Sunday, January 31, 2010
From Yahoo! News…
22-year-old goes from Miss Va. to Miss America
By Oskar Garcia, Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS – A 22-year-old Virginia woman who said she once thought her only talent was singing is the nation’s newest Miss America, emerging from a field of 53 contestants picked for their beauty, compassion and interview savvy.
Caressa Cameron, a broadcast journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University, now plans a second year away from college as she travels extensively to raise money for charity and carry the 89-year-old pageant’s crown.
“I hope to gain inspiration, I hope to gain momentum so that when this 365 days is over, I can shoot through the moon,” Cameron told The Associated Press.
Cameron, the first black Miss America since Ericka Dunlap in 2005, says she wants to get a master’s degree and eventually become a news anchor.
Cameron, the daughter of a background researcher for the government and a contractor, said she was inspired to compete in pageants at age 14, when Miss Virginia 2003 Nancy Redd visited her school.
“At that time, all I knew that I could do was sing — that’s all I had,” the Fredericksburg, Va., native said.
Cameron said that after that visit, she decided to try out for a school musical, which snowballed into more opportunities in the arts, drama and other areas.
“More doors and more doors continued to open,” she said. “It’s so important that we reach our young people, because there are so many young people that are at the very same crossroads that I was at.”
“We need those people to let them know that just because your circumstances are a certain way, you don’t have to succumb to them,” she said. “You can do something amazing, like become Miss America.”
The last Miss America from Virginia was Nicole Johnson in 1999.
Cameron won the title and a $50,000 scholarship Saturday night after strutting in a skintight yellow dress, belting Beyonce’s “Listen” from “Dreamgirls” and advising parents to limit video games and television when asked about childhood obesity during an onstage interview.
“We need to get our kids back outside, playing with sticks in the street like I did when I was little,” she said. “Expand your mind, go outside and get to see what this world is like.”
Miss California Kristy Cavinder was the first runner-up, winning $25,000.
The young women who came out on stage at the beginning of the pageant and danced to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas are from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
After a week of preliminary competition that counted 30 percent toward their final scores, they each introduced themselves to the crowd Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
“From the home of the Governator, I am here to pump you up,” Cavinder said as she was introduced.
The judges, the public and contestants themselves then trimmed the field over the next two hours.
Actor and “Extra” host Mario Lopez hosted the 89-year-old pageant with help from Clinton Kelly of TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” The pageant was broadcast live on TLC.
The panel of judges included radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, actress Vivica Fox, musician Dave Koz, Miss America 2002 Katie Harman, gymnast Shawn Johnson and former “American Idol” finalist Brooke White. Comedian Paul Rodriguez was set to be a judge, but organizers said he pulled out because of a family emergency.
Each judge ranked their five favorites in order, and their ballots were used to pick Cameron as the winner. She was crowned by Miss America 2009 Katie Stam of Seymour, Ind.
Cameron won her state’s title on her fourth try, and said she saw pageantry as a way to raise money and awareness for her platform issue, AIDS awareness.
She said the issue is personal for her because her uncle died of AIDS and her family fostered a young girl who lived with the disease.
She was recognized by Congress in 2007 for her work to bring instant-result HIV testing to her home state.
During the Miss Virginia pageant last year, Cameron was asked her opinion about gay marriage, the same issue Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked about during the Miss USA pageant two months earlier.
Cameron said she believed marriage should be between a man and woman because of her religious beliefs, but she didn’t think there should be laws against gay marriage.
When the judges’ decision in that pageant came, Cameron said she experienced a quiet moment onstage.
“‘Thy will be done,’ That’s what I kept saying,” she said. “Thy will be done.”
The crowning of a Miss America began in 1921 as a publicity stunt to persuade tourists on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk to stick around after Labor Day.
The bathing revue blossomed in the age of television into an American pop icon before fading in later years and losing it place on network TV in 2004. It moved to the Las Vegas Strip in 2006 in an attempt to reinvent itself and has found a home on cable television.
The End of Black History Month?
Why I’m not ready to ditch it—yet.
