An Open Letter to the Media

Subject: An Open Letter to the Media
From: Seeker of Equality
Date: 11 May 2016

Dear Media, It’s no secret that there has always been a problem with racism in the media. Issues ranging from using adjectives like “nappy” or “unkempt” while describing natural hair, to tv and movies perpetuating racist stereotypes by giving people of color roles like “thug” or “criminal”, is thrown up in front of audiences all over the world through magazines, television, newspapers, social media sites etc. This is something that needs to stop.

While it is a deep seated issue that will take years and years to fully end racism through media, we need to start working on ways to end this now. There is a video called the “Doll Video” that you can easily access through youtube. Look it up. It is a truly heartbreaking video that shows the effects of what racism does. The video itself shows an array of children, all different races. They are shown two identical dolls. The only thing that is different is the skin color of the doll.

The children are then asked to point to the pretty/ smart/ good doll. It was expected that the children depending on their race would point to the doll that looked most like them. But what really happened, was all of the children regardless of race pointed to white doll. When asked to point to the doll that was ugly/ dumb/ bad, all the children pointed to the black doll. Their reasoning was all the same, “This doll is the bad doll because it is darker than the other doll.”

This is a clear effect of exposure to racism. While some of it is learned through social experiences, the majority of it is learned through the media and how the media portrays people with dark skin. Racism in the media will only continue to hurt society and the way we see each other if things continue on this way. If we want to stop this, we need to add more diversity to magazines, create more roles for people with darker skin in movies and tv, stop portraying “black” and “dark” as negative things.

These are just a few things that need to happen to start changing racism in the media. In reality, this is going to be a long battle, but it is an important one nevertheless. If you see racism in any form in the media, speak up about it. Call it out. If nobody says anything, nothing will change. Sincerely, Seeker of Equality