Baltimore Comic-Con 2018: Diversity in Media Panel Highlights
This panel here I found to be very important to have at a convention. For the day and age we live in right now, it is more important than ever to be able to address how crucial it is to create an inclusive environment for our community in pop culture. I was very impressed with the selection of panelists. Sometimes it would be questionable because you might walk in and it is a bunch of white men chatting about the subject, but that wasn’t the case here. We had a diverse panel of both genders, and different races.
The perspective for this panel I found interesting for the fact that they jumped straight into the thick of the problems faced within the entertainment business. It didn’t just lean towards comics, TV, movies, or so forth. They hit the wide scope of what this topic had to offer in discussion. It also helped that they all came from different backgrounds each which provided varying perspectives of what it means to be diverse. I loved how they looked at this like a second reconstruction, mainly for the fact that this is somewhat accurate for this year in particular. People are speaking up, diverse properties are thriving, there is no reason why someone can ask for diversity and someone tell you that it will not benefit people. To then even take it a step further and give examples for what they loved about characters who represented diversity well offered some creative answers that you wouldn’t have thought of the same way until then.
What was the big thing here was questioning why we talk about diversity. A heavy question to ask when there are so many reasons to bring attention to this desire in storytelling. They touched upon what we needed to understand most about diversity. That being the idea that the possibilities are endless when you aren’t limiting yourself to a single race or ethnicity. When your characters are always white, straight, believing in the same things, you are rinsing and repeating without taking a real chance to do something new. Good storytelling is leaving nothing off the table, and making the world around your characters believable as a mirror to ours. Two of the best conversations to come of this was addressing the casting of actual races to play the correct role, and pointing out that even in a conversation about diversity, white doesn’t have just one definition either. As a person of color, it was very important to me to sit there and hear them make it clear that the topic had a relation to everyone.
When it came to what needs to happen to ensure the fictional worlds we all love resemble the world we live in, the answers couldn’t have been better. The engagement from this panel worked so well because of it too. Every conversation went from one into the next and they were all very knowledgeable of the references they used to make their points. They didn’t limit themselves to one specific kind of show, and they didn’t limit themselves to one point in time that these things showed.
Courtesy of Pop Culture Uncovered, here is a link to the full panel below.