The Gustavian Weekly

Representation still matters | The Gustavian Weekly

By Emily Sepptlet - Opinion Columnist | September 28, 2018 | Opinion

The International Festival shows diversity on Gustavus’ campus each year.

The International Festival shows diversity on Gustavus’ campus each year.

Looking around GAC, anyone can see that Gustavus is not exactly the most diverse college campus. With the Emmy’s just behind us, all over the news are reports about the award ceremony’s diversity, or better said, lack of diversity again this year. But how important is representation in the media anyways?

It turns out, representation is much more important than many people might think. When children don’t see themselves in the media, they have a harder time imagining themselves in any situation other than the one they are in.

“It’s hard to [have] confidence in something if you never see anyone like you doing it,”Assistant Director of the Diversity Center Janet Jennings said.

Minority representation numbers in the media are quite staggering. According to Business Insider, in 2016 only 13.6% of speaking characters in television were black, 5% Asian, and 3.1% Hispanic.

And the little representation  people of color receive is often the same cookie cutter character. This can lead to bias and problems in real life. When a white person grows up with very few people of color around them, sometimes the people that they see on TV become what they expect of all people of that race or ethnicity.

“Media needs to represent a wide variety of diverse people of color, not just one type of person,” Jennings said.

Not seeing anyone like you in the media is also just a terrible feeling. For example, up until the last few years, there have been very few happy queer stories in the media. Many times, someone in the couple would end up dying, moving away, or the couple would just break up altogether, if they even existed in the first place.

Not to mention that if there ever was any queer character, they were male. If there was a happy story, oftentimes any straight relationship that the woman had would be totally invalidated. This phenomenon is most often referred to as bi-erasure.

It can be disheartening to never see anyone like you in your life or in the media. It often  leads to queer people questioning if their identity is valid or even real. Imagine almost never seeing someone like you portrayed in a positive light.

So, you can understand the joy that a person may feel when they see a bisexual person in the media. This kind of joy can be applied to any sort of minority group that gets the chance to see themselves on screen. Seeing someone like you can give a person the confidence to walk with pride for their identity or race.

Another group that people may not have thought of as underrepresented are women. While women make up 51% of the population, they are still considered a minority based on their status in our patriarchal society. According to Business Insider, of the 4,583 speaking characters studied from the top 100 films of 2016, only 31.4 percent were female.

“American media is dominated [by] straight white men. Everyone should have the opportunity to be represented. More diverse women should get the spotlight,” First-year  feminist Emily Falk said.

And when women do have prominent roles within a film or TV show, they are usually one of the three or four cookie cutter female “personalities” that have been picked from a hat. When women and girls do not identify with these cookie cutter characters, they feel the need to change how they look and/or act.

“Society’s standards for women are unrealistic, and the media should and would be a great place to see strong and emotionally vulnerable women,” Falk said.

But what can be done to diversify people we see in the media? According to Jennings, producers need to start hiring more writers that are people of color and inviting diverse people into the room.

“There are so many stories to be told, and we should give them a chance. Directors and producers need to understand that there is market for these types of movies,” Jennings said.

Falk agreed. “People in power within the media need to open their eyes and widen their gaze,” Falk said.

There are things that students can do here on campus as well. You can always stop by the Diversity Center if you want to talk. Jennings advice is to simply reach out to people of color and other minorities on campus. Jennings also recommended to educate people who may not be educated and to listen to other students’ stories

“There are a variety of ways to connect with people who are different than you–you just need to go the extra mile,” Jennings said.

When you see yourself, you see what you can be. Let’s not close those windows of opportunities but expand them so that we can recognize ourselves in the characters we love and fully see what can be.

.  Hold  on,  that’s  not  what  we’ve  been  told,  right?  Aren’t  conspiracy   theorists  old,  wacky  guys  who  believe  that  reptilians  run  the  universe?  Yes,  those  conspiracy   theorists  definitely  exist.  Just  like  there  are  people  who  go  full  crazy  on  just  about  any  other   subject  available.  While  the  idea  about  reptilians  might  have  been  true,  and  very  well  could  still   be,  such  thoughts  have  been  ridiculed  and  laughed  at  so  many  times  that  even  the  expression   ‘conspiracy  theory’  is  being  stigmatized.

Well,  if  conspiracy  theorists  were  once  seen  as  being  a  movement  for  oddballs  with   unconventional  ideas  about  the  world,  that  is  about  to  change.  Instead,  it  is  now  turning  into  a   full  scale  online  movement.  With  the  world  wide  web  allowing  new  information  to  be  publicly   available    because  of  freedom  activists  who  risk  their  life  leaking  documents,  the  conspiracy   theorists  are  not  the  same  people  as  they  once  used  to  be.  In  fact,  I  would  like  to  make  the  point   that  we  are  all,  or  at  the  very  least  should  be,  conspiracy  theorists.

