The Importance of Representation

They say they greatest boxers come from poverty stricken backgrounds. So do most great athletes — more specifically the black ones.

No one outside of the black community likes to talk about this, especially far right wing types but — there aren’t many great black role models on tv or the big screen outside of athletes and rappers. I’ll leave it to you all to argue who’s fault that is. Most kids, regardless of race will look up to who ever best fits their life picture. I know because I was one of those kids.

Growing up there weren’t lawyers, doctors and scientist hanging on my corner. No, the reality was, drug dealers were the neighborhood superstars; and Run TMC, Rickey Henderson, and Tim Brown were all I had — I knew no better. I lived in a single parent home with no father figure to speak of. That’s, unfortunately, the story of many black kids from Oakland to Philadelphia…Los Angeles to Baltimore…Detroit, Chicago, and every other city associated with blackness.

Ebony, Jet, and later Essence magazine, served a purpose to fill a void for those who hadn’t any publications that represented the points of view of those rich in melanin. Our hair, our taste, our way of speaking. I’ve always gotten a kick out of those who complain about their being a BET channel on cable, or the fact that we had magazines that catered to us. Like the rest of the 98% of publications included us on their publications.

Since I was a kid, I’ve only known three mainstays on television when it came to blackness: Negative news stories, pro athletes, and whoever made music for a living. What message was I, or whomever else suppose to think of us as a people, when that’s all we ever saw on tv? What subliminal seeds were being planted?

Television has always served as sort of a control box, and I believe it’s shaped the thinking of people around the world one way or the other.

We now live in era where everyone and everything seems accessible due to the internet. We are free (for now), to search up what we want. To gather any piece of info we want. But the past, dictates the future. As a people Americans just like to act informed. Everyone is so busy trying to impress one another with their faux wokeness and fake outrage these days that, many are still oblivious to what is in plain sight.

Which brings me back around to representation.

What do you think of when you think of black people?

Cool?

Black Lives Matter?

Hip Hop?

LeBron James?

Anything important?

Did doctor or lawyer pop into your head? If not, you’ve been trained. But you’re not alone. Most of us have. So much so, that our kids aspire to be you’re entertainment. At least that’s how it feels. Jump on any social media platform, go to any school, or even ask your own kid what they truly want to be.

Who isn’t a rapper nowadays? Who are mostly represented on AAU teams? How do other races talk to black people when they first meet them?

My point to this piece is to create awareness. Awareness to those who are raising black children, awareness to those who work with black people, and even to the media. From bloggers to traditional news outlets.

We are also teachers, engineers, social workers, bus drivers, fire fighters, realtors writers, thinkers and everything in-between.

Problem is, if you let the internet, tv, Hollywood, and Fox news tell it, the aforementioned  doesn’t exist. And unfortunately, that is what’s dominating the war on the people’s attention.

Always being expected to be the entertainment begets more of the same. So our kids don’t aspire to be more, and no one expects anything more. I want better.✌🏿

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Representation

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  1. “As a people Americans just like to act informed. Everyone is so busy trying to impress one another with their faux wokeness and fake outrage these days that, many are still oblivious to what is in plain sight.” AGREED!!!

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