A recent post re-published a tribute to Caldera, the special initiative for underserved kids founded by Dan Wieden. MultiCultClassics cannot resist commenting on one particular excerpt from the piece:
So, how does this relate to advertising? To me, it seems that an entire generation is being given the opportunity and tools to express themselves in a creative, productive way. The skills that they can learn here can both directly and indirectly influence the industry because some of these talented people could, at some point, decide that the experience they had would be beneficial in advertising, marketing, branding and PR. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, these kids become future students at Brandcenter, The Creative Circus or other advertising/portfolio schools. Additionally, this is a group that could, one at a time, add much needed diversity to the industry.
Yes, the diversity debate will go on and it would be wrong for me, as a white, middle-class guy to be cavalier about it. It’s also tough for me to even open my mouth about diversity lest I get “blogttacked.” I know that I can’t control what people think or say. And I can’t control the fact that I am white. But I do know that there is good work being done here for all the right reasons. What I saw in Central Oregon matters—what Caldera does matters.
For starters, the following musings are not intended to “blogttack” the author or anyone else. Indeed, everyone must continue to freely air opinions if there is true hope for progress.
Caldera is—without question or doubt—a wonderful, noble and awesome effort. Yet positioning it as a tool for diversity doesn’t seem right. First and foremost, Caldera appears to be exposing kids to inspirational and creative ways of self-expression. The mission statement says, “caldera is a catalyst for transformation through innovative art and environmental programs.” It’s inherently about positive social change versus providing career counseling or guidance towards Madison Avenue.
But that’s beside the point MultiCultClassics wishes to ponder. Specifically, why do some folks think recruiting minorities involves underserved communities? Of the minorities presently in the business, how many had rough childhoods that would qualify as underserved? The presumption is slightly akin to clients who initially believe targeting minorities means appealing to low-income audiences.
When seeking White talent, no one ever considers scouting trailer parks and the Appalachian Mountains for candidates.