Conspiracy  theories  exists  along  all  magnitudes.  A  small  conspiracy  theory  would  be  that   your  college  coach  doesn’t  play  you  because  your  hair  is  brown.  Stupid,  for  sure,  but  that  is  a   conspiracy  theory  nonetheless.  However,  internet  movements  found  on  sites  like  4Chan  and   Reddit  -­  whose  r/conspiracy  recently  moved  up  to  top  60  of  all  subreddits  -­  seem  to  all  agree   that  a  larger,  global  conspiracy  is  now  entering  one  of  its  most  critical  phases.  It  involves  Syria,   it  involves  the  Clintons  and  it  involves  pretty  much  anything  tied  to  the  the  monetary  system,  a   system  which  was  empowered  by  an  idea  put  forth  by  the  Rothschild  family  almost  a  century   ago.

You  know,  the  Rothschilds?  The  family  who  helped  set  up  the  Federal  Reserve  and  the   central  banking  system  which  is  now  one  reason  why  just  about  every  country  on  the  planet  is  in   debt  to  someone  else?  Yes,  the  Rothschilds  are  the  founding  fathers  of  the  monetary  system,   the  same  monetary  system  whose  only  factor  of  credibility  is  that  it  heavily  relies  on  that   everyone  relies  on  it.  Quite  frankly,  it’s  a  joke,  and  the  punchline  won’t  make  you  laugh.

When  the  advocations  for  ‘cash-­less’  societies  are  being  put  forward,  and  you  don’t  think   it’s  a  bad  idea  because,  after  all,  who  can  keep  track  of  all  those  damn  coins  anyway,  what  will   you  think  when  a  negative  interest  rate  removes  money  out  of  your  account  on  a  monthly  basis,   just  like  a  tax?

Sometimes,  the  easiest  way  to  understand  a  disease  is  to  look  closely  at  the  symptoms   it  produces.  How  is  it  that  in  times  of  financial  trouble,  the  only  industry  that  does  decently  well  is   the  one  that  includes  banking?  If  we  move  the  perspective  even  closer  to  our  everyday  life,  why   are  all  football  stadiums  all  named  by  banks?  If  everyone  else  is  llosing  and  only  one  industry  is   winning,  I’d  insist  that  the  game  is  heavily  distorted  to  encourage  that  industry.

N​ ew  topic,  same  conspiracy.  Who  could  tell  me  what  is  ​actually  going  on  in  Syria?  There   is  a  war,  sure,  it  would  be  hard  to  fake  images  of  buildings  being  bombed.  However,  who  could   specifically  tell  me  who  is  fighting  who,  and  what  the  final  goal  of  the  war  is?  To  defeat  ISIS?   Sure,  how  about  this;;  define  ISIS  for  me.  It  is  not  hard  to  understand  why  the  conspiracy   theorists  are  getting  more  grist  to  their  mills.  Who  benefits  from  the  wars,  not  just  the  Syrian   wars,  but  any  war?  There  are  obviously  a  variety  of  answers  to  a  question  like  that,  but  broadly   speaking,  it  causes  two  things.  First  of  all,  it  causes  mass  movement,  meaning  people  are   forced  to  go  places  they  normally  wouldn’t.  This  creates  debt,  because  as  people  who  have   nothing  tries  to  enter  places  where  people  have  things  they  need  capital  to  be  able  to  sustain  a   decent  life.  Who  benefits  from  this?  Creators  of  debt.  Banks.  Secondly,  what  do  you  do  when  a

building  is  bombed?  You  rebuild  it.  With  what  money?  Debt.  What  is  interesting  is  the  fact  that  in   2000,  Afghanistan,  Iran,  Cuba,  Libya,  Syria,  North  Korea  and  Iraq  were  among  the  few   countries  who  did  not  have  a  Rothschild  structured  central  bank.  In  2016,  those  countries  are   now  Syria,  Cuba,  North  Korea  and  Iran.  How  that  might  be  is  up  to  your  own  interpretation.

It  does  get  scary  when  you  realize  that  almost  everything  that  effects  everyday  lives  are   tied  to  the  senseless  monetary  system  we  are  forced  to  endure.  The  Clintons  are  definitely   involved,  all  you  have  to  do  is  follow  the  campaign  money.  Is  Trump  involved,  maybe.  Probably.   Most  likely.

The  ability  to  view  the  grand  perspective  is  of  highest  importance.  This  is  what   conspiracy  theorists  do  best.  They  can  understand  how  dots  connect  on  the  bigger  picture   scale.  So  before  you  dive  head  in  to  back  any  presidential  candidate  this  fall,  please  take  a  step   back  and  ask  yourself  one  question.

What  the  hell  is  going  on?

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