I remember when I was younger I’d watch shows like Hannah Montana, iCarly, Suite Life Of Zack & Cody, etc and I’d lowkey wonder why I never saw anybody on TV that looked like me. The only Indian character I knew was Baljeet from Phineas & Ferb, and he was a stereotypical nerdy Asian. I wondered why my skin was so much darker than the pale characters in most of the TV shows that I watched.
Then I got older and started watching The Office and saw the character Kelly Kapoor. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t gotten really excited when I noticed an Indian character on an American show. I would live for the few minutes of screen time that Kelly Kapoor would get in every other episode. Seeing an Indian on TV made me so happy.
Then came the hilarious Tom Haverford on Parks & Recreation, one of my favorite characters of all time. And yet, another Indian character that made me feel represented. I’d get so excited whenever he had screen time.
Now it’s 2017 and we got Quantico, Master Of None, iZombie, The Good Place, and other shows that have South Asian characters. I feel so much better than I did when I was younger. I actually get to see myself on TV. Representation freaking matters. I hope that if I have kids, they won’t have to wonder why they don’t look like the people they see on TV.
We still have a long way to go. We need more black characters, latinx characters, Asian characters, gay characters, trans characters, etc so no one feels left out. The only people that say “representation doesn’t matter” are those that have always been represented.
This is why we need more shows with characters that are minorities. Everybody deserves to be represented. All races, religions, and sexualities should have a place in television.