Representation in Media

Seeing Indians Outside Of Bollywood May Be More Likely Than You Think

The representation I never wanted to see is turning into something I can't get enough of.

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Growing up, I watched all your typical kids' shows: "Wizards of Waverly Place," "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "iCarly," "Victorious," you name it. I loved all of these shows as much as my little twelve-year-old heart would allow (I might still be a bit obsessed with them…you'll never know), but as much as I fervently kept up with each of these shows, I could never find anyone who looked and acted like me in them. Every time I saw an Indian character in one of these shows, they would always be super nerdy, have an extremely heavy accent, and be so frail and skinny that they, naturally, would be the prime target for bullies at school.

Let's get one thing straight: Indian kids are not like that. Asian kids are not like that. All of us went to school and found our own little niches to fit into. Me? I was athletic, I was outgoing, and I loved math. My friends were like me: we all (kind of) liked school, but none of us were so obsessed with it that we talked, slept, and breathed academics every second of the day. Most of my friends played at least one sport, and we all had different hobbies and interests, a far cry from what we all saw on TV growing up.

I watched a lot of Bollywood movies growing up (I still love them), so I guess I got my representation through that form of media, but it was a bit discouraging to see "Indian representation" in the media most readily available to me in the form of discriminatory and condescending screenwriting. Whenever I watched an American show with an Indian character, I couldn't stomach watching them on screen for longer than about five minutes—I would then find something else to watch, where I could pretend that I was the same as everyone else.

As I grew up, however, I noticed things changing, albeit slowly. I remember watching the movie "Lion" starring the one and only Dev Patel. Not only is he a brilliant actor, but he played the role of an Indian man who grew up in a place outside of India—he was just a normal guy, trying to find his origins, but he maintained the balance between where he came from and where he grew up. The story was fantastically written and I don't think anyone could have acted that role better than Patel did. The movie did not exoticize India in the slightest and did not present either country in the movie, Australia or India, as inferior to the other—they were presented as different, each holding a different part of Patel's character's life and identity. This was probably the best example of Indian representation in mainstream American media I have seen to date.

This past summer, Jon Chu's "Crazy Rich Asians" was released, and with it, a full Asian cast giving Asian Americans the representation they craved and deserve in the American media. This movie was absolutely brilliant—it brought two very different cultures together while maintaining the key aspects of both, striking close to home for a lot of Asian Americans who have had to find this same balance between their two cultures. The characters were not written to fit into boxes of crazy, nerdy, obsessive, and spoiled—to name a few Asian stereotypes I have come across in my time watching TV—but rather as people with multifaceted personalities, people with many motivations, dreams, and drivers behind their actions. Basically, we got some well-written Asian characters in a well-written movie, and I loved it.

Asian-American representation has admittedly gotten better through the years, but it still has a ways to go before every Asian person in the United States can say that they are as equally represented and valued as every other person living in this country. "Lion" and "Crazy Rich Asians" were major steps in the right direction, but I am excited to see what Hollywood comes up with next. Maybe a movie with a full Indian-American cast?

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'Unplanned' Is The Movie Of The Year

Abby Johnson's story is real, powerful, and deserves our attention.

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A suspended Twitter account, an R rating, and only 1,000 theaters showing it with an expected $3 million in sales. Flash forward to when "Unplanned" started showing...it's doubled in expected sales, beaten records left and right for views and money it's bringing in and is currently ranked #4 in the US. Besides unexpected and outstanding statistics, it's a movie about something new. Something Hollywood has never covered. Something that is raw and truthful, holding nothing back even if it's hard to watch.

Abby Johnson's story is real and powerful. She's seen every single side and hidden corner of the pro-life/pro-choice movement in her own personal life, which makes her the perfect voice for the unborn and unplanned.

You can't hear her story or watch "Unplanned" without relating to at least one part of it.

Is it graphic? Yes. But is it over dramatized? Nope. Everything within the first 30 minutes of "Unplanned" is what happens every hour of every day in America and we call it equal rights for women. Personally, I've always been pro-life. But after leaving that movie, I've never been more pro-women. I was angry watching it. Women are lied to about everything in Planned Parenthood. Women are coerced into killing their own children and then told that it's not even a child yet. These women are scared, hopeless, and looking for an instant solution and Planned Parenthood takes advantage of it and makes money off it. If you're a woman and reading this, why AREN'T you angry yet?

This movie was everything the world needed after New York dropped the ban on late-term abortions. This movie is everything this country needed to see. For once, someone took a risk and threw hard, real, truth out into the world and didn't sweep it under the rug.

Pro-life, pro-choice, whatever you are — this movie is the movie of the year. The only excuse for those who don't go and see it is that they too like to sweep things under the rug.

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Thanos Isn't The Real Villain, Overpopulation Is — He Actually Fixed The Problem

Overpopulation is a real world problem, and Thanos posed a solution.

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If you've ever seen any "Avengers," "Guardians of the Galaxy," or Marvel superhero movies, you'll know who Thanos is. He's portrayed as the evil father of Gamora and his goal is clear: to wipe out half of the population. Many of us were not expecting him to actually succeed — because, in every other movie, the Avengers prevail. But in "Avengers: Infinity War," this was simply not the case. He successfully wiped out exactly half of the population and we watched some of our favorite characters like Black Panther, Vision, The Witch, and Groot disintegrate. But why was this such a bad thing?

Thanos' logic isn't really off — overpopulation has been a real-world problem for years now, with the rate growing at two percent per year. Even though this doesn't sound like a lot, it's faster than any other time period in history. This means that death rates either need to go up, or the birth rate needs to decrease.

According to the World Population Census, in 2015 there were approximately 7.2 billion people in the world. But in 2016, it was approximately 7.3 billion. In just a year, a little more than 100 million people were born. At this rate, overpopulation will affect the amount of food available, poverty rates, and air quality. With so many people continuously being born, factories are going to be forced to produce more products, releasing more CO2. Poverty rates will rise because there won't be many jobs available so people won't be able to afford much. While this sounds like a very grave diagnosis, Thanos found a solution to this in the "Avengers: Infinity War" film. By collecting the infinity stones of mind, power, reality, soul, space, and time, he succeeded in fixing this overpopulation problem — that is a serious problem today.

Since infinity stones, unfortunately, don't exist, what can we do to prevent overpopulating our beautiful planet? The answer may lie in finding more effective ways to use our natural resources better, or it may not, we have no way to know for sure. Maybe the Earth can hold more than eight billion people and still maintain other species. While we may never be able to accurately predict what could happen, we know that overpopulation is eventually inevitable. So far, there isn't an answer to solve this issue either, which may sound like a very depressing fact, but it's true. Multiple theories have been suggested but, none have been enacted. "Avengers: Infinity War" was a cinematic wake-up call, and proves that maybe Thanos isn't so crazy after all. While infinity stones would be a great answer to this problem, they don't exist. So, in the wise words of Tony Stark, " Let's do something insane — let's save the world."

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