Written by Chelle M
If you’re a cishet white american and you turn on the TV or pick up a book you will most likely find characters you can relate to immediately. I’m not talking about common tropes like “awkward new girl” but about race, nationality, sexuality, gender and more.
Most American shows, movies and books lack diversity, and more important, good representation. What’s the point of having a foreign character if you’re just going to depict them as stupid? What is the point of having gay male characters on TV if you’re going to make them all stereotypical? Many creators would no doubt prefer if American citizens are only cis gender, heterosexual and white but that just isn’t the truth.
America is a overflowing pot of culture and diversity. There are thousands of people of different gender identities, races, backgrounds and sexualities but stories we tell don’t reflect that.
For minorities representation is vital to their enjoyment of these medias. If I see a bisexual character or one which is from Bulgaria I am more likely to continue reading or watching. That character is likely the one I will be routing for too and I know it’s the same for many other people. In America minorities are always being prosecuted for what makes them different.These characters wont fix all the issues in this country but they can make someone’s life very different if they are finally seeing someone with the same struggles as them. For kids growing up, it is vital to have someone who looks like them or feels the way they do, so they know they aren’t strange and that they are beautiful and valid too. It can also make people who are being discriminatory finally be more accepting.
So, dear writers, create diverse characters and portray them in a positive light. Write black, hispanic and muslim characters.Make trans characters the main one, not just a distant side kick we never get to see or learn about. Write Russian, or Bulgarian, or Polish characters, immigrants from all over the world including North America. People of different sexualities and gender identities. Stop bombarding us with the cookie-cutter cishet white american we are sick of seeing on the big screen and in books. We need diverse characters, and we need them now.