Young gun control activist talks representation
“The media does a great job at glorifying white privileged kids." This 12-year-old American gun control activist explains why it's so important to lift the voices of women of color.
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"When we look on the news, we see the white kids who are making a difference, and we see the white kids who are speaking out, but then we see some of the same black and brown kids who are saying the exact same thing and are not getting any attention for it."
Naomi Wadler, Gun control activist
"The media does a really great job at glorifying and putting white privileged kids, as you said, at the center of every movement. I've met so many black and brown girls who have experienced violence and who have to duck from bullets to get to school. But then we think of who we actually see on TV talking about those kinds of situations. There are so many young girls of color and women of color who have been working their entire lives, fighting for their voices to be heard, knowing that they don't have an equal chance at gaining that attention and getting that recognition, yet they still continue. I think that that resilience is so admirable. But it's sad, when we don't hear their names. And we don't know who they are. And they're non-existent to us. Because when we look on the news, we see the white kids who are making a difference, and we see the white kids who are speaking out, but then we see some of the same black and brown kids who are saying the exact same thing and are not getting any attention for it. So, I think that it's the media's problem."
How could we go about fixing it?
"I think that we can raise awareness. And we can stop being so comfortable in the way we look at things. I think that we can challenge ourselves in the certain faces we think of when we think of somebody who is successful, somebody who has a lot of money, someone who is educated. When I say those words, you might think of a white person. But maybe we can start thinking of other people. We can challenge ourselves in the way that we think, like I said. So, I think that the media and TV shows and books and movies have conditioned us to think a certain way. So, I think it's important if we start to look outside of that box. Because even I, growing up, have always wanted the white doll, or have always wanted to be like the white princess. And just seeing how that is scary, seeing how that affects us. But I think that there's nothing, like you said, we can really do about the media, because that's a really big issue, and it's a culture. But I think we can do it ourselves and change the way that we think."
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