I figure, with the start of this blog I should at least tell you why diversity means so much to me. First let me introduce my self, just in case you haven’t taken a look at my About Me page. My name is Maya Stephens, I’m a 20 year old sophomore at Norfolk State University and I am African American cisgender woman.
Growing up, I never payed attention to who was playing the characters I loved on my television screen, or who was writing the books or directing the movies. I was young and I didn’t care. It was a period of bliss and ignorance. Of course my parents and my grandparents gave me books written by African American writers in hopes to teach me to support these writers and I read them. However, as I grew older and began to pick things out for myself, I picked the things that looked interesting and fun to me.
Not many writers of color have written the books in my library.
I grew up on Disney Channel, the early 2000s and I’ve been exposed to the internet for as long as I can remember. As the Internet advanced, so did the sites and soon came Twitter and YouTube. Yep, that’s right. I learned about diversity from Twitter and YouTube.
For some time after I graduated high school in 2014, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and I found my escape on the web. Turns out, reality caught up with me faster online.
I began to see tweets about people ranting about how women were portrayed in most television shows or praises for new writers and directors for creating such diverse characters. Things I had never payed attention to before, but as I read, my eyes grew wider and wider and so did my mind. At this same time, I started wearing my hair natural, I wanted to be the queen of natural hair…we are still working out the kinks…pun intended. So where do you go when you want to learn about your hair?
YouTube of course!
The search for my natural sistas was on and it was a difficult one. Where were all the girls who had tight and dry curls like me?
“Where are the girls….?”
That’s a question I asked myself a lot that year.
“Where are the girls of color who vlog?”
“Where are the LGBT women poets?”
“Where are the plus size fashion girls?”
“Where are the girls who’s religion is different from mine? I want to learn.”
I grew up on Internet, I learned from the Internet and I wanted to learn more, though at the time I couldn’t find anyone. Thankfully 2, years later, my subscription box and “following” list is now full of women who are diverse on all levels.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved though, because the lack of diversity is still a problem. It’s a problem that’s getting better, but it’s still a problem.
That ladies and gents is why I wanted this to be my blog topic, because I want the people who learn from the Internet to be able to learn from this blog. I want this blog to encourage and inspire you to read on about this topic and demand a change.
Things won’t change unless we want them to or unless we change them ourselves.
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