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diversity header

there’s been some talk on diversity (among race, gender, and sexual orientation) on the internet and i wanted to join the conversation! this might be a controversial and heavy topic, but i still want to voice my opinions.

here’s what specifically triggered my blog-posting-inspiration:

  • a post on rookie magazine
  • a video by jefferyfever on why chinese people aren’t cool
  • people on twitter discussing the diversity of luke’s casting for the shadowhunters
  • a video by motoki maxted on saying “you’re gay.”
  • the dive into diversity challenge!
  • another post by rookie. (thanks for sharing it with me, annie!!
  • discrimination among races and sexes continue to exist.

    for those of you who don’t know, i’m chinese. i never thought much about it; it’s honestly just who i am. for most of my life, i was ignorant of the strong oppression and mistreatment to blacks and other races/colors in america. i mean, i knew, but i didn’t really know until this year – thanks to ferguson, baltimore, etc. i feel like asians in general are the “middle men.” by that, i mean we’re not completely oppressed, but we’re also not the ‘standard’ for humans (which is primarily known as whites). sure, we’re not treated 100% equally, but we’re also not treated poorly. if you see an asian stranger, you’d probably assume they’re capable enough and smart. (see: “why asian americans might not talk about ferguson”) however if you see a black stranger, you’d probably be cautious of your belongings and self. why do these stereotypes exist? why should they exist??? the answer is simple: they shouldn’t. if you read the rookie post – which you really should – you’d know from the first paragraph that racial stereotypes and differences are acknowledged even from a young age. four years old! the only thing babies know are what their parents taught and what they learn from their peers/observing others.

    assuming someone is “_________” due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation is stupid.

    there are good and bad people everywhere, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation… how can you assume someone has ____ personality simply because of their race? it makes no sense, whatsoever. it’s something someone is born with, not something by choice. if you disagree, please enlighten me.

    a cardboard cutout of a human being shouldn’t exist; living creatures are all different and unique in their own way. having a standard on how humans should look, be, or act is frustrating to those who seek it and disappointing/hateful to those who can’t fulfill it.

    if you read paper towns, by john green, i think this – stereotypes and the like – is what margo meant when she said “paper people.” it’s time to accept these few permanent facts:

  • people come in all different shapes and sizes.
  • that also means they come in different races and colors.
  • people are free to love whoever they want
  • judging someone based on something they have no control over is absolutely awful*
  • *this is not an actual fact, but my opinion is so strong it may as well be a fact.

    i believe pop culture is one of the main reasons as to why discrimination continues to thrive.

    in the rookie post, the little girl didn’t want the black barbie because “they weren’t the dolls from the commercial” – even though she was black herself. can you imagine if your own child had said that to you, not knowing what it really meant? the way i see it, the kid was saying, “i’m not proud of my skin. i don’t like it, and there’s nothing i can do about it.” obviously, with the child being only four, she may not have meant that, but that isn’t what i interpreted. people shouldn’t be afraid to be proud of themselves.

    television, magazines, books, movies, and music are all things that add up to pop culture. the internet is also extremely impactful. we may not know it, but our small actions online (such as blog posts and tweets) can really change someone else’s perspective. especially in our day and age, the media is the main seed for everything.

    which is why i’m extremely grateful and happy and proud that the shadowhunters cast is diverse, as there are still many shows and movies that are white-centered. i also love books with diversity (duh!) such as: simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda, by becky albertalli (LGBTQ); to all the boys i’ve loved before, by jenny han (race); eleanor & park, by rainbow rowell (races), to name a few. there’s also an entire blog dedicated to diverse books! you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already. these small things, including this blog post**, make huge changes.

    many people – like i was – are ignorant to all this (which is why diverse shows/movies/books are so important!), or they’re choosing to ignore it. ignoring the problem does not fix it. some may argue that it’s fruitless and dumb, but is it so wrong to hope for a better future? i know it’s impossible to change everyone’s viewpoint, but i think it’s still worth an effort. i’d like to live in a world where we don’t need to worry about others judging you about the color of your skin, or what your gender is, or who you sexually prefer. maybe it’s too much to ask, but maybe it’s not.

    **i wasn’t sure about publishing this blog post, but after talking to a few friends and their encouragement gave me a small confidence boost.

    what do you think about diversity and stereotypes? please let me know in the comments!

    – alexandra

    Alexandra Ling

    alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

    • I don’t really have anything to add, but this is a great post and very important. Hopefully characters in books and all other things will continue to become more diverse. Both for understand and so people can have characters similar to themselves.

    • ALEXANDRA I LOVE THIS POST. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. YOU HAVE EXPRESSED ALL THE THOUGHTS I HAVE SO ELOQUENTLY AND I JUST <333333

      I actually noticed that same article on Rookie a few days ago and though i didn't read the entire thing, even the bits i read were very impactful. and it came after another article i read on rookie (written by one of my favourite contributors, jenny zhang!) about being chinese and being different from her classmates. (called not that girl in the weezer song? or something like that?) and i just thought it was so eye-opening. so for that reason, i've been thinking a lot about this same topic lately.

      i'm chinese too and definitely understand where you're coming from about chinese / east asians being the middlemen. like yeah there is a lot of racism against chinese and asians too im sure but especially in america, i feel like you also don't have that same level of negativity surrounding chinese people as you do with black people and i guess you can't complain for not being discriminated against but i feel like chinese people on a whole are just ignored? like there just isn't a lot of representation in pop culture / media at all so i think a lot of people have hurtful / wrong perceptions of chinese people. like how we all can't speak english and are super smart and don't focus on anything else besides schoolwork.

