Representation in the fictional world signifies one’s empirical existence in the real world – and the absence of authentic representation specifically is a subtle violence against the legitimacy of identity. Specifically, my previous research – titled the “Symbolic Annihilation of First-Generation immigrants in Film and its Consequences on Identity” – evidenced that many of those whom participated in my interviews suffered from depression, low self-esteem due to such a dearth of acknowledgement. The cause? The physical act of not “being seen”. Unsurprisingly, my research also found that audiences of films that centre a stereotypical misrepresentation – or no representation at all – would inherently utilise such depictions as comparisons when certain minorities were branded with the same characteristics time & time again. Such flawed media representation only distorts the conceptualisation od ethnic minorities as tangible and valid existences in society, including the roles that we may play and how one should interact with us. Ethnic minorities represented in repetitive modes of stereotyping establish one-dimensional conceptualisations of the self that create a self-fulfilling prophecy od assuming that the majority expects a specific form of behaviour from us. Television holds this power to transmit this as the norm, and conversely, it equally holds the power to subvert this too.
I write to shine light on stories that are important to me and people that look like me. I want to tell stories that have for too long been ignored and need to be told, especially in a time like this. A time in which marginalized groups experience more and more racism (and its subsequent intersections with other isms such as homophobia, transphobia, ableism etc) we need to make them believe that our stories are valid and that we are part of this world.