Since time immemorial, all forms of media have portrayed people of colour in a certain stereotypical way which has led to years of conditioning in the human brain. Over exposure of portrayal from 1946 till 2016 of African women and men committing violent acts on the big screen has led to stronger assumptions towards the stereotypes with regards to people of colour. A stereotype is a preconceived notion based out of negative assumptions and societal prejudices. Such strong biases lead to hate crimes and racial discrimination that end up being seen as an acceptable norm.
In order to deconstruct this social norm and de-stigmatize racial profiling, global media has to stop showcasing people of colour in a certain light and start embracing them as normal people irrespective of their colour as they deserve equal amounts of respect and validation from the society.
Let’s look at three different forms of media which are positively embracing colour inclusivity in present times-
People of Colour in Advertising
Diversity in a global industry like advertising is a necessity. UK government statistics report a 12% increase in BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) between 2013-2014. However, the numbers are still far less than what is expected to be.
Improving awareness of people of colour in advertisements add personality and flavour to the project. The demand for a higher representation is being considered by the industry. A lot of influential people like Neil Patel, Nishma Robb, Cindy Gallop are pioneering and championing diversity with a positive outlook.
People of Colour in Films and TV
A better racial representation can be seen in mainstream movies and TV shows since 2016. #Oscarsowhite became a trending hashtag in 2015 when the Academy awarded all 20 nominations to white actors irrespective of better talent found among the people of colour. This movement inspired filmmakers to portray people of colour in leading and game-changing roles. Since this movement came shortly after the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Hollywood was pushed to evaluate their prejudiced voting systems.
In the last few years many movies like Get Out, Black Panther and TV shows like Sex Education, How To Get Away With Murder where Asian and African-American communities are portrayed in the positive light goes to show that slowly but steadily, filmmakers are taking initiatives to change the absurd bigotry mentality.
People of Colour in Journalism
Open conversations and research about brown and black journalists reveal that there is still a significant disconnect in understanding the importance of equal rights and representation. The table below shows the lack of diversity in media and news rooms. The only positive edge to this situation is the increasing amount of critical scrutiny on news room structures after the civil rights movement and more so after George Floyd’s death. The American Society of Editors have recognized the problem and demand better roles for minority.
To create a lasting change in the thinking patterns of audience at large, it’s necessary for journalists of all background to be adequately represented. This leads to transparency in representation of news, encourages rich and diverse workforces in media reporting and recreates a sense of growth for the people of colour.