With the Academy Awards tonight, I offer this fact I did not know. When Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for her role in Gone With the Wind she had a long walk to take to accept the award. She could not sit with the rest of the cast in the auditorium. She had to sit in the back at a segregated table.
Thus, American society has clearly come a long way. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer will sit with the rest of the actors. The cameras will provide attention equal or greater to that given white actors. But they will be there for playing maids, just like Hattie McDaniel.
Yes, that is an oversimplification, but the reduction does show how far we have come and how far we have to go.