El Paisano

Why Representation Matters

Dante Lopez- Bennett, Copy Editor

I have a theory that representation matters because we’re not all in the position of being as free from the actions of others as we’d like to think that we are.

Point me to the system that can account for every single little nuance of our complicated natures. The bits and pieces of our individual human experiences make it so that voices of others in our life are absolutely impactful. The human conscience makes it so that we are about as free as the most oppressed amongst us.

But say we threw it all out the window. Every rule and stratagem that you convince yourself is so absolutely important to you, and then all that the mainstream zeitgeist says should demand your attention.  

I suppose we can create a delegation of men to govern and teach women how to be “women.” I suppose we could make it so that a congress of exclusively one race of human beings from the same circumstance outline the rules for all of us. I suppose we could make it so that we trust those whom we have never met. I suppose we could put another man in your position to “take care” of her, or female in your position to be “cherished” by him. I suppose we could make it so that another person is responsible for tucking your children into bed.

But then, I wonder how many of us would be content to say that such things don’t matter. Having the audacity to think as though you are adept at everything is problematic, to say the least. Because we know how debilitating loneliness and death can be, we’d like to deviate from those things as much as possible, and so we appoint those accordingly, in the hope that their decisions lead us to peace of mind and away from such profoundly inexplicable phenomena.

Enter politicians, spouses, and celebrity, because, in function, all of these things are the same difference. They’re designated titles entrusted from those willing to be in positions of vulnerability in the hope of orchestrating a better quality of living for the “good” of the collective. For the good of countries, relationships, and esteems. You buy an album because you identify with it, and feel empowered. You vote because you hope for favorable circumstances to yourself. You love because it’s self-explanatory. In short, representation matters because we are a lot closer to one another than we’d like to think of as being possible. Because it is both an investment of trust into another, and portrayal of the level of esteem to which you hold yourself. Because we can see our similar likeness in another and are perhaps more prone to live vicariously. Free from the consequence of reality.

I suppose that if anything, the act of representing is the manner in which we try to attribute some sense of order to what decisions we are unable to make ourselves. It is, in every sense of the words, what we want to need. Reliance on others.

Representation for better or worse, matters strictly due to the fact that the hard-headed  human creature is the only thing with the audacity to go out of its way to grab the owl out of the tree just to ask it: “But Who, if not me?” By attempting to understand and enforce the impossible, we’ve created a set of restraints in which we must maneuver either to our detriment or benefit.

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Why Representation Matters