Representation is a voice that can be heard through various forms of texts. It is essential because people always want others to understand themselves without having any biases or stereotypes. This would achieve a sense of self-actualisation that allows them to find their own values and feel a stronger bond between each other. However, when thinking about the representation of groups of people, there comes to an issue: only the majority people get to represent the group, while the minorities rarely have the chance to say their voices. This leads to more stereotypes and lack of information about the minorities, so that they are being ignored by the other people, which makes them even harder to stand out and speak for themselves. It also creates a social hierarchy that the majority leads most of the social movements and activities. Therefore, the representation we see nowadays are not always true and comprehensive, and we need to listen to the minority people’s voices to thoroughly understand a certain group.
This video introduces the success of Mae Jemison as the first black female astronaut travelling to the space. It describes how she was inspired by seeing other people’s representation and then got the courage to pursue her dream, while at that time in the American society, black people were generally being discriminated against the white people, as well as the women. As the author mentioned in the video, Mae Jemison had only seen white men becoming astronauts. This had definitely impacted Mae Jemison as a young child, reckoning that travelling to space was not achievable for her due to her black woman identity due to the general value and attitude of the society. Growing under this social environment, her future possibilities were being limited since no one in her group had been represented before. However, once she saw the representation from Nichelle Nichols as the first black actress playing the main character in Star Trek, she realised how black people could also let their voice be heard. Then, she was further inspired by Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, since Sally had represented women in the field of space travelling. These representations had widen her worldview and given her the courage to achieve her goals. If she didn’t see these representations, she might not even think about becoming an astronaut or explore a totally new field even if she had dominated the academics, because the pressure and prejudices from the majority group within the society could really suppress her and limit her possibilities. As she said, ‘Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations. If you adapt their attitudes, then the possibilities won’t exist, because you’ll have already shut it out’. Therefore, I strongly agree with the video that representation from the minority is extremely important, as it could inspire them and create more possibilities to pursue for the things that no one in their group has ever done. Being the first one to do something really requires huge courage, while representations would encourage more people as they see others breaking through the stereotypes. Mae Jemison has made a significant progress for the American society by showing the representation from the minority.
Additionally, the author of the video is a black woman, so this video is also a representation of her identity. The purpose of her creating this video is to inspire more black people to speak out in the American society by showing the example of Mae Jemison’s success, and also raise awareness on the black people through the widely-spread media. Currently, the stereotypes toward black people still exist because white people dominate the American society. When we think about America, we often come up with the white people’s images, because they get to expose to the media more frequently, which influences our values and attitudes invisibly. Therefore, the minority people really urge to express themselves, which is what the author of the video is trying to do.
Overall, representation should allow both majority and minority people in a group to be seen, in order to prevent stereotypes. It is sometimes tricky to represent the minority people, because it might only show certain aspects that the majority wants to represent them as. However, as soon as someone stands out to speak for the minority, it would inspire more of these people to represent their identity, since courage is being passed from one person to the others. Therefore, don’t be afraid to represent yourself when you see that your identity has been misrepresented or ignored by some of the others, because appropriate representations could somehow contribute to positive social influences and increasing awareness of the people.