Clooney primarily spells it out:
Allison Samuels parses the roundtable:
In Hollywood, where even legendary filmmaker George Lucas had to fight and ultimately use his own money to get an all-black film (Red Tails) made, black actresses still struggle to find quality work. When they do, they are rarely cast as ideals of beauty or objects of desire. On the odd occasion that they are, only a certain look will do. …
[Viola] Davis’s work has been consistently stellar throughout her career, yet her most celebrated role to date may just be that of a maid to a white family during the ’60s in the Deep South. Some viewed The Help as another stereotypical representation of black life, but Davis still found a way to shine in her work. Diverse and well-defined parts such as the ones Theron enjoys—a ruthless killer in one film, a dying woman in love in another—aren’t offered to Davis, nor are well-paid endorsement deals with Christian Dior. In the world Davis lives in, you take a role like the one of Aibileen in The Help because you’ve long given up on the notion that more balanced, nuanced parts about women who look like you are on the horizon.