Why Does POC Representation Matter?


Mia Low

Representation on screen hasn’t always been the best; cartoons and Tv shows were usually full of hurtful stereotypes. Thankfully, people are starting to speak up and defend themselves. Now, shows, literature, and the media in general have more amazing representation than ever before. 

POC is one of the bigger groups of people that have dealt with hateful insults and slurs. For those who don’t know, POC stands for “people of color” or “person of color.” It includes, but not limited to, Black or African American, East Asian, South East Asian, South Asian, Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders. It’s hard to say when the fighting against racial injustice started, but the most recent and what seems to be the most controversial was the BLM movement. BLM (aka “Black Lives Matter”). Starting in 2013, it was a social movement protesting all racially motivated violence and protesting against police brutality against black people. 

But why is it needed for people to fight for basic human rights? My answer to that would be how people of color are portrayed in the media. The media has always been promoting racial stereotypes and I believe that these stereotypes have been stopping people from seeing a person of color as an actual human being. These stereotypes will range from appearances to even exaggerated personality traits. If I’m enjoying myself and see something that is harmful to myself or others just because of cultural backgrounds it would stick to me forever. Sometimes, the representation has seemed disingenuous; as if the creator was required to add the representation.

A character that looks like me is something I look for in everything I enjoy. Studies have also shown that not being able to see yourself represented in pop culture can have a negative impact on mental health. Many teenagers have also said that they enjoy being accurately represented in the media because it makes them feel like they are a part of something and aren’t just forgotten.

Vice principal Mr. Flores has said, “It’s important that they are represented because we as a world have many different types of race and culture. When you just represent one side you are not representing all the others. So, it’s important to represent everyone. When we don’t include people of color we are excluding different groups of people.” A student from Rio Norte has also stated, “I believe that POC representation matters because in the end, we are all human. I think when it comes to who is on tv, there should be a big diversity of people. What we look like should not determine who we are, instead how we should act.”

Anyone should be able to see themselves represented in the media. As long as we continue to make things better and don’t deny what is going on. Representation has come a long way and will continue to be better in the future.