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Other Voices: Racial stereotypes are detrimental

Throughout the month of April, YWCA Kaua‘i is hosting their annual virtual Stand Against Racism Challenge. This week, participants are exploring the powerful effects of representation (or the lack thereof) in media.

Diversity in media is important because learning is stifled when cultural homogeneity is the default setting. Mirrors are ultimately isolating. Seeing the same thing only reinforces your pre-existing beliefs and doesn’t prepare you to think critically. People of all ages need exposure to the different and the unfamiliar to foster intellectual growth, empathy and compassion. The saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” is so true.

I am a classical music DJ on KKCR, Kaua‘i’s community radio station. I am also a Black female. My weekly playlists often include works by the 3 Bs (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms), but I also enjoy exposing listeners to beautiful music by composers of color such as William Dawson, Edmund Dede and Florence Price. And I play these composers at times other than Black History Month.

Racial stereotypes, be they negative or positive, are detrimental. Race does not define a person, and stereotypes are worthless. Better to engage with one another and learn what makes each of us unique.

I’m a tad disappointed that we still need to address these topics. But I suppose the more we talk, the greater the chances that we will overcome our shortcomings and build a better community.

•••

Cheryle Kelley is a Princeville
resident.
Source: The Garden Island

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