Identifying People of Color in the Media — By Alexandra Hilliard

As a student of color, an ominous fate looms over my head and pushes my confidence out of the way. I am afraid I cannot be successful because I am a person of color. Why? You may ask. The most obvious example is the lack of people such as myself, people of color that I can identifty as looking like myself, in the media (or in experiences in personal life, but that’s not the focus here). Take my Public Policy class as an example. On Monday the class discussed the role of environmental politics and looked at a powerpoint slideshow which displayed examples of conservation laws and environmental activists from 1900 through 1970. The slideshow goes through the present day, but we just haven’t gotten there yet. The discouraging element of the powerpoint was the lack of representation of people of color in the slides. There was only one picture of a person of color and it was of Martin Luther King Jr. and it was a picture which was related to the civil rights movement in 1964. Why? Is it not understandable how someone such as myself could feel despondent, and worry because they don’t see people of color that there are not people of color doing work in the environmental movement? I am sure this can’t be true. It cannot be that no people of color have been in the environmental movement. It just must be that my professor carelessly excluded people of color from her slideshow.

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