Cultural Significance of Minorities in Film

Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler with an almost all-black cast, topped $1 billion in the global box office with numbers still rising. The Oscar-winning Pixar animation, Coco, revolved around Mexican characters and was voiced entirely by Latino actors. Jordan Peele, director of Get Out, became the first black director to win an Original Screenplay Award at the 2018 Oscars.

There is an increasing amount of change in the movie industry. Cultural representation in media has allowed many daring individuals to give minorities a voice through the big screen. With a slow rise in popularity for Americans with Latino, Asian, Hispanic, and African origins, movies have become a notable medium for individuals to let their name and race be heard. These figures on screen have started to make a huge cultural impact on the way young minds view the world and the way people have started to change it.

Many long-time movie fans of all genres have started out as children admiring characters from a cartoon or show on TV. Looking to heroes, idols, and superstars, children adore characters similar to themselves, delving into the dreams that they, too, can be like the models on screen.

Watching actors of their own race and color is an inspiration for many. Proper use of equal diversity in films imitating the real world promotes accurate realism that allows its audience to fully relate to the fictional world. The next generation can be aware of the world’s diversity at a young age and learn to respect it. In a way, appropriate representation in movies can form an impact on the world and its future generations.

Diversity in film also affects the perception of races and other minorities in the real world. An inclusive community recognizes each and every individual for their differences and values those distinctions. Representation means portraying each group for its variation of perspectives, ideas, and experiences. The importance of multicultural representation in the world can be stimulated and brought to awareness by incorporating actors and actresses of distinct backgrounds in popular movies and films. Films expand our limited view of reality. By bringing people of all colors and race to the screen for millions to see, our perspectives on reality and those deemed “different” can be broadened.

This year is one for celebration with high hopes in the film industry, but the fight is never over. We need more roles to play, movies to direct, and scripts to write. More importantly, we need a louder voice to be heard. Gender and racial equality has not been fully achieved; however, there has been a significant improvement. By taking things one step at a time, the goals towards equality gradually approaches.

Janus Kwong
staff writer

Graphic: Amelia Chen

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