Pass the Mic: Women of Colour Commentators in Scotland
Black History Month often brings into sharp focus how far we still have to go in terms of tackling racial inequalities. In the panel discussion that followed our recent screening of Knock Down the House, our excellent speakers noted how difficult political engagement can be as a woman of colour. The lack of representation of women of colour in the mainstream media was often cited as a contributing factor to this difficulty. This problem is far-reaching and deeply embedded in media production and practice. Innovative and new approaches to tackling this issue are very much needed, such as the new Pass the Mic website.
The website and database of women of colour commentators offers an exciting and much-needed resource for journalists, researchers and event organisers. Women of colour commentators exist in Scotland. They are educators, academics, researchers, campaigners, policy makers, community activists, writers, workers, carers and experts in many areas. However, they are missing from our media; rarely are they seen on our screens, read in our papers or heard on our radios. Even when the issues being discussed are about race and/or gender.
Too often the response from event organisers or media producers is that no woman of colour was known or could be found or often it is the same (very small) group of women of colour leaned on to make public appearances – which is not representative and utterly draining for those women. It is simply not good enough, and despite many attempts to raise awareness of this (often with women of colour doing the labour behind the scenes), women of colour continue to be under-represented.
It is, of course, ultimately the responsibility of those creating the platform (whether it’s a conference or a radio interview) to source a wide pool of opinion makers which reflect the diversity of Scotland and can speak to the issues of the day.
But this website offers a (growing) list which is a small attempt to change that. You can check it out here (and would encourage everyone to share this excellent resource as far as possible!): https://passthemicscotland.wordpress.com/