What is DEI?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a set of values, practices, and policies that are designed to create an environment of fairness, respect, and belonging for all people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religious beliefs, or other characteristics. DEI strives to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and benefit from an organization's success.
Why is it essential in media?
DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is essential in media to ensure all voices are heard and respected. Creating a space where everyone feels welcome, appreciated, and represented is paramount. This means creating inclusive content and reflecting our society's diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It also means creating an equitable workplace, offering fair opportunities and equal resource access. DEI helps to foster an environment where everyone is supported and has the opportunity to participate in the production of media.
Positive Impacts of DEI on Media
Representation of different voices
Examples of positive DEI in modern media are as follows.
1. The film Black Panther, which featured a black superhero and a predominantly black cast, was praised for its positive representation of people of color and African culture.
2. The television show Pose, which follows a group of transgender and gender non-conforming characters, is hailed as a groundbreaking example of positive representation in the media.
3. The video game Overwatch, which features various characters from various backgrounds, is seen as a great example of diversity in gaming.
4. The film Love, Simon, which follows a teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality, was praised for its positive representation of LGBTQIA+ people.
5. The television show One Day at a Time, which follows a Cuban-American family, has been praised for its positive representation of Latinx culture.
6. The graphic novel D-Voyant, featured a Black Autistic superhero who fought for equal opportunity and treatment of a group of outcasts known as The Forgotten Ones. It has been praised for its ability to shed light on how society can overlook those with disabilities, health conditions, and economic setbacks through metaphors and a compelling plot.
DEI in media can open up a more comprehensive range of perspectives and ideas, leading to more creative solutions. Creating an inclusive environment allows people of different backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes to bring their unique ideas to the table. This can help make a more diverse range of content and stories, leading to more unique and creative solutions. Additionally, DEI in media can provide a platform for people, stories, and experiences that may not have been represented before, which can help to create more innovative and creative stories.
More inclusive storytelling
DEI in media can lead to more inclusive storytelling by encouraging media producers and marketers to create content that reflects and celebrates the diversity of our world. This means creating stories featuring characters from various backgrounds and experiences and accurately representing life's realities for different groups of people. Additionally, it means creating and promoting content free from stereotypes, racism, and other forms of discrimination. Finally, it means hiring a diverse staff that can bring unique perspectives and experiences to developing and producing content.
Negative Impacts of Lack of DEI in Media
While DEI in media is essential, it needs to be done correctly to avoid specific issues such as:
1. Lack of Representation:
Despite efforts to diversify the media landscape, many marginalized communities still need to be adequately represented in the media. This lack of representation can damage these communities as it causes them to be invisible and perpetuates stereotypes.
Tokenism occurs when an organization tries to appear diverse without making substantive changes. This can lead to token representation of marginalized groups, damaging their sense of self-worth and further marginalizing them.
3. Cultural Appropriation:
Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture appropriates elements of a marginalized culture without giving due credit or respect. This can damage the appropriated culture and further entrench power dynamics between the two.
Representation of marginalized communities in the media can sometimes be exploitative and perpetuate stereotypes. This can severely affect the represented communities and create more work for those advocating change.
Strategies for Increasing DEI in Media
1. Hiring more diverse talent
Reach out to diverse organizations and institutions: Reach out to organizations and institutions that are focused on diversity, such as the National Association of Black Journalists and the Association of Asian American Publishers. These organizations have extensive networks of diverse professionals looking for job opportunities in publishing.
Utilize job boards and diversity search engines: Utilize job boards such as JournalismJobs.com and DiversityJobs.com, as well as search engines such as Indeed and LinkedIn, to find diverse candidates.
Use social media: Use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find diverse candidates. Look for hashtags such as #PublishingJobs and #DiversityJobs to find job postings and potential candidates.
Network: Attend industry events and network with diverse professionals. Connect with people and organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the publishing industry.
Partner with diversity-focused organizations: Work with organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists and the Association of Asian American Publishers to help them promote their members and find potential candidates.
Recruit on college campuses: Recruit on college campuses and attend career fairs to find candidates just entering the job market.
2. Creating diverse content
Research the topic: Before creating content, it's essential to research the subject to understand the diversity of existing perspectives. This means reading literature from various sources, observing how people think and talk about the topic, and talking to people from different backgrounds about their experiences.
Be mindful of language: When creating content that reflects the diversity of a group, it's crucial to be aware of language. Use inclusive language that doesn't stereotype or marginalize any group of people.
Represent multiple perspectives: Content should represent multiple perspectives without privileging one. It's essential to provide an accurate representation of the diversity of opinions, experiences, and identities that exist.
Respect cultural norms: It's paramount to be aware of and respectful of them. Content should not make assumptions about any culture or group of people but should instead strive to represent the culture accurately.
Be open to feedback: Content creators should be available for input from people from diverse backgrounds. This will ensure that the content accurately reflects the diversity of perspectives.
3. Supporting Others
There are many ways to support DEI in media. Here are a few examples of how you can make a difference by supporting initiatives for DEI.
Educate yourself: Read books, articles, and blogs about DEI and the issues people from diverse backgrounds face.
Support organizations working towards DEI: Donate to organizations working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in your community or industry.
Get involved: Participate in DEI initiatives and programs in your local community, school, or workplace.
Speak out: Advocate for DEI by speaking out on social media, writing letters to representatives and attending protests.
Lobby for change: Lobby for change in your workplace or community by proposing changes to policies or practices that could lead to more equitable outcomes.
Mentor: Become a mentor for someone from a historically underrepresented group. Help them navigate the workplace, build their networks, and gain access to resources and opportunities.
In summary, DEI in media is crucial to creating a more accepting, respectful, and supportive world. The things we see feed our subconscious and our spirit. If we provide it with positivity, it will produce positivity. There are many ways to support this initiative and plenty of spaces to learn from those currently practicing what they preach and publishing DEI content.
I invite you to learn about Black Maverick Comics by visiting our website, www.blackmaverickcomics.com, and buying a copy of D-Voyant. The growing series is yet another example of true DEI in media. It should be cherished and used as a teaching tool for youth learning how to treat each other with kindness, respect, and compassion while also giving them why it is vital.
Thank you for reading.