12/27/16

Tokenism



Thoughts:

  1. Having one or two people of color in a story mainly full of white people does not make the whole story racially diverse. It just makes those characters token minorities. 
  2. Same thing if the one or two people were queer, had a different gender identity, religion, body type, etc.
  3. According to Wikipedia, tokenism is "the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality within a [group]. The effort of including a token [person] to a [group] is usually intended to create the impression of social inclusiveness and diversity (racial, religious, sexual, etc.) in order to deflect accusations of social discrimination." 
  4. In my opinion, true diversity is when at least half the group is actually part of the marginalized group, in some way. An example would be the Big Hero 6 movie, Honey Lemon is Latina, Hiro, Gogo, and Tadashi are Asian, Wasabi is black, and Fred is white. That's racially diverse because there are more people of color than white people. And no Fred isn't a token minority because he comes from a privileged group of people who see themselves in the media every day, everywhere, in a wide range of roles. And they're (white people) often are the majority. Another great example is the Broadway musical, Hamilton where the main cast is predominately black or Latino, with the only white guy being King George III.
  5. So please, before you say something is diverse look at the number of people in a marginalized group and compare that to the majority (aka white, male, cisgender, straight, middle class, Christian, etc.). If there are more people still belonging to the majority than there are in the marginalized communities then it's not diverse. Also, define diverse, is it racially diverse, sexually diverse, religiously diverse, etc.?
  6. And last but not least, listen to this album my friend made. It's about his friend's and his experience about being black and brown in the United States. It's very thought-provoking and relatable to a certain extent. And yes, it is free to download.

~ Stacy N.

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