By Raina Kelley | Newsweek Web Exclusive
When did everybody start hating on Black History Month? I have yet to find a person, black or white or anything else, looking forward to the February festivities. At one point, when speaking to a well-known black intellectual about participating in a video NEWSWEEK is putting together, I was stunned by the vehemence of his refusal. It’s not as if I was asking him to march to Birmingham. But I get it. It seems ghettoizing and patronizing to spend one month of every year proving that black history is a holistic part of American history. As Morgan Freeman once famously told Mike Wallace, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? … Which month is White History Month? … I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.” Because today the divisions between black and white are not as cavernous or ugly as they once were. The contributions of famous black Americans, from Frederick Douglass to Oprah Winfrey, are widely known. Martin Luther King Jr. has his own federal holiday. The president of the United States is black. If tens of millions of white people voted for Barack Hussein Obama, the lesson has been learned, right? As if. Despite the election of Obama, African-Americans still live in a culture that is overreliant on stereotype and slow to explore the complexity of racialized issues such as the ghetto or Haiti. So you can complain about Black History Month all you want. But there’s still work to be done.
When Carter G. Woodson began Negro History Week in 1926, he chose the second week of February to encompass the birth dates of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Its purpose then was to teach some and remind others that the history of black people in America was not simply the story of subjugation. Woodson recognized that, shell-shocked from slavery and demoralized by Jim Crow, black Americans had to build a vision that would give them the confidence to partake in the fruits of freedom. “We have a wonderful history behind us,” Woodson said. “If you are unable to demonstrate to the world that you have this record, the world will say to you, ‘You are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else.’ “ But Woodson—himself a historian and only the second African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (W.E.B. Du Bois being the first)—recognized the radicalism inherent in a call to educate and inspire African-Americans. For, if Negro History Week asked blacks to slough off the scars of oppression, it also demanded that whites acknowledge their role as oppressors. Woodson’s aim was also to rebut the inaccurate and insulting stereotyping that then passed for knowledge about African-Americans—such as the canards that black people aren’t as intelligent as other races and are more prone to criminality and dancing. And sadly, nearly 100 years and a civil-rights movement later, too many people still believe that.
Instead of using Black History Month to demand that the promise of freedom inherent in the Constitution be given to all its citizens, our culture has given in to the impulse to see the month as the commemoration of “a civic fairy tale,” as NEWSWEEK editor Jon Meacham wrote in his book Voices in Our Blood, “Everything came together in August 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and conjured his Promised Land … A moment later, it seems now, the ‘White Only’ signs came down, the polling booths opened up, and the Dream was more or less fulfilled.” For Black History Month to once again seem culturally relevant, part of its time must be spent asking why there are still so many negative portrayals of black people in our culture—we can’t just spend all 28 days talking about the nice ones. And rather than wasting time bemoaning the existence of Black History Month, why don’t we use it to proselytize for the issues that need to be more fully covered and understood the other 337 days of the year—such as failing inner-city public schools, institutionalized poverty, health-care disparities, and job discrimination?
Black history is American history, no doubt. But Black History Month is a measure of how fully or accurately our story is being told and a reminder of the work yet to be done. Thus, it works in exactly the same way as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October or Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June. I understand the desire of Freeman and others to do away with what seems at times like a catalog of complaints. Trust me, I’m not always thrilled to be the radical—constantly reminding people that half-full is still half-empty. But despite the burden, consider that without me, without Morgan Freeman, without all of us, “absent, too, would be the need for that tragic knowledge which we try ceaselessly to evade: that the true subject of democracy is not simply material well-being but the extension of the democratic process in the direction of perfecting itself,” as Ralph Ellison wrote in What America Would Be Like Without Blacks, “and that the most obvious test and clue to that perfection is the inclusion—not assimilation—of the black man.” When Black History Month returns to that work and moves away from the limp B-roll it has become, then it will be working not only toward a noble and patriotic goal but also as Carter Woodson intended—toward its own irrelevance.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
MultiCultClassics Post 7480 presented a comment addressing Jim Edwards at BNET, responding to the Pine-Sol-inspired volley between the advertising writer and Pepper Miller. Turns out that the commenter is Doug Eaves, Academic Dean at Gregg International College in Tokyo, Japan. Eaves followed up his original musings with a six-part comment left at Post 7476. Check it out. And you have to wonder how Eaves might respond to the Pine-Sol spot that used silly imagery featuring the Asian Zen master.
