And my commitment to stop trying to fit in

Photo by Jared Giles

In my 8th grade yearbook, my English teacher wrote a message that has stayed with me for the past 14 years. “It’s O.K. to be the only one at times (you know) because you help to break the mold.” It wasn’t difficult to decipher what she meant: there will be…

Popular media must elevate Black stories instead of perpetuating racist stereotypes

Screen-capture from The Queen’s Gambit of Jolene (left) and Beth (right)

This article contains major plot points from The Queen’s Gambit.

Every few months, Netflix markets another binge-worthy series in full-force for global consumption. On October 23, The Queen’s Gambit, a limited series based on the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, made its debut on the streaming service…

Government touches every piece of our lives. Now we have to show up to change the people who run it

Jennifer Griffin / Photo of a mural by Chicago artist Mac Blackout / Unsplash

Earlier this year while discussing the Trump Administration’s failure to control the COVID-19 pandemic, my father commented: “You can’t have people in government who don’t believe in government.” On the surface, his sentiment seemed self-evident.

Those working in government should believe in the institution in which they serve. I wouldn’t…

When facing insurmountable obstacles, we must continue to stand up for the world the way it should be.

Screen-capture from “Cloak and Dagger” / Tyrone Johnson (left) and Adina Johnson (right)

Growing up, I was taught to heed authority. To be respectful if I ever found myself pulled over on the side of the road awaiting judgment from law enforcement. When I got my driver’s license, my mother made sure I placed my insurance and registration in the car door so…

Your strength will carry on through all whom you inspired.

Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic via Getty Images

I was proud the first time I saw Black Panther. When I arrived at the theater, I felt I had come home; stepping into a sea of fans sporting Black Panther costumes and accessorizing with African clothing and jewelry (in a personal call to Black culture and history, I chose…

In “Get Out”, guests ogled at Chris’ body, eye, and skin. Earlier this year, Jessica Richardson described it as ‘heat’:

“I felt it. I felt the heat from it. I felt it in her eyes. I knew exactly what it was.”

It’s the feeling you get when your eyes meet…

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When I watched Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special Nanette, I couldn’t help but relate her words to the ongoing Senate confirmation battle over Brett Kavanaugh. Her message — that a connection built on love should be the focus of the stories we tell — articulates why sexual assault allegations are commonplace…

Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali)

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Grey, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner. These are only a few of the black lives that were stolen by police brutality. These cases ignited racial tensions and reinvigorated protests on police violence in America, so it seemed only appropriate that…

Jared Giles

Writer & dancer working in education. I can be found writing on race, culture, media, and politics. Twitter/IG: @jaredfgiles

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store