Throughout history and even now, representation of non-white people has mostly been harmful. Stereotypes, tropes, tokenisms and cultural inaccuracies have always been present in the media and beyond. Unfortunately, this is true to this day.

Yes, representation is improving. But is it enough? No, it's nowhere near enough.


Can a hashtag make a difference? What it can do is bring more awareness to the issue. It's not an issue about LACK of representation only, it's also about the quality of representation. The inclusion of diverse characters in film, literature, and advertisement is a total fail if their characters fall into insensitive stereotypes with no cultural depth.

At Intended Impact, we feel strongly about the importance of representation. Not only in the media and entertainment industry but also in education and academia.

We welcome you to continue the conversation over at our social channels! What are your thoughts on why representation matters?

Why does representation matter?

Representation matters for every person in a Black or non-white community, but it matters more for children. All kids learn about life by seeing it happen around them.

They notice how the people close to them interact with the world and how their mental health is affected. Children also internalize what is shown to them on news programs, entertainment shows, TV and streaming commercials, internet and print article headlines, and printed advertisements like magazines, bus wraps, and billboards. Likewise, they see how other people treat them, making emotional and cognitive connections. As they grow, their perception of who they are and their position in the world is shaped by all these experiences.

The harm behind negative representation

There are essentially two types of representation, negative and positive. There is no gray area. Children and adults are impacted no matter what. It's true that adults grow a thick skin to the negative representation they are exposed to, but that doesn't make the hurt goes away. Let's start with negative representation, sadly the most common type of the two.

These are the most damaging examples of negative representations for each group:

This is just a short list of the negative representation our children are seeing as they grow. These are the stereotypes shaping their vision of the world. Parents of Black and non-white communities can do so much in helping their kids understand that these tropes are damaging. It's not even the parents' job to undo what the media does wrong, but the media's job to FIX THE PROBLEM THEY CREATED.

Positive representation matters

Enough about the negative side of how representation matters. Let's talk about how representation matters in a good way.

But what exactly defines representation as "positive"?

For example:

The impact of Black and non-white communities seeing positive representations of their peers improves their lives in many ways. Most importantly, it reduces negative stereotypes. This is something that will take time to override. Only when we get to the point that positive representation is more common than its negative counterpart, we can finally say that things are truly changing for the better.

Impact on children

The impact of representation is greater on children while their perceptions are still molding and their visions created. Consider, for example, The Dream Gap. Research shows that girls begin to develop limiting beliefs about themselves as early as 5. Women they see in films, TV shows, advertisements, even their own school system, parents' place of work and their families; are the ones creating the idea of what they can and cannot be as adults.

When a child sees another child that looks like them in a scenario that is natural and inspiring, they will feel better about themselves. When they see adults that look like they will look, living their authentic life and doing amazing things, they will grow up knowing that they can reach those heights as well.

Children are also affected by the adults that have been shaped by negative representation. It might take generations to undo the damage that has already been done to the parents of the younger generations. Teenagers and college students have always been the ones that stand up for human rights, 2022 is no exception. But what is the point of all that work if things still don't change?

Impact on adults

As adults that have had to grow up and inherit tons of negative representation; we're exhausted and furious at the fact that it's all still happening. We're also very excited to see positive representation improve and spread in some areas. Our children are still in danger of the harm of negative representation, but it's a bit easier now to override the damage. Exceptions exist of course; we still have to teach our Black sons to be mindful of their actions and activities because even if positive representation is improving, racism is still rampant. We still have to teach our daughters to be careful of men.

For those adults in minority groups that are segregated, isolated and misunderstood, positive representation helps them find community. It opens doors to a reality that they can feel comfortable in, where they can be themselves without fear of retaliation.

For non-whites that are hardly ever represented, when it happens they feel like it's a win, when it should really be a normal every day thing.

Where do we need more representation?

Positive representation is important in any ambiance where there is communication or exchange of ideas between people. In representations of people in power, in people that influence, in people that break the mold.

Essentially, we need better positive representation everywhere.

Representation matters for every age group. Yes, it's relatively more important for children to see positive representation, but it's also essential for changing the minds of the adults that have already been affected. 

Hey, y’all! 

I have to say, one of the scariest things I’ve done is start this blog. I’m generally a pretty open person, but not worldwide internet open. It’s probably why I’ve procrastinated so much in getting this blog off the ground.  But as I dig deeper into my work and think about the ways I want to contribute to society it seems more and more important that I push past that fear. 

My work is centered on justice and equity.  And let’s face it - there are people that work very hard to prevent or roll back any progress at all.  Some of these people only show this side of themselves in the voting booth, others are very vocal.  I want to push myself to be just as vocal and focused on my opposition to historical, institutional, and contemporary white supremacy.

Like all of us, my experiences and societal conditioning shows up in big and small ways. I still find myself doing quite a bit of self-censorship, although I have my own company now. 

Previously in my career, when I appeared on TV and radio, my supervisors and higher-ups pull me aside and say it would have been “nice” if I had given them a heads-up and that I should let them know in advance about any future appearances. 

But WHY? These conversations made me very uncomfortable. 

I never mentioned where I was employed, nor did I refer to my employers in any of these appearances.  But still, somehow, these individuals and organizations felt there was something about my non-company time that was part of their purview. It left me with a sense of feeling watched in a way that maybe my co-workers weren’t.  And it also led me to try to “fly under the radar” so to speak and play small. 

I was fearful, would my employment be in jeopardy?  Why did I have to check-in or notify anyone of what I was doing? I know intellectually that there is nothing gained by playing small.  I should not have shrunk myself.  I should have taken every opportunity that came my way to speak about justice and equity.  Hell, I should have CREATED some opportunities too! 

So, I’m starting here. 

I’m making a choice to use my voice and skills to further conversations and progress towards justice and equity in ALL THINGS.

I make this decision knowing my best clients, partners, collaborators, and mentors will be those that are aligned and supportive. 

This is a first post just to welcome you to our blog. We'll be posting lots more in the future, so stay tuned!

About Us

Intended Impact™ is an African-American, woman-owned, small business based in Slidell, Louisiana (just outside of New Orleans).

We are a culture-driven organization. Our values are the foundation of our work and included in every client engagement.

Our mission is to, “Empower the Systematically Oppressed and Excluded.”

We affirm that Black Lives Matter, and we support all marginalized, oppressed, and excluded communities including LGBTQ, Indigenous, Dreamers and Immigrants, Asian Americans and more.

Thanks for being here.

This is a safe space.