KissMyBlackAds offered creative direction to Alex Bogusky in response to Lincoln Stephens and Shelton Scott appearing on the FearLess Q+A show.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Pine-Sol executive Hank Mercier left a second comment at Pepper Miller’s Pine-Sol Post. Not sure if this guy should be commended—or if he’s been sniffing too much of his own product. Here’s what he typed:
By hankmercier | Oakland, CA
Thank you so much to everyone for your comments and links. I don’t think it is appropriate in this public forum to speak to our targeting work specifically, but know we keep a very close ear to the ground (through insight work and advertising testing) on our campaigns and Diane.
It is not that I (and we) don’t recognize sentiments exist about Diane’s role in our advertising, I was simply saying that we universally do not hear it from consumers directly when we test our ads and when we travel with Diane. Your point is fair about it being unlikely that consumers would be rude to Diane when we are on the road with her…point taken!
To that end, Pepper, I’d love to see the research you reference if you’d be willing to share.
Pepper, I completely agree there is an opportunity to have Diane play a more prominent role in our Powerful Difference program and, while she has played a role for years in Sisterspeak events and countless other engagements, we have begun integrating her into our Powerful Difference campaign on TV as well.
Check out this link for an example of how Diane is helping our Powerful Difference program.
Lastly, I absolutely will take a look at your book, Pepper, and look forward staying in touch.
Thank you again, everyone, for your comments.
Yeah, the folks at Pine-Sol must be thanking God it’s Friday. They’re probably praying that some new natural disaster or celebrity scandal will emerge to deflect attention from the mini-PR gaffe. Why does Mercier want to see Miller’s research? Um, the thread is all the evidence you need, friend. It’s actually pretty funny how Mercier signs off, as if he’s closing the meeting. Sorry, dude. The World Wide Web is one place where advertising people don’t feel obligated to do what the client wants.
The comment below was left for Jim Edwards at BNET, in response to his Pine-Sol counterpoint. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in making progress in the advertising industry—or in society, for that matter.
thanks for the link to MultCultClassics
Mr. Edwards, although I think that a person of European heritage in the USA has about as much of an idea of what racism in the USA is to African Americans as what ‘cold’ means to Inuits in the Arctic, I must say I respect you for placing the link to the MultCultClassics blog and by admitting that you don’t know what it is like to be an African American in the USA. Now, if you admit that you don’t know what it is like to be an African American in the USA, how can you tell what is perceived as racist to an African American, or not? That point is in the blog post of MultCultClassics, for which you generously provided a link. You may or may not have read it yet. His criticism of your presumption in saying what is, or isn’t, racist is fairly mild by my standards. But it’s a point that I think deserves more discussion. Talking about our perceptions of what we experience in our daily lives and how we perceive those experiences is a big step toward understanding each other. Of course, it’s a fantasy because at the end of the day, people generally return to be with those of the group to which they belong. That ‘group’ often means race in the USA. On occasions there is racial mixing during time away from work, but it occurs much less than in Brazil where the majority of the population is already racially mixed on an individual basis. While racism against those who are darker skinned (or who happen to belong to the dwindling numbers of indigenous people there) exists, it is of a different character than the strain that emerged in the Anglophone world. I could tell you why, but I get hammered for overly long comments, so look it up yourself, if you want to understand why you can’t make a general proclamation about what is, or isn’t, racist in a country where African Americans may experience racism, yet European Americans cannot experience racism as a socio-cultural phenomenon based on the history that created the society and culture of the USA as you know it today.
But I don’t mind being hammered, and you probably don’t have the time to look it up yourself, so I’ll try to be as concise and direct as possible, yet still provide enough supporting ideas, details, and examples so that you can get more than just a sound bite of information if you read this.
