Why Representation Matters in the Blogosphere: Here Are Some Bloggers of Color You Should Read
When I was growing up, my peers didn’t know where or what South Korea was. I watched shows like Full House and played with my Precious Moments doll (her name was Lucy) that made me despair at the fact that my someday children would never have blonde hair or blue eyes.
The first and only references to Korean culture I would hear as a teenager were nail salons, dry cleaners, and smelly refrigerators. Even as an adult, I’ve gotten the “North or South?” Despite all this, I’d never truly realized the importance of representation (or how much it mattered to me personally) until I saw the other half of me, before the hyphen, being represented.
Suddenly, pork belly is a trendy hipster meat, and non-Koreans are fermenting their own homemade kimchi. Everyone knows what bibimbap is and claims it’s their favorite Korean food. A Korean boy band is number one on American charts. High school students are learning Korean as independent study.
That a Korean girl group would collaborate with an English-speaking singer to reach nearly 60 million views on the YouTube video for this song, that I was featured in Gal Meets Glam’s Gal on the Go series, showcasing not only three gorgeous outfits, but also my life and story in my new home city of Seoul, that I even live and teach in Seoul (!), are all things I never would have dreamed of.
All of this is so important to me for so many reasons, many of which I’ve processed and many of which I’m still unable to put into words.
While we are making progress, people of color are still disproportionately underrepresented in the media, and this trickles down to social media and the blogosphere. As with all matters of disparity, there is of course a long history behind and slew of reasons why things are the way they are. But the heart of it all is, representation matters.
Think of the Instagrammers, bloggers, vloggers, and other influencers you know with the biggest followings. How many are people of color?
Think of Follow Fridays, Five to Follows—how often do these big (and even smaller) Instagrammers, bloggers, vloggers, and influencers share accounts of people of color?
I can’t tell you how rare it is, and how often I’m disappointed to see more of the same. But I’m guilty of it as well. So few of the accounts I regularly follow belong to people of color. It’s something I want to be more conscious of and make an effort towards.