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  • Writer's pictureRylee Anderson

Racial and Cultural Diversity in the Media

We’re all aware of the power of social media. Through apps, profiles and even the data we input into our devices, we’re able to reach abundant amounts of people globally. The media has also proven itself to be extremely resourceful, allowing us to be able to research and learn about different cultures, traditions and ethnicities. With the help of it, we are able to represent differing parts of our cultures and traditions to share with the world. However, there still remains neglect in the representation of the more uncommon ethnicities and cultural traditions.

While I will agree with the idea that the media has allowed for a lot of expression to the world of sexual orientation, identity, political views, mental health, body positivity and differing lifestyles, I still believe that the media tends to neglect those of a more uncommon racial or cultural background. As an Afakasi female, who grew up in the world of social media, being mixed with both White and Pacific Islander, I relied heavily on representation and information of my Pacific Islander heritage to help me understand and appreciate the traits and beauty of the culture I always found myself questioning. I would see the occasional traditional Polynesian dance, the music and even sometimes the legends pertaining to the different islands. However, the representation was limited. When attempting to learn the Hawaiian or Tongan language, or even researching the history of the Polynesian ancestors, there has always seemed to be a lack of resources.

I found it to be a struggle when attempting to learn about, what I perceived to be, a neglected culture in the media. The lack of representation and resources left me curious, and in some ways, desperate to find and accept the traits I inherited from my Polynesian culture or just being able to appreciate our cultures’ beauty. I think that in some instances, that even made me feel insecure about the culture– and I know I’m not alone. It is not uncommon to see more diverse or uncommon cultures struggle with learning to accept and find proper representation of their culture. I will confidently agree that our identity relies more on our character and finding characteristics of ourselves that define who we are or rather– who we want to be. Still, I would like to acknowledge the impact culture and racial representation has on the view of ourselves and appreciation of others.

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