By Shayler Richmond
The media is composed of gatekeepers but we have the keys.
The lack of diversity in the decision making rooms is why for so long the stories reaching large audiences have lacked diversity. The media is a segmented market, but historically the segments have been disproportionately structured for white storytelling because with white majority power comes privilege, and their privilege has included being decision makers that only consider themselves and people that look like them.
The media is a tool used to deliver messages, we’ve all heard the term don’t shoot the messenger, but that doesn’t mean sit in your poor thoughts surrounding the messages you are receiving, or to turn your ears off… If you don’t like the message, then get a new messenger.
The conversation is up to us. We must tell complete stories with context; not to prove a point but because we are the point. We are the wave. Do your research and be informed. The biggest separation between the top of the caste and the bottom is access to information. We don't know we're great because no one told us. We don't know we can because no one showed us.
What you feed will grow and feeding media entities is giving them your viewership or clicks. It takes a lot for anyone, but especially Black women and men to put aside their trauma and say something or do something to shake or pull someone into consciousness. Generally people don't like hard truths; generally people enjoy their comfort zone; don't be general.
The media's ability to connect people and share information married with our individual and collective efforts to move the cultural conversations forward is constantly being opposed by selfishness, lack of community and people pushing hate, spreading lies and their refusal to provide substance or context.
This is a fight like so many that if you are not a part of the solution then you are a part of the problem. Coloring inside the lines means nothing if truth and authenticity is in the margins. For so long to be a minority has been to live a relegated life experience, accepting suffering, but with each new generation we break more and more chains.
Topics that were never centered at the table and in over arching conversations before are being centered; such as, victimization, colorism, racism, homophobia, police brutality and other forms of discrimination for hair, clothing, gender, spirituality and more.
However, with every step forward there will be fear driven people and rhetoric that attempts to drive progression backwards, but we must decide what history books will say about our time. The narrative is in our hands.
When you’re gathering news consider: how the story affects people; who is telling the story; and is the story being received by who needs to receive it. We don’t need representation to be a face, we need representation that is action and accountable to continuing to move us forward.
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