Representation Matters

Growing up, I wanted to be like Static Shock. He was a fictional superhero, who was a regular teenager that had superpowers. For a while, I wanted to be like him. I went around acting as if I had his powers but the only difference was I could not fly around on a floating disk. I admired the way he carried himself and how he dealt with various problems in his life. He taught me to stand in the truth and face what comes my way. Static Shock was my beacon of change and my early viewpoint of reality. He embodied someone I wanted to be because he looked just like me.

Today, the media walks a new path when it comes to the way people are represented. There is a limit to the things we strive to be based on the way we’re depicted. The media shows that the only ways are to be on social media, a reality tv show, music or sports. While there are pros and cons to every profession, the question then becomes, how can we expose the youth to more professions? We have to stop allowing media to program the youth into thinking that those fields are the only way to someone’s success.

I believe we must begin to talk to the youth more. We have to begin to ask the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” After asking the question, the community must find a way to create an environment where the youth can explore future professons. Second, Career Day should be mandatory within the schools, libraries and recreation centers. These locations are the key components within each community and each location has a different connection with the youth.

The community is filled with various professions and different forms of knowledge, it is important to share what we know, with the youth. As people who are not on television, and social media famous, we must become the representatives for the dreams of the youth. I am challenging the communities of Philadelphia to become the representation for our youth. Open up your mind to pass knowledge and open your heart to want to make a difference.

What do you think? How can we come together and expose the youth to other professions? Let us know!


Alex Alford

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