Navigating a career in media as Latinas is daunting – trust us, we live it every day – and this week’s #WCW will break down why.
Amanda Alcántara works a full-time gig at a research institute by day, and, when the sun falls, she heads editorial at La Galería, an independent magazine she co-founded.
La afro-dominicana knows very well how systemic sexism and racism can create barriers for mujeres hoping to make their media dreams a reality, but through her work at La Galería, she aims to dismantle these oppressive structures for women of color like her.
How have your gender, race and ethnicity made pursuing a career in journalism difficult?
When I was studying journalism and political science at Rutgers University, a professor told me that, as a woman of color, people wouldn’t respect me at first. Needless to say, he was right.
The barriers I’ve faced as a woman aren't always "in your face," and other times they are almost too "in your face." For instance, when I started as a print journalist, no one took me seriously, making it difficult for me to talk with sources. It was just me, an Afro-Latina woman with a voice recorder, and that alone didn’t merit credibility. However, when I started doing camera work, I noticed a shift. With a camera in hand, people began respecting me – they allowed me to take up space, accommodated me and wanted to be interviewed by me. I no longer had to prove to people that I was a reporter. But it hit me later that it was the camera itself, not me, that was garnering respect – technology, not the woman, was given credence.
When did you start to realize that your identities would impede your journalism job search?
Very quickly. In fact, right after college, I fell into a depression because I thought I had done everything right: I had two internships. I spoke multiple languages. I wrote for the student newspaper, and I worked at a television network. Yet, despite my impressive résumé, I couldn't find any work. The collapse of my "American Dream" made me abruptly understand the systems of oppression like I hadn't before.
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