One thing is abundantly clear: we are not doing enough. Even those who consider themselves allies and try to do their level best are not doing enough. And if we all go into our daily lives with that belief, that we need to do better, then MAYBE we can push change through.
And it must be a push. This is not about liberal back-patting or virtual signaling or whatever. This is about a fundamental mental and cultural shift. What matters is the mass normalization of an idea, an idea that many support but do little to enact.
The idea that all people deserve equality, dignity, and personhood. Black lives matter, POC deserve to be heard AND to be listened to, and to dictate the conversation. This is not the current default mindset. It requires activism, social and emotional intelligence, understanding.
And it DEMANDS representation. Representation is the key to both common ground, which bridges divides, but also EMPATHY, to understand the differences without dismissing them. We're talking representation in politics, representation in business, and representation in media.
Media, and the creatives behind it, must be dedicated to representation onscreen. But to do that in any meaningful way, we must ACTIVELY SEEK representation offscreen. It breeds authenticity, understanding, and the normalization of experiences and viewpoints often overlooked.
If you are in a position to do so, HIRE BLACK CREATIVES. Hire people with differing backgrounds and viewpoints. It's not enough to put them onscreen without understanding their experience. That's not diversity, that's the Burger King Kids Club.
"But I don't get enough diverse submissions!" you say. Unfortunately, MOST working creatives are where they are because of privilege. Not just "white people hire white people" privilege, but also the privilege of having the time/money/ability to pursue creative fields.
Execs will never hand you enough diverse samples by default. You have to go hunting for them. Search the WGA lists, the internet, creator blogs, social. Share them with others. It is easier than ever to find diverse voices if you actively want to go looking for them.
And, hey, fellow Latinx creatives, we don't get a pass. We're all out here trying to fight hard for our own representation, but that doesn't mean we get to exclude other communities in that push. I have certainly fallen victim to that trap. But that's how allies are created.
The national reaction to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, EVERYTHING we're seeing right now is equal parts epic, encouraging, disheartening, panic-inducing, and historic. And many are asking "Why is THIS the moment that got a huge response, as opposed to all the other moments?"
(which is, in itself, an INCREDIBLY disheartening question)
I can only hope that, in a moment of GLOBAL PANDEMIC, where we all have something in common, the reason is empathy. People of every background, glued to their screens, seeing an injustice and finally saying "enough". And, again hopefully, realizing that we aren't doing enough.
So protest, donate, support, listen. Actively make changes in how you live, how you work, how you think in order to support the ideals you tell yourself you have. And once you've done that, realize it's not enough and do more.
You can follow @FrankAngones.
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