Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Color of Diversity

Remember folks, the color of Diversity isn't black. Or should I say isn't just black.

Tamika Cosen contributed an insightful article on the advertising week blog today. She speculates that more black students are not seeking careers in advertising because ad schools aren't doing enough to articulate the successes of black people that made it on the creative side. (side note: watch our film, Pursuit of Passion: Diversity in Advertising; it's goal was to articulate the successes of folks from a variety of diverse backgrounds).

I love what she's written, but I wonder. Is the lack of diversity in advertising really about the lack of african american people? Diversity is such a big word with a lot of components: blacks, asians, hispanics, women, glbt. As an example, the holding company IPG promotes employee groups for each of these categories.

We have to ask ourselves what exactly is it we are trying to solve when we focus on Diversity efforts?

Maybe we really mean less white males. Recall the recent twitter chatter about the Award Show juries being about 99% male (#changetheratio, #toomanywhitemen).

Can you say more black, more brown, more yellow by in fact saying less white?

I don't have an answer on how to get there.

Yet as Tamika writes, exposure at the high school age is a good start. Then put the onus on colleges to inspire students toward advertising careers. Lastly, our industry must embrace and promote multi-cultural employees up through the ranks. Perhaps then we'll start to see less white men in the board room.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As someone working mid-level in creative, I think diversity goes past race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender. The true strength of any agency comes from the diversity of its ideas. I have been amazed by the creative work of juniors and students you've featured on your blog. As a manager, I know we need to hire more people like that for the industry, regardless of which boxes they fill out on a EEOC reporting form.

The industry also needs more older people to provide management mentorship and guidance for those who've made it past the junior level, speaking from personal experience. My hope is that those Boomers who have kept up with the technological and media changes in advertising find themselves welcome, wanted, and championed at the conference table going forward. We should be age blind at BOTH ends of the spectrum.

-GLBT female in advertising based in the Midwest