Let Me Be Great, Not What The Media Shape

Short Story

Traveling back through time using my mind’s eye, I am able to explore a childhood memory of mine. In this vision, I stand next to my 8-year-old self watching peacefully as the younger me sits occupied glued to the television. I can smell my mother’s cooking, the sweet aroma of food fills the air like it has been longing to escape the pots. My sensory functions elevate, I hear the jiggle of my favorite television show which immediately draws my attention to my younger self. Superman, the American hero that every young boy dreams to be illuminate the television screen. There was a problem that stood in the way like a brick wall, a problem that my young self couldn’t grasp, why weren’t there as many Black superheroes on the media as of Whites? How did this character influence the perceptions I had of myself? Superman was a Caucasian male who could fly, had laser beam eyes, and could effortlessly punch through brick walls without a problem. Staring at the image of myself like it was being reflected off of a mirror, I knew that my dream of being a hero wouldn’t come true. We weren’t the same. It wasn’t because of the superpowers that he possessed, but the dominance of skin color that was being projected through the media. I craved to be strong, I craved to be loved, and I craved to be a hero just like Superman but I knew it couldn’t be, all because of what the media has shaped me to be. I am a violent, ignorant, aggressive criminal. I am a drug addict. I am homeless. I am a deadbeat father who doesn’t possess any moral values. Watching hours of television daily with this message being delivered, it doesn’t take me long to believe the lies before my eyes. It is almost rare to see a man or woman of my color with positive roles on the media, and when there is, others view this movement of more diversity on television as being an optical illusion, they tend to cling on stereotypes that the media feeds them, and if there is not enough food for thought to go around they create fabricated images to fulfill their desires, to fulfill their thirst for supremacy. I couldn’t stay in this world where my younger self thrived any longer, it was for the best, to prevent my astral body from being trapped in this realm. Moments later, I am fully conscious, I made it back to my world safe. I can finally tell you the story of me achieving my desire to help people, how strong I have become because I decided not to let the media shape me. I am a hero. My name is Anthony Becker and I am a firefighter from Chicago. I smash through walls, and put out fire with my eyes….just kidding, it would be nice to have that power, wouldn’t it? The point is that I am a hero, and I save the people in my city daily. I am no Superman, but it’s nice to feel heroic. (End)