Representation Matters

Angel Major, Student life editor

In the black community, how we are represented in media is very important to our culture. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, representation is the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature. When the black community is portrayed in negative ways in media, it can also take a negative toll on us.

With movies such as Friday, Menace II Society, and Juice, black people get a bad rep. Movie like this focus on portraying black characters as stereotypical thugs, killers, and drug addicts and lack black characters with positive roles. They encourage us killing each other in subliminal ways and when black youth watch media praise the people that do the bad things, they begin to follow what they see.

There are so many movies that showcase us as the bad guys, the drug addicts, and the uneducated comedic relief to gain a quick laugh. These movies are made for entertainment, but people don’t often see that they can leave a bad name for our community. Its showing the youth in the community that it is OK to be these things. We need more representation in film, television and online that show our true potential.

It is important for children and kids to see people that look like them in a positive way. Black representation in films and television is so valuable because it can help give confidence to the younger generation of African Americans. Watching television growing up, shows usually feature all white casts and if there are any other races in the cast, there are very few. If you grow up seeing only white skin and long straight hair on your screens, then you could eventually lack self confidence in yourself. Representation matters. Which is why movies like Black Panther are so important, showing us as the good people and the ones in power. It showed kids and adults alike how much potential we have as a race to become something so much more than what we are now.