Racism is one of the biggest problems everyone has to face in this emerging world. Human culture, despite being more accepting, still indirectly discriminates against those that are considered as minorities. Since it is inexplicitly inculcated in the behavior of many cultures, people who are considered “different” are usually discriminated against.
Discrimination is true in almost all industries and is not only limited to race. There is also a strong disparity among genders and even age. Racism generally affects a person’s well-being and can certainly create imbalances in a community. Now that the internet intertwines global cultures into one, racism is highlighted even more.
Instances of racism in the blogging and influencer industry
We might not all notice it, but there are multiple instances of racism online. People may think that it is simply our second nature to accept and ignore the underlying messages of racism on the internet. But times have changed towards diversity and inclusivity.
Racist Jokes and Skits
Some people can actually find this funny. However, racism should never be a laughing matter. For instance, the Viral Uncle Roger video on fried rice is, honestly, hilarious. But there is ongoing controversy whether his content is racist or not. Many Asians do find it funny because there is truth behind his content, and it is absolutely relatable. However, is creating viral content about how other people make fried rice taking it a bit too far?
Brand Bias and Preference
This is another issue that needs to be taken care of. Many brands actually refuse to collaborate with colored talents simply because it is not their preference. Also, not many brands create inclusive products. For instance, the term ‘nude shade’ should actually be a spectrum that should represent all shades and color. How can a colored blogger represent a ‘nude-colored’ product if it does not match their skin tone? Brands must improve their products to create a more diverse and inclusive line. This is to not only be able to hire a more diverse group of talents but also tap into a wider market.
Disparity in Pay
This is actually one of the more major problems in the industry. While it is true that brands and media companies give more opportunities to colored talents, there are reports of unequal pay. This means that brands who hire African Americans or Asian Americans pay them less than their caucasian counterparts.
This influencer ‘pay gap’ has been a trending topic online since mid of this year, especially since the Black Lives Matter protests sparked up again. However, it is unclear if the issue has been resolved or if companies are finally considering to normalize their fees across the board.
How to support colored influencers and bloggers
There are different ways to create a change in the social media industry that will make it more welcoming and neutral for all. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce racism in the influencer industry:
Hire more colored creators
Content creators are one too many in the world, and choosing an influencer to represent a brand may be a good place to start neutralizing racism online. One way to do so is to hire more African Americans or Asians regardless of a product line or brand being sold. There needs to “special edition” feature for brands Asian and African sub-groups. A brand should be more inclusive of color.
This should not be limited only to those who are in front of the camera. There should be more diversity in the team creating content. This way, the creative process could take in more thoughts and cultures leading to a more impactful campaign. For instance, in skincare, it is great to create a wide range of products to match a spectrum of shades. This way all customers could feel well-represented. Doing this also makes a brand more relatable for others.
Support Colored Bloggers
This action goes to not only viewers but also companies that handle talents. The company must understand how to take care of talent diversity. Engage with colored creators, support their merchandise. Find them and give them a follow on their platforms. Interestingly, Facebook launched mid this year a multi-million program to support African American creators. It is their way of showing support for both diversity and inclusion. It comes in terms of funding to assist struggling creators so they could make competitive content.
Continue to voice out and question
As a viewer or an audience, everyone has responsibility in creating a more neutral environment on the internet. It is never bad to question why racism should exist to being with. Look for campaigns that support racial equality and representation. Join their advocacies and help them voice out their visions. It is alright to challenge brands to hire more colored influencers or to ask companies why they never represent diversity. This way there could be more inclusive opportunities for all influencers, regardless of race. What remains is a competition of talent and creativity.