In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech, he so eloquently spoke about the day he envisioned people being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Dr. King and many other civil rights advocates endured many horrendous acts in their fight to change the scales of racial inequality. However, there remains double standards where people of color are considered. Racial disparities are not a topic that many want to discuss but the fact is it still exists and there is so much more change that still needs to take place before Dr. King’s vision is a reality. Of course, things have changed and there are opportunities available that were unattainable prior to legislations protecting civil rights. But laws can’t change the hearts and minds of those that are conditioned to believe that one group of people are far more superior than another. Often the message of racial disparity is taught without speaking a word. It is displayed in constant images in movies, magazines, social media outlets, world news and so much more. People of color are often showcased in unfavorable roles, pictures and breaking news. Despite the fact that many minorities are intelligent, beautiful, successful and law-abiding human beings. Our images are still portrayed as incompetent, unattractive, unsuccessful and criminal. We are a diverse group of individuals that want to succeed if given the same level playing field to fulfill our dreams.
Throughout history, people of color have been denied certain privileges. Although many barriers have been broken, we have slowly drifted behind privileged Americans who already got a head start. Women of color suffer from this even more than any other race or gender. Women continue to be subjected to gender inequality. We are constantly faced with the challenge of breaking the glass ceiling. We still don’t receive equal pay for the same jobs of our male counterparts and aren’t considered for top positions because of preconceived biases. According to the statistics of The US Census Bureau, women on average receive half the earnings men do and women of color receive even less. Because of their decreased income, women of color don’t have access to good living quarters and usually end up in ghettos or slums. This separates people of color from privileged community areas. Some Americans believe they are better off if they are with their own kind. In a study it showed that most Caucasian Americans would rather live in a predominantly white area. The separation of the races has existed so long in American history, that the “tradition” has carried on and people of color continue to have to catch up. Not only does unfair payment affect the women, but it hurts the children as well. Children of minority women tend to have a poorer education than other children. Statistics have shown that most minority-based schools have more unqualified teachers than privileged schools. Poor schooling means that children of color are less likely to finish college and more likely to drop out of college. Both children and adults of color don’t get the same amount of opportunities to develop their education or climb the ladder of success. Preconceived biases hold back people of color from achieving their desired goals. Did you know that some job committees won’t hire an individual based on their name? Did you know that the standardized testing systems assume that we can’t improve on our scores and question us when we do? A young black teen, Kamilah Campbell, dealt with this same situation and she is not the only one that’s been affected by these biases.
And you would think that it couldn’t get any worse. Unfortunately, it does. Our rights to work in environments free from sexual harassment or derogation have been unacceptably overlooked. Women in general tend to be overlooked in several different industries. Whether it’s the entertainment industry or the business industry, women of color usually are affected the most by this epidemic. Research has shown that 75% of women of color attorneys will leave their employers in 5 years which costs more money than they can afford with their salary. In a report on women of color in the attorney workplace, they feel more racism and sexism against them than white women. Their opportunities to expand in the workforce are limited and they have little access to high profile assignments. These statistics are quite alarming for me because I plan to build a career as a Sports and Entertainment Lawyer. In the film industry, a small percentage of women represented in the most successful film productions of 2018. 4% of directors, 15% of writers, 3% of cinematographers, 18% of producers, 18% of executive producers, and 14% of editors of women represented the top 100 grossing films in 2018. This percentage is even less when it comes to women of color. The video is a clever representation of the obstacles people of color and women of color face in the unequal opportunity race.
However, at the end of the video you saw there was a glimpse of hope. If we all act to changing the structure of our society, then we pave the way for the next generation of young girls and beyond. Many women have already pushed against some of the barriers that have been placed upon women. Women have begun to speak out on sexual misconduct. The Me-Too Movement is for everyone, not just for a certain race. Women of color have started taking initiative in the workplace and beyond. We must look past the stereotypes, the obstacles, the disadvantages. We are stronger than our stereotypes. We are beautiful, we are successful, and we are important! Michelle Obama, Misty Copeland and many other influential women can’t change the world all by themselves. If young business entrepreneurs such as Zandra Cunningham can defy the odds of her race and gender, then what’s stopping the rest of us? If we make the conscious decision to follow our deepest dreams and desires, we must fight for it. Go get that college degree, even if you grew up in the ghetto. Go build your empire, even if they tell you you’re not intelligent enough. Be brave enough to prove them wrong, for the sake of all our future generations. Don’t just dream, BE the American dream!