Thoughts on Being A Token


After posting about Atomic Blonde yesterday I have been thinking a lot about women especially women of colour in the media. This topic has been given a lot of focus in recent years and for good reason too.

A few years ago, I heard the story of how Whoopi Goldberg credits Nichelle Nicholas (from the original Star Trek) as one of the reasons she got involved in the entertainment business. Nichelle was one of the first women of colour that Whoopi saw on TV that wasn’t playing a maid or another subservient roles. It’s a seemly small thing that lead to a bigger thing.

As a kid a remember seeing one or two black or brown people and barely any Asian people on TV as side characters. I think it was not Not Another Team movie where I first saw the character of Token Black Guy addressed. Since then I do think about characters being used as a token to fill a requirement.  So, while personally, I feel like there has been shift towards a more realistic representation of people in the media it’s not enough. I do feel better turning on the TV and seeing more people who look like me but I don’t feel like it’s quite enough.


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