Question: Wait a minute. I’m seeing diversity job fairs, minority youth outreach programs, chief diversity officer appointments, multicultural consultant groups, people of color award shows and more. So what’s the problem?
Answer: First of all, any effort to bring diversity to Madison Avenue deserves serious kudos. Yet the things mentioned above come with controversies too. For example, Sanford Moore can be debated on one point only, which he discussed in a recent interview with Advertising Age:
Ad Age: You’ve called chief diversity officers “pimps.” Why?
Mr. Moore: Let’s call them diversity parasites. They do nothing to help. If they do any good, where are the black executives in the organizations that they’re hired to? Besides themselves, who else is there?
The diversity officers, I mean they’re window dressing. They don’t have power, they can’t hire. But it’s not just diversity officers. It’s lawyers and diversity consultants and people that feed off of the exclusion to black people. It’s like blood diamonds. These people profit off of the blood that black people have spent trying to break into and achieve success on Madison Avenue. They do nothing to help. They just get paid to run interference, to create meaningless dialogue.
On certain levels, Moore makes a lot of sense. These observations were even touched upon in Culturally Clueless FAQ Number 8.
At the same time, it’s not fair or right to make a sweeping condemnation, as there are surely individuals igniting tremendous progress in such roles. The chief diversity officers, consultants, youth outreach program coordinators, job fair organizers and others should be saluted versus chastised. Let’s presume they are doing the best possible jobs under the toughest of circumstances.
However, MultiCultClassics humbly suggests positioning the true dilemma with a different term: Delegating Diversity.
Delegating Diversity happens when advertising executives (primarily Whites) dump all the responsibility for change on associates (primarily minorities). While the executives appear to be supportive—and likely view themselves as engaged—they are actually washing their hands of the mess. Assigning the heavy lifting to somebody else. Essentially hiding beneath their desks. These folks are the parasites.
As MultiCultClassics has stated repeatedly, diversity demands diversity. Everyone must be fully committed and fully involved. Segregating the players will lead to, well, segregation. Don’t shoot the soldiers fighting for improvements. Turn the guns back on the people lounging in the bunker. Draft the whole freaking industry into service.
So here’s the answer to the original question. You’re seeing diversity job fairs, minority youth outreach programs, chief diversity officer appointments, multicultural consultant groups, people of color award shows and more—but you’re not doing anything. That’s the damned problem.
Change has come to America. But it took a detour around Madison Avenue. While citizens have adopted phrases like “post-racial,” the advertising industry operates in a pre-Civil Rights time warp. Whenever the topics of diversity and inclusion appear, ad executives consistently display stunning ignorance. MultiCultClassics has sought to address the issues in the past. However, the matters have evolved along with society, despite Madison Avenue’s retarded development. As a public service, this blog will answer a series of Frequently Asked Questions to enlighten the asses… er, masses.