Olivia Pope: Twice as good as them to get a half of what they have.
Scandal, Season 3, Episode 1
The Frustrated CFO's Comment:
I'm not placing this excerpt into quotation marks. First of all, it's not an exact citation - on screen it gets all broken up, because the characters interrupt each other with anger, frustration, exasperation, and all other similar feelings; Eli is yelling, and Liv is sort of shudders and attempts to shy away - all those over-the-top dramatics and stuff. More importantly, though, it's not an original phrase. Shonda Rhimes, who actually penned this episode herself, is brilliantly entertaining, but she didn't come up with this maxim. Many African-American journalists, bloggers, and celebrities commented on its wide-spread popularity in their families and communities. Some even tried to date it - 70s, 50s...
The truth is, however, this concept doesn't belong exclusively to black people of the United States. In fact, everywhere around the world similar formulas are spoken in different languages to bright and promising children who will have to spend their lives jumping over the barriers raised in front of them for no other reason than their minority status: Kurds in Turkey, Chinese in Indonesia, Hui in China, Indians in Uganda, Rohingyas in Burma, Jews and Gypsies wherever they are, etc., etc., etc.
Furthermore, the applicability of this mandate goes way beyond race and ethnicity. The same mantra is adapted as a way of life by every marginalized overachiever even in our blessed land we call "Free Country:" women going into "men's" professions; immigrants with strong accents attempting to climb corporate ladders; members of LGBT community trying to get a job outside of the fashion and the entertainment industries; overweight and deformed individuals applying for any position; young talented people without connections trying to break into especially nepotistic fields - the list is long.
Growing up a Jewish girl in one of the most anti-Semitic of European countries, I was barred from many professional careers and life opportunities. And in those that were permissible, someone like me had one chance in a thousand. My personal slogan was even more maximal: I had to be the best just to get in. Was I able to completely shake off the disenfranchised complex after nearly three decades in America? Fat chance! For starters, I'm a woman...