According to the Guardian, by 2050 over half of the population will be mixed race. Immigration has meant that more and more foreigners have flocked to the UK year by year, meaning that the "other" box on paperwork will be gaining many more ticks. Why is it then that, in the media, still, we are not seeing enough minority representation? As a 90's girl, I grew up in a society wherein "mixed-race" was essentially non-existent in the world I saw projected back to me. The models in the TV ads and the dolls I saw in the shop offered little variance in appearance. Identity was black and white, in both literal and phrasal terms.
Of course, things have changed remarkably since then. The beginning of the 21st century saw big names including Cheerios, Volkswagen and Dairy Milk creating ads that prominently incorporate racial minorities in their advertisements. Mattel too, have moved forwards in leaps and bounds since the 20th century when it comes to the matter of racial inclusion in their production of minority dolls. But still, these moments come few and far between.
Zendaya, the popular bi-racial actress, singer, dancer and former Disney star is a prominent figure that has been known as a significant advocate of the varied cultural roots that inevitably coincide with being an individual of mixed heritage. In her Instagram caption that was inserted under an image of herself showcasing her new doll, Zendaya wrote: "When I was little I couldn't find a Barbie that looked like me [...] Thank you @barbie for this honor and for allowing me to be apart of your diversification and expansion of the definition of beauty." With 48 million followers on Instagram, there's no doubt that Zendaya's message will be heard.
Will Meghan Markle take a leaf from the Disney stars' book?
Although Markle, soon-to-be wife of Prince Harry, shut down her social media accounts later last year, there's no doubt that they reflected her growing status. Having possessed an account with 3 million followers (and rapidly growing), there is little doubt that she holds a platform of great influence. Markle is aware that the Royal family do not traditionally engage in any form of politics and activism. However, she, adversely, expressed her passion for it - it’s importance, at the UN Women Conference.
In an interview with Elle, Markle told of one of her disorientating experiences growing up as a bi-racial child in the 80's: "There was a mandatory consensus I had to complete in my English class - you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian. There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do.", "You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other - and one half of myself over the other."
Already a proclaimed feminist, making a difference where she's had the means, can we expect Markle to continue, importantly, striding against the racially discriminatory imprint (even if unintentionally) left from earlier centuries? I think there's a good chance.