Media hasn’t always been the most diverse. I’ve always known that, mainly because I could see famous channels and networks not always having women at the front, or people of color.
Newsrooms for old and new media are still often lead by Caucasian men and though a lot of the content they create is funny, important, and great for sharing on social media, it often doesn’t touch upon certain issues. Especially issues that affect women and people of color.
Often times, a point would be made or a perspective would be presented as the default of what a lot of people thought, and I would be confused. It didn’t ring true for me or for a lot of people that I knew, especially if they were POCs, weren’t straight, or weren’t men. It’s not that the perspective wasn’t important; it was just that I didn’t think it should have been the only one.
That’s why I’m really excited about a lot of new media companies online that give a unique perspective. I was excited when I first heard of websites like FLAMA, Remezcla, We are Mitú, and Pero Like. They didn’t just have random generic videos about “Latinos” they had specific Latino based content that spoke to the diversity of different ethnic groups in Latin America and how one thing connected to the other.
I was able to relate to videos that highlighted similarities and differences within different cultures. I also love videos that highlight issues like misconceptions about Latinos, challenges the community faces in different aspects of life, and even fun stuff like why being Latino is fun. I also loved posts that I couldn’t relate to, because it usually meant that I was learning about other countries and other ways of speaking Spanish.
One of my favorite aspects of those videos was when a lot of different types of Latinos discussed different aspects about cultural issues or taboos. It shows me that the actors, editors, and producers behind the videos and posts are aware of the diversity found in Latin American countries and communities.
Many touch upon controversial issues like approaching religion or the taboo of not belonging to one in certain Latino communities in the US. There have also be discussions like being LGBTQ as a Latino, why certain countries like Venezuela is experiencing a crisis that’s affecting a lot of people, or how Puerto Rico’s economic crisis is causing school and hospital closures.
Not only did I get to learn while watching those videos, I began to see that there is an interest in different aspects of Latino communities on the US, and that someone was actually trying to make quality work about that. The videos weren’t those generic “stuff Latinos do” that only really spoke to stereotypes or portrayed something that was part of one particular culture and then tried to pass it off as generic.
The new networks are different; they actually try to highlight the differences between different groups. They also have fun videos, like a culture battle between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans (which is were my family is from). There are also fun food based videos or people exchanging holiday dishes, which is always awesome and delicious to watch.
As someone who wants to help serve her community and assist in adding more diversity to media, seeing all of those new networks has given me hope that there is a significant audience for that kind of work. I’ve always wanted to use blogging and reporting to help build more awareness of Latinos in the media.
I’d like to contribute not only my perspective as someone from two Caribbean based cultures, but for other groups as well. Seeing niche groups and themes like those created on pages like We Are Mitú or Pero Like shows me that it’s possible to have fun media and show diversity. I’m excited to hopefully be a part of something like that one day.
Websites like The Tempest have also given me opportunities to help add my perspective and to read ones that are different from mine. It’s been so much fun to be able to add that to the list of websites that I can read and find not only posts that reflect my life, but also way sot learn more about other people.
Not only does it motivate me to continue to do my work, those networks also show me that my perspective is worth sharing. I’m excited to see how many more blogs, networks, and media projects come about. Judging from the quality of the work, it’s going to be great.
I’ve seen bloggers and YouTubers who have channels dedicated to Asian Americans, mixed race millennials, and African Americans as well. Hopefully, that begins to transcend into more mainstream networks, projects, and newsrooms. I’ll be waiting until then.