The lack of representation in literature, the perfoming arts, and film has always been a source of frustation and disappointment for me. And when represention was present in these media, the image of blacks and other people of color were distorted. Such deficiencies and oversimplified images of non-whites are damaging to the psyche of everyone, not just persons of color.
But how do we remedy the lack of diversity? Do we demand that writers who are published and produced and who tend to be white create black characters? Or demand that the gate keepers (the publishers and producers), who are also mostly white, promote diversity?
Hell, yes. I can’t imagine these creaters live in a vacuum where people of color do not exist. Yet, in so many works, there are no blacks in the future. Black have been erased from history or white-washed, or have been included so that they can sacrifice themselves for the white characters.
But I feel as an artist, I have a responsiblity to create works of art that is inclusive and diverse. More than that, if I want to read books with characters that looked like me, I realized now, I have to create them. I must create the adventures and worlds in which I would like to immerse myself. And, those worlds should look like the one I live in which is populated by all ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientation.
Persons of Color cannot rely on white artists and the publishers and producers to acqueisce to the demand. We have to be the artists and we have to be the gatekeepers. So that’s what I’m doing.