first ever all African diasporan (Africans from different regions of the world) cast be displayed as superheroes, engineers and inspirational leaders. “There’s this body of research and a term known as ‘symbolic annihilation’, which is the idea that if you don’t see people like you in the media you consume, you must somehow be unimportant”, said Nicole Martins of Indiana University. This suggests that perhaps the media doesn’t want to enlighten the minds of minorities to unleash or recognize their true potential. There’s healing that needs to occur from centuries of colonialism and suppression that has had a negative impact on the psyche.

Anderson Cooper is another figure who boldly began living his truth publicly by coming out via email to a journalist, he stated, “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.” These are words to live by if you’re someone who’s trying to find their way out of a suppressing situation or lifestyle. Living in your truth and being able to identify with other people who share similarities can be empowering with overcoming anxieties and objections inflicted by society.

With the fight to protect the DACA movement, representation and protection of our Hispanic community is more vital than ever before. No child, parent or elder should be turned away from bettering themselves and for wanting to enhance their way of life. Representation Matters and should not be taken lightly. Every human deserves to see people like themselves in a positive light and we should honor that right.