Telling Authentic Immigrant Stories
Define American is a culture change organization that uses the power of narrative to humanize conversations about immigrants.
In 2021, Define American launched ‘Telling Authentic Immigrant Stories,’ a reference guide for the entertainment industries.
About the Guide
In a constantly shifting U.S. immigration landscape, ‘Telling Authentic Immigrant Stories: A Reference Guide for The Entertainment Industry’ is the latest edition of our comprehensive resource tool for writers, filmmakers, creators and entertainment professionals who want to tell stories that are both accurate and humanizing about immigrants. It includes best practices, detailed descriptions, multimedia examples, definitions, historical timelines, data and resources about specific underrepresented communities, as well as insight into evolving topics such as DACA and climate displacement.
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The new guide centers six key things for those creating and/or greenlighting new content to consider. First among them is hiring more immigrants in the writers’ room and on the crew and casting them too so their perspectives can be heard and considered for the storytelling. Additionally, the guide suggests engaging with immigrant communities to get an even wider and deeper range of perspectives, seeking expert opinions, focusing stories on universal themes, being sensitive to risk and privacy and empowering immigrant characters to control their own narratives (rather than telling tales of white saviorism, for example).Read More
The new guide also points out that not all immigrants are Latine, incorporating data and key findings from the organization’s 2020 television impact study, titled “Change the Narrative, Change the World” and published with USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center, to support this point. Through new partnerships with Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and The UndocuBlack Network, the guide puts a spotlight on AAPI and Black immigrants, noting they are still grossly underrepresented on TV at the moment. AAPI immigrants, for example, comprise 12% of immigrants on TV even though the study shows they represent 26% of the U.S. immigrant population.
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More resources for Development
DEAR Hollywood: Advancing Latinx Representation
Cultural Consultation: Storyline Partners