These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams. When I was growing up in Bangladesh in the 1980’s, my biggest dream was to get Bollywood but lucky for everyone, especially my parents, I found and settled on my true passion pretty early on– journalism and writing–by my senior year of high school.
That being said, I never imagined any kind of career or even a cameo in American media. I first came to the States to go to college in 1998 at the University of Virginia (UVA) and the number of people who looked like me on TV back then compared to the diversity you see on-air now, has barely changed.
Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers. The US population might be changing, but American newsrooms aren’t reflecting that diversity. It’s a just a fact. According The Status Of Women In The United States Media 2017 report, not only is 79% of people working in the publishing industry white, only 16.6% of newspaper staff are people of color.
The report also found that 37 percent of news articles and opinion pieces regarding reproductive rights and related issues were written by women. In a nutshell, when newsrooms and the media aren’t diverse, crucial perspectives and facts get missed.
My point is that there are so few women of color in the news as anchors, commentators, reporters, on-air talent basically, media personalities in American media that even when you make it from the control room to the Green room, you’ll be lucky if you find anyone else that looks like you.
Which is what makes our guest today even more amazing. How does one become an unapologetic woman of color in the media and the world? Lucky for us, we have Rula Jebreal here today to ask her exactly that.