Media representations impart behavioural instructions and give us clear information on what is normal and what is abnormal – in short: what we should and shouldn’t do. They’re also a warning of what the consequences are if we show we are different.
If the media doesn’t show minorities at all or worse, shows us only in a negative light, it’s hard to feel like it’s acceptable to be out of the closet at all. If we worry our peers have been warned against us or given misinformation that we are [insert stereotype here], we may feel shame and avoid discussing our identity.
In addition, when there are no good low level positions for a minority at a company – say in the media – there are fewer experienced minorities and then when hiring for high level positions in that industry, management complains the minority talent simply doesn’t exist.
That reaction defends a broken system and blames minorities rather than focusing on the heart of the problem and asking what solutions we can offer.
One solution might be to include more low level positions or roles, a sort of Trickle Up effect. Low level professional roles lead to experience and produce high level performers when minorities are given a chance. Much of this in media comes down to authentic writing (writing either from one’s own experience or from a very well researched, consulted, and understood experience of another); and having a diverse group of writers or authors working on creative projects gives a project the best chance to represent diverse views and catch inaccurate or degrading stereotypes.
Bias on OKC
Star Wars: A New Hope (Script)
Are There Too Many Women In Star Wars (data)