By Jamé Jackson
More than ever, marginalized groups are finally being seen and recognized in the media. But while there are some amazing examples of inclusivity and diversity out there, we still have a long way to go, specifically when it comes to amplifying women of color. Ready to make a difference? We’ve got several ways you can help.
1. Pass along job opportunities. The sad reality is that many women of color don’t have access to the same career resources as other groups do—and in addition, sometimes people assume they can only write about one specific genre or experience, making it hard to show off their diversity or range of content. Keep that in mind as you browse job sites, and be sure to share the love if you see any openings or resources that might be useful to women of color. (And if you or any of your loved ones are dealing with this, check out Journalists of Color, The Journalism Diversity Project, and Writers of Color.)
2. Understand the vocab. Being properly educated on terms such as “non-binary,” “gender non-conforming,” and “misogynoir,” (there are plenty more, so don’t stop with those three!) equips you to properly respond to people during daily interactions. These words are not just exclusive to women of color; however, it’s important to be culturally and racially sensitive when talking with or about marginalized groups. And once you’ve got those terms down, be sure to share your newfound knowledge with others, so they too can have more mindful conversations.
3. Read and support meaningful content. You know how you have that favorite writer at that one publication, and every time they write something, you’re posting it on your social media channels? Well, the same concept has to happen for up-and-coming journalists and women of color journalists, so make a point of seeking out content that’s outside of your scope of understanding. Read something that resonated with you? Pass it along to your friends and family. This should be a year-round concept, not just during certain months of the year dedicated to celebrating that ethnicity or race.
There are also a ton of organizations that exist to support marginalized people. You don’t need to be black to be part of a black resource group (same thing goes for Native American or Asian or Latinx causes). You’ll learn how different communities are economically and socially disadvantaged due to political constructs—and how we can all get involved to help each other.
4. Advocate, advocate, advocate. True story: Once when I posted an article on natural hair, an Internet troll told me to go back to Africa. While I certainly had the ability to defend my own work, it was special to see my community step in and leave positive comments like, “I loved the piece! I would try my hair like that,” or “This shows that hair is such a beautiful thing. Don’t think about those haters!” Racism is still an unfortunate reality for many people, so whether you are directly or indirectly affected by it, you should still fight for your fellow journalists who may experience it on a daily basis. It’s not about being a superhero, but it is about showing people that right is right (plus, wouldn’t you want the same thing done if it was you?). Everyone needs a pat on the back every once in a while, especially those of us working in media. Be that person for someone else.
Jamé Jackson is a freelance fashion and beauty columnist and writer based in NYC. She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheBlondeMisfit.com, a site geared for women of color in the fashion and beauty industry. To keep up with her love for color, blonde obsessions, and random beauty antidotes, check her out online at Theblondemisfit.com and follow her on Instagram at TheBlondemisfit.