Women of Color. Three words that strike discomfort to many editors in newsrooms — who are mostly white men — because they’re sensitive to potential accusations of sexism and racism.
Photo: Ian Kiragu on Unsplash
It is not new information that there is a lack of diversity in newsrooms with regard to both both race and gender. The American Society of News Editors conducts an annual newsroom census to determine how many women and racial minorities comprise newsrooms: in 2015, 22 percent of supervisor positions (both digital and print) were black, 21 percent were hispanic, and 65 percent were male.
These numbers are highly unrepresentative of the demographics of the United States, and although the census does not clarify the intersection of gender and race in these roles, it is not hard to see that most of the time if women are being hired, they were white.
Women of color are one of the most marginalized demographics in media. According to a study done by the Women in Media, women of color struggle more to get equal pay and in their everyday workplace assignments than their white counterparts. They are the lowest percentage of TV directors, and news reporters. Yet women of color currently make up about 35 percent of the female population in the U.S.
The importance of having more diverse newsrooms goes without saying, but often women of color face barriers that sometimes white women don’t even realize exist. Understanding those barriers is the first step in deconstructing them.
Isabella Grullón Paz is a 21-year-old senior journalism major at Ithaca College in upstate New York. She also studies international politics and is interested in immigration issues and migration patterns. She is originally from Colombia and the Dominican Republic and came to the United States three years ago.