Sunday, September 27, 2015

Racially Separated at the Head

Anthony Eliopoulos

No matter what we as a society tell ourselves, there is a prominent racial division that faces our nation. This is clear by not only recent police shootings, who makes the most money, who lives on welfare, but also the diversity inside of workplaces. I see it everywhere. It's plastered on social media. It's glamorized on Twitter by accounts such as, "Black People Vines" or "Things White Folks Like." By "it" I don't mean racism. I mean a sense of separation. A false knowingness that since people are of a different race, they're automatically different. A 62-year-old African-American woman could have more in common with a teenage white kid than with someone of her own age and race. So how does this false sense of separation affect us?

In her article, Why Newsroom Diversity Works, Alicia Stewart states that, "only 25 percent of African-Americans and 33 percent of Hispanics said the news media accurately portrayed their communities." While I agree this is a problem, I do not feel that Stewart hits the nail on the head. Yes, we need diversity in newsrooms, like every other workplace, so we can accurately portray what is happening in the world. But who are we portraying it to? She uses the word "their" as if it's actually their community, but instead it is OUR community. An African-American reporter should not be hired merely to appease her own race, but to shed light to all races.

When I hear phrases like the "African-American community," I feel separated. Separated because I want to be a part of those communities. I want to be a part of the Asian community and the Hispanic community. I want to be able to turn on the television and listen to a Muslim reporter talk about the problems that her wold is facing so I know what needs to be done to fix the problem. So far, I have not seen that. Rather, I see the same people I always do, talking about the same thing they always do.

When a late night anchor or talk show host steps down, major news outlets fill major late night positions with standard and safe replacements. That is until The Daily Show replaced host Jon Stewart with a South African comedian, Trevor Noah.

Photo courtesy of

While Comedy Central isn't a big time network and probably not the most reliable destination for news, it has the ability to be the catalyst for change America needs. Larry Wilmore, who replaced Stephen Colbert's slot, has turned talking about the issues into systematic issues that need to be resolved. Comedy Central could had gone with another white male like John Oliver or Jason Jones. Or even broken the gender late night ceiling with Amy Poehler. But none of them would be able to do what Trevor Noah has the potential do, and that's to help change the preconceived mindset that America developed over races. With an unfiltered and unamerican voice (literally), Noah can bring to light the problems that face the racially separated America we live in today. Only when the mindset is changed is when we'll be able to become a truly diversified nation. 

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