Do You See Me?

Curt Thomas Jr

“Representation lets a person know they can look, act, and behave a certain way and still do things they didn’t know they could because they’ve never seen someone like them do it before”. This lack of inclusion and representation in child-targeted media for decades has caused a real desire to display different aspects of cultures and identity for viewers. Shows like Static Shock became a staple for Black children in the early 2000s, yet the show has no modern replacement. Do You See Me? explores this lack of representation and its impact on young people. The book displays the stories of students from SUNY New Paltz about their relationships to characters they identified with from childhood, as well as my own. Stories were collected asking participants who they felt represented by in cartoons and why, producing a diverse set of answers. The goal is to display how impactful representation is on one’s self from an early age, and illustrate the dynamic ways that an animated character can “stick” in a person’s mind for years to come. By displaying these stories for all to see, I hope to reestablish the importance of representation within children-targeted media and show the positive effects of kids seeing characters that look, act, and feel like them.