*Warning* I’m ranting
I have watched Eastenders since before I moved to Essex; 10 years ago. I remember talking about each episode eagerly with my friends in the morning as I waited outside the classroom in primary school. I put so much emotion and description into how the final dun dun had left a mark in my mind and how waiting for the weekend or Wednesday when it didn’t air to be over. I would finish my homework just so I could watch the 7:30PM episode with the rest of the nation because watching it on record wasn’t the same.
Yet, over the years the show has turned on me. At first I thought it was because I was getting older, it was harder to impress me. The dun dun moments became predictable and depressing. I soon realised after conversing with friends and family the show really was turning to shit. But my question was “Why am I still watching this!?”
Before the show went sour there were so many ethnic minority characters, especially young people. It hit me that those of colour had been killed off or left the square. Hopefully because we realised living on deaths doorstep wasn’t a good idea. After all aren’t we always the ones to survive in the horror films.
I knew the producers weren’t taking us off the show because of my conspiracy theory, I don’t to throw 100% shade at the producers as the actors may have left themselves but come on! Hire some new people!
Make me feel represented and not oppressed. Ethnic minorities in the media are inspiring, I do believe eventually I will stop watching this show to stop me getting an ulcer but looking at the cast photo (in the feature image) I just have to ask Eastenders, what are you doing?
This message isn’t just to the producers of Eastenders but to British films and TV shows that focus heavily on tokenism. Just because you think tokenism means my race feels valid because you finally put your brains together to include one black person into your show for example, doesn’t justify your ability to downgrade our appearence in the media nor does it make us feel any better because of this one representation.
Question; Have you ever seen a long running south east Asian character? No. Have you ever seen a long running black female or male teenager character? No. (We were given the stereotypical role of being thrown into jail and adapting to typical gang culture i.e Jordan. Why aren’t there any successful ethnic minorities like Phil?
As a young black woman I deserve to feel valid and represented. Shows such as Eastenders need to let young ethnic minorities have a whole group of different races, genders and sexualities to look up to.