People who criticize the movement for representation often say that putting ethnic characters into shows and movies only promotes racism as the characters are put in only to include the race and not out of genuine desire to have the character. But I would disagree and say that while it is true that many shows have begun to include other races and minorities out of a sort of obligation, it does nothing but promote equality. The positive effects of promoting this form of cultural inclusion does much more good than it does damage as minorities are finally beginning to be represented in a respectful way that they never have before.
Modern day media is an ever changing and expanding means of entertainment and information sharing. From television, to movies, from the news to social media sites, the past ten years have seen a rise in the way that these medias are accessed as well in the number of people accessing them. However, one aspect of the media that has been deficient for years has only recently begun to become a major focus is appropriate, and abundant cultural representation in television and movies.
In recent years, television and movie industries have begun to make stronger efforts to include characters of either ethnic or cultural descent as the normal staple in their programming. Shows such as “Orange is the New Black,” “Scandal,” and “American Horror Story: Freakshow,” all broke barriers in the past two years as their castings were diverse and their characters were made to be original and genuine. Orange is the New Black broke barriers not only racially, but also opened new doors for representation for the transsexual community as one of the lead roles played by trans actress Laverne Cox depicted many of the harsh realities that surround transgender people in America today.
This new wave of representation in television and movies has seen a rise in support from the younger audiences who watch these shows. Many teens have taken to blogging sites to voice their support for this new level of inclusion and they want more. Real life is not as monochromatic and culturally stale as television shows and movies so often are. This changing trend towards a larger sense of inclusion is necessary and should grow and expand to include as many minority groups or culturally diverse individuals as possible.
Proper representation is necessary because without it, young children of other ethnicities, cultures, or sexualities, will often feel that they are not normal or that they are alone in who they are. This can be damaging in many ways because it can affect a youth’s self worth in a negative way. Representation shows people that there are in fact other people who are similar to them and face similar prejudices and obstacles from day to day.