Woman of Colour and Opportunity

2015-09-23 20:04

The only thing that separates woman of colour from anyone else is opportunity, this was a statement made by Viola Davis after making history on Sunday night at the Emmys by becoming the first black woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her speech was so empowering, she brought the reality of our struggles closer to home, most black females could relate to her. While we should not be making references to race, keeping quiet about racial issues won’t make them go away.

Viola Davis is also featured in a documentary called Dark Girls that discusses what woman of colour face, and how history has defined them today. Her statement is not only relevant in the entertainment industry, but in society in general. In her speech she further says “you cannot win an Emmy for roles that do not even exist”. If the opportunities are not there how do we even begin to appreciate the full potential of black woman or woman in general? For example if we do not create opportunities for woman to be in leadership we cannot conclude that women are not good leaders. We live in a society that is so ignorant around what is happening around them, it is a very selfish society. If we cannot educate ourselves about what is happening around us then how do we begin to be part of the solution. Solutions can only come when we take interest and educate ourselves on issues outside our comfort zone. We need to appreciate each other’s struggle to build better communities.

Steve Maraboli once said There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty”. From a young age girls grow up to a set of guidelines on how they are supposed to dress, laugh and conduct themselves. Some even grow up with a fear to be original and being themselves because they fear how they will be judged by society. It is high time that black woman stop being apologetic for being themselves. We need to continue redefining what it means to be black, not apologetic for our talents, looks or education.

Most of the barriers when it comes to women of colour and opportunities are not even female vs male or white vs black barriers. At times they are woman to woman and black to black obstacles. I have heard people talk and say in order to survive in this environment you need to do ABCD…..that is all well and good every environment has its boundaries. It is up to us as women to change and challenge the status quo, yes work within the boundaries as long as those boundaries do not require you to change and compromise who you are.

Our society needs more woman like Viola Davis, woman who continue to push the boundaries and redefine what it means to be a woman of colour.

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