      and so because of that i've noticed that i've sorta subconsciously tried to rebrand myself as the opposite of that perception? so in that way i'm like really paranoid that i have an accent when i speak english even though it's my first language and i'm paranoid about saying the right thing and acting the right way so maybe it's not THAT subconscious but like yeah i definitely agree with how it starts at a young age. like i've never been made to feel an outsider bc i've been really lucky and live in a country that has a lot of diversity and multiculturalism but it's hard not to notice when you're not seeing people who look like you on tv or in books.

      there's this really great quote from shonda rhimes when she was asked about the diversity in her shows (i don't actually watch any) and it was so kickass. like YES. it was something about how she's sick of getting asked that because all she's doing is representing the real world and the real world has people from all different backgrounds… something along the lines of that and it just so reflects my opinions like that's amazing.

      i wish for the day when diversity won't be something that you have to consciously make an effort to have. i wish for the day when it's just natural because hey while its great that there's such a strong focus on inclusion of all types of people i also think that as long as it's still something that has to be FOCUSED on, there will still be judgement etc. although i guess its wishful thinking that everyone is equal one day but at least if there weren't as clear cut lines as there are now.

      so anyway love this post because it's so important. you're right, even little things like writing a post can make such a huge difference and could have the potential to open the eyes of someone.

      • THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! your comment seriously made my day. it was super insight and exactly the response i was hoping for. i was iffy about posting this, but i feel much better about it now 🙂

        was that rookie post you were talking about this one? i just read it, and all i can say is… wow. jenny has always been one of my favorite contributors as well, so i can’t believe i missed this post. it’s beautiful and wonderful and accurate. it is literally the best thing ever. she says something along the lines of “being the idea of someone is better than being no one at all” and i feel like that relates to what you were saying about chinese people being invisible. in some ways, the small fact that we’re being ignored is as equally hurtful as being directly insulted like blacks. there are a lot of people (who are black) that are being discriminated, yes, but there are also a lot of people who aren’t discriminating them. for us, they don’t have a definite or sure opinion. it makes me SO HAPPY whenever i see asian characters in books, tv shows, and movies because people still don’t know what to think of us – except: “tiny eyes,” loves to study, and bad english.

        i definitely know what you mean when you say you’re trying to be the opposite of that stereotype. i never felt like an “outsider” as a child because i was raised in an area that is 90% asian/chinese. by the time i moved, i was already 9 or 10. i did receive racist remarks afterwards but never felt like i was ‘wrong’ like jenny mentioned.

        the quote you were talking about is SO TRUE. the world is created with people from different races and places (rhyming!), so that’s how people should be represented. i wish the clean differences among people didn’t exist. but unfortunately as of right now, that’s wishful thinking. (whatever, we can do our wishful thinking together hehe) hopefully, everyone can do little things that will add up to the big things.

        again, THANK YOU for commenting!! i love love loooooved your input. <333

    • hi alexandra! first of all i would just like to say that this was a really important post and thank you for writing it. i can totally understand where you’re coming from, because although i’m not asian, i’m a *muslim* turkish-american. (emphasis on “muslim”) my mom wears a headscarf and i really hope to wear one as well in the near future.

      of course, though, there are the steorotypes that surround muslims, especially women. “did your father force you to wear a headscarf?” “why do you wear it?” “isn’t it annoying?” and the thing is, its so damn annoying. noone’s being forced to wear a headscarf, which is what people don’t understand, and i just hate the steorotypes that come along with it.

      anyways, again i would just like to thank you for writing this post because people need to STOP with their judging. i hope that, in the future, it will stop, and also there will be more diverse books, movies, tv shows, etc.

      –silanur

      • thank you for commenting and appreciating it, silanur! i was really unsure about posting something as controversial as this, but after seeing some people comment, i’m really glad i put this out. it’s really awful how you get questions and remarks about wearing a headscarf and being “muslim.” it should be none of their business.

        however, i realized that some people don’t intend to be (incredibly) rude, but they’re just genuinely curious. which brings me back to the fact that there isn’t a real and accurate representation in the media for people to know. (not that i know of at least) i sincerely hope the stereotypes stop/change and there is more diverse content!

    • Oh, I love this post Alexandra! I totally feel your struggle. Maybe not the same way because I haven’t been exposed to the real world and judgement, but really seeing what others go through make me sick.
      I had the same discussion about race and judgement (with myself of course, weird I know) when all of this casting for The Shadowhunters happened. It really made me mad and sad how hateful and mean a person can be towards the race of other person; and since I’m hispanic and they casted hispanic actors (who recieved and are still recieving hateful comments) I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to me, or someone close to me when we explore those kind of societies? would white privileged people put me aside just because I’m hispanic? Really, it sounds awful. I know not everyone is like that, I still have a *little* faith in humanity.
      Also, that thing of the stereotypes… again, awful. You see, some tend to think hispanics/latinos have this certain hair/eye/skin color, that we listen to salsa all the time, that we have an ´´attitude´´ and that basically we live in an old era or something like that. When in truth, being latino embodies diversity of races and ways of thinking. I really hope all this crap of stereotypes and judgement stop once in for all, and it gets replaced with peace, acceptance and love for everyone <3
      Great post, Alexandra. I'm glad you decided to dive in this important topic!