The Importance Of Reflective Representation
How does seeing successful people--that look like you-- in the media affect you? Does it influence your limits? Your goals? Your Ideas?
For most, it normalizes the idea that someone that looks like you can achieve on a high level. It shows that your possibilities are limitless, and that you are capable of doing and being whatever you set your mind on. Seeing people that look like you on television, in film, and the media, is Reflective Representation.
How a person feels about oneself often stems from what they have been told about who they are. Expectations are determined based on our knowledge of the situation. This knowledge is usually based on direct experience or information we've gathered from things we have read or seen on a screen.
Imagine having the majority of the images that reflect you ---> showing only negative characteristics. This leads to lower expectations for people with similar features because that may be the only way that they've seen someone like them represented.
Although it makes a difference having representation on the television and the big screen, the impact of growing up with this type of representation around you, consistently, is much greater. Knowing that there are multiple successful people that look like you, and that come from the same place as you, makes the idea of you growing up to be just as high of an achiever an even greater possibility.
Last month, a lot of young girls in Tarboro, NC had the opportunity to meet and hear from successful women that grew up in the same area as them. This was a wonderful example of reflective representation right in the community.
(Click to play)
Michael's Angel's Girls Club, Inc. is an organization dedicated to educating and empowering young ladies so that they can become positive leaders in the future.
Saturday, February 24, 2018 Michael's Angels Girls Club held their Second Annual Roundtable Luncheon ["Your Present, Our Future: Career Exploration For The 21st Century Woman]
At this event the young ladies were introduced to women that looked like them/that were raised in the same town that are now successful business women and entrepreneurs. It allowed them to see that it is possible for them to achieve great things as well.
Here are highlights from Dr. Patrecia Willliams (Click to play):
In 2009, Dr. Patrecia Williams followed her dream and vision: to develop a community service organization dedicated to enriching lives and improving communities throughout the Greater Washington/Baltimore Metropolitan Area and founded The Organization of Hope, a 501(c)(3). Dr. Williams serves as Founder and Executive Director and is responsible for overseeing the organization.
See full speech at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Lu1y48K9U
Here are highlights from Marquetta Dickens (Click to play):
Marquetta Dickens was hired in July of 2017 to assume the role as Head Women's Basketball Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics. As an Assistant AD, Dickens will be responsible for team travel and acaemics, as well as serve as the SAAC Coordinator.
See full speech at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey9PQcZ7LZ4
See talk from Ashley Liggins here (Click to play) :
Ashley Liggins is a Natural Hair Care Specialist specializing in Sew Ins and Braids. She is located in Rocky Mount, NC. She always had a passion for hair. It started as just a hobby, and has now become a successful career.
See talk from Janel Glass Johnson here (Click to play):
Janel Glass Johnson started by baking and selling cookies as a fundraiser to raise money for a Back To School Bash in 2016. Her cookies were such a hit that it led to creating her cookie baking business - Mrs. J's Cookies.
Positive reflective representation is inspiring. It can erase unconscious biases about specific groups and demographics. It can ignite the greatness in a child that believes that their greatness is only limited to certain roles. That is why it is important that we continue to show positive and successful role models to our youth--in the media AND in our community.