Not only can you be an actress when you grow up, you can be an Emmy Award Winner with a bank account to put all your family through college. Viola Davis is proof that it is possible to gracefully shatter the portrait of lighter hued women who have dominated the Emmy category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. If you have not yet seen How to Get Away with Murder this is one time when bandwagon jumpers are encouraged to shine. Her role is neither submissive nor demure and she does not play at “being white.” The Emmy was well deserved and her acceptance speech provoked a conversation that America needs to have.
“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity.” In a study done between 1993 and 2012 by the Pew Research Center, researchers found that over time, more Blacks and Hispanics have been enrolling in college yet when they looked at an older age group of Degree holders in 2012, those very races lagged behind Whites. More Blacks and Hispanics signed up for school but at graduation time the numbers didn’t reflect the higher enrollment rate. Where, when, how and why did we lose the Black and Hispanic college students? Why did they not graduate? Here’s a statistic to ponder, in 2012 the percentage of younger people with Bachelor’s Degrees (ages 18-24) were as follows:
- 9% Hispanic
- 9% Black
- 69% White
Those numbers are significant. There are even more percentages and studies and statistics that show that Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented at elite Universities. Our goal needs to be to get our children and cousins, and nieces and neighbors to the finish line and to make sure that the finish line has a reward that will be lucrative. Do not accept a two-year degree. We need to find new ways to get more Bachelor’s degrees, and ones that mean something from Universities that are recognized and respected. Let’s speak up loudly about the imbalance of opportunity in America, speak up and disrupt all comfort zones. Maybe we can make a change that we will be able to see in this very lifetime. Wouldn’t that be something?