Monday, February 01, 2010

Seeing ourselves in the media

If you're on Facebook, you might have noticed that your friends have lately been changing their profile picture to "their celebrity doppelganger." Something you might NOT have noticed is that people of color haven't really been playing along. Why not? Maybe because when they try to think of celebrities who look like them, the list is just too small. While most white people can think of a celebrity who shares their hair color and length, the shape of their eyes, their smile, it's much less likely that all of your Asian friends happen to look like Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, or John Cho. What are the odds, really?

Yet another moment when we realize that something is missing from our media landscape -- the faces of people who look like us and our friends. As it is, most Asian people have probably been told that they DO look like Lucy Liu or Sandra Oh, even if they look nothing like them (all look same right? wrong!). This Facebook meme offers a perfect opportunity to really think about what kind of people populate the media and what kind of people are missing. What would it feel like if you never saw anyone who looked like you, sounded like you, shared your experiences and histories in the media? If you never felt like one day you could be a famous celebrity?

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