Viola Davis on Racism in Hollywood

Viola Davis on Racism in Hollywood

On September 20, 2015, actress Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for lead actress in a drama. Davis began her speech with a Harriet Tubman quote: "In my mind, I see a line. And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can't seem to get there no-how. I can't seem to get over that line." She used the bulk of her acceptance speech to call out the TV industry for its lack of diversity, stating, "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."

The only thing that stands between women of color and "anyone else" is not only opportunity, but that is its own conversation. However, Davis is exactly right when she calls out the under-representation of women of color on television. According to The Guardian, "There is a major discrepancy between the actual population within the US and the representation of that population on TV. Minorities account for more than 40 percent of the US population, and yet they are significantly under-represented in the television industries. According to the report, minorities remain under-represented nearly six to one in broadcast-scripted leads and nearly two to one among cable-scripted leads."

Although we have seen a rise in the presence of black actors and black directors in Hollywood, the films struggled to find financing from the big movie studios and rely instead on independent producers, black investors, and even crowdfunding to get made. Despite America’s changing demographics, Hollywood’s most powerful industry leaders have been slow to respond to a demand for movies that reflect cultural and racial shifts that have long been underway.

Hollywood's reluctance to fund films like "Selma," "Twelve Years A Slave," and "Lee Daniel's The Butler" demonstrates racism not only within the entertainment industry, but also within society. Because television and entertainment are so ingrained in our society, the implications of a lack of diversity within the entertainment industry are ever-present.

Thanks to women like Viola Davis, Hollywood is now being challenged for its lack of diversity. Important change is often radical, but it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. And thankfully, in order to satisfy both the storytelling process and audience demand, studio heads are finally waking up.


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Joe Arpaio Announces Senate Run

The pardoned ex-sheriff runs for Arizona Senate seat

On Tuesday, former sheriff Joe Arpaio announced his Arizona Senate run, much to the dismay of many forward-thinking Americans. The last time Joe Arpaio was a household name was around 6 months ago when President Trump pardoned him.

Two months prior to the pardon, Arpaio had been convicted of criminal contempt for refusing a court order to stop racially profiling when looking for undocumented individuals to detain. Disregarding the charges, Trump pardoned him, demonstrating a rather prominent disregard for the justice system.

Arpaio, who had previously endorsed then-candidate Trump, was also a vocal supporter of the birthed movement, which suggested that former President Barrack Obama was not born in the United States. His history of racial discrimination and unfounded aggression towards people of color will likely follow him into the Senate if he gets elected.

Republican political commentator Ana Navarro voiced her concern and outrage over Arpaio’s Senate bid on Twitter, saying,“If you are a Latino, an African-American, or just a normal, decent, sane human being who rejects racial profiling and bigotry and are of voting age in Arizona, register to vote. Do it today. Ahora!”

Anna is far from alone in her sentiments, but she does stand out from her Republican colleagues. Of course, residents of Arizona will have the most impact in whether or not Arpaio is elected. Hopefully, they will reject the fear-mongering and bigotry that both Trump and Arpaio constantly fuel.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Don't Take Winter Break For Granted

Enjoy each other's company while you're in the same area code.

Something I've heard since the start of my first semester at college was that I would be dying to go back to school by the end of winter break.

This prediction mostly came from professors, family members, and older college students. While I am excited to see my friends from school again, I still don't quite understand what everyone was talking about. I've talked to people who say the last two weeks of break are dreadful and they would do anything to go back earlier. I can't say that I feel the same.

I love my friends at school, I'm excited for my classes next semester, I get along great with my roommates, and the food is pretty good, but that doesn't mean I'm going to brush off the amazing month I get to spend with my friends and family at home.

The most difficult part of going to school in the fall was saying goodbye to my friends at home. I think this was because I knew not much would change between my family and I, and I knew I would love school, but you can never predict how your relationships with friends will change when you go away.

This uncertainty terrified me. When you're in high school, you take your friends for granted. You don't have to wonder when you'll see each other again, and you always know how they're doing. Once you're in college that all changes. Going into the spring semester, I realized that I wont see some of my friends for another five or six months.

This realization showed me how important winter break is, and how grateful I am that I got to spend a month with my home-friends.

I don't know what changes after the first winter break that makes people so eager to go back to school. This was only my first break, so it's safe to say there are plenty of people who know better than I do, but I can't imagine getting to a point where I am ready to leave my friends again after a week or two.

I love that instead of having to plan ahead just to make a phone call I can just text them and within twenty minutes we're doing something together. Even if we're just relaxing in someone's living room, every bit of time we get together is special because we realize that soon we have to head our separate ways again.

So before you run back to campus, turn around and look at what you're running away from. Within the next few years life is going to change dramatically. People are going to get internships that might be in a different city, or someone's parents might decide to pick up and move to a state fourteen hours away. So spend time with your friends, go to your favorite restaurants, watch your favorite movies, and just enjoy each other's company while you're still in the same area code.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Holmes

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