[Emmy Award winner Viola] Davis has deservedly been championed across the press and social media for her speech, which went on to cite the trailblazing work of other black actresses and industry figures who she says redefined what it means “to be a leading woman, to be black.”
As challenging as it is for black [African American] women to find roles, there’s another group of women her words apply to who are even less visible on television. While black women accounted for 13% of female characters on prime-time television this year, Latinas made up just 4%, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Yet Latinos are actually the largest minority group in the U.S., accounting for about 17% of the population, compared to 13% for black Americans.
These statistics don’t diminish Davis’s point. Black women most certainly are still underrepresented, as are other minorities. Women overall get only 40% of speaking roles on all broadcast, cable, and Netflix programs, according to the report. So although the proportion of black female characters looks like it matches the percentage of the U.S. population that’s black, black women (and all women) are starting at a disadvantage because overall they have a smaller piece of the pie. –Marc Bain, QuartzRead more in Marc Bain's blog in Quartz by clicking here.