Someone may discriminate against you because of the color of your skin, but to call it racism is an inaccurate use of that word. Racism is an ideology that promotes a hierarchy of human worth based on skin color with the lighter skinned being at the top and the darker skinned at the bottom. And it has been systematically institutionalized in the culture of the USA over the past 400 years where those with lighter skin have been at the top and those with darker skin have been at the bottom. In that regard, little has changed since the first slave ship anchored off the coast of Virginia nearly 400 years ago. The effects of this racial hierarchy put African Americans at a disadvantage in American culture, then as now. Racism isn’t just saying, “I don’t like him because he’s a Venusian.” It’s an institutional force in a society that transcends the actions of any one individual. It is part of your culture, so until the culture of the USA is somehow miraculously transformed to Dr. King’s vision of a colorblind society, or there is adequate miscegenation, or everyone get’s collective amnesia about US history (which is the most likely scenario, since most white people are already there), there will continue to be racist messages in what may appear to you as harmless pitches for products. At the same time, I can guarantee you that Ms. Miller understands your point of view, even though she’s not a European American man. Why? She had no choice if she wanted to be successful in business in US society. She must understand what a European American man understands or she wouldn’t understand the advertising world, since it is a product of the European American male. European American females are well represented in marketing, but the ad world, well, it’s still a man’s world, isn’t it? And those men are white aren’t they? And Ms. Miller obviously understands the advertising world, and you are dead wrong about her being out of a job if there weren’t racism in ads (which is absurd to even consider, since the culture in the USA is racist, how could it not produce racist ads?). But if there were a reduction in the racism in ads, it would be because the ad industry had more African American people and other racial minority group members in their creative departments and in their executive suites. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon, do you? The increased presence of African American actors as the main character in ads has been a nice touch since President Obama was inaugurated, but how many of those African American as central character ads were created by African American creatives? Uh-huh, that’s what I thought. Do you get it yet?
You freely admit that you don’t know what it’s like to be black, yet at the same time you apparently feel qualified to make a judgment about a phenomenon, racism, that you don’t understand. How could you? You’re not an African American and you didn’t spend 7 years in graduate school studying it. At least you gave the link to the MultCultClassics site (or I guess you did), and that’s a pretty nice gesture. Now, the strongest point Ms. Miller made is that there is simply not the sensitivity regarding the HISTORICAL INJUSTICES that have CREATED THE CULTURE that YOU LIVE IN NOW. So, of course you never owned a slave and maybe you even got bumped from a promotion because of affirmative action (but I doubt it because you are too young, you are post-Bakke age, I assume), but you don’t understand that being white is a natural advantage in a racist culture (and the only culture I can think of where it was a disadvantage to be lighter skinned was when the San of the Kalahari Desert and surrounding areas were invaded by the Bantu many many centuries ago). You don’t understand this, and how could you? Maybe you had one university course in Race and Racism or even American Ethnicity, or maybe not. And you probably haven’t read a lot of American history written from the perspective of how African Americans experienced that history.
So, while Andrew Jackson was having a wild party in the White House after his election and the ‘cultured’ elites of the young nation were aghast, most Americans were taught that is was a big victory for the ‘common man.’ It didn’t say ‘common white man,’ did it? No. And Mr. Edwards, that’s the point. So, American history is still being taught as though the European-American experience of history is the American experience of history, and it’s simply not true for a significant part of the American population. No progress will ever be made until, addenda are added that say, “while the ‘common men’ were celebrating their candidate’s victory for the Presidency, African American slaves were being slaves in the Southern states, and the Border states as well. Their rights were not included in the Bill of Rights, because they had none. They did not vote. And they could not prevent their owners from selling them or their wives or children to other slave owners. The abolition movement had begun but it was promoted by a few out of touch New England intellectuals. Women were still property, too, but they couldn’t be sold, not legally anyway. And that’s how American democracy began its first expansion toward universal suffrage…” or something along those lines. No, you didn’t read those lines in your textbooks, or if you did, you conveniently classified it as history, as though it were some old dead thing that holds no relevance for you today.
150 years ago is really not all that long ago. I teach students whose history extends over 4000 years, 2000 years as a unified country. They smirk when I say even mention the word history in the same sentence as the USA. And then we have a good laugh. Because they know and I know that 150 years ago is really just yesterday in cultural terms. So underneath the glittery multicultural surface of slick PR presentations, US culture is really not all that much different from when the Master could take a cat o’ nine tails to his ‘property’ for insubordination or disobedience. Check out the prison population if you don’t think so. It’s the modern equivalent of Master’s cat o’ nine tails. The US sits at the top with nearly 1% of its population behind bars. China has about 0.1% behind bars, and India, the most multicultural country in the world, has 0.03% behind bars. Who is behind bars in the USA? Why? Are Americans that much more criminal than the Chinese or Indians? I don’t think so.
So, while I personally think you have handled this issue with dignity and fairness, it would be interesting to see if you would make an extra step and really try to understand what it is like to be an African American in the USA. Because if you are going to write about issues that are directly related to their history, experiences, and disadvantages in a CULTURE OF RACISM, then you should become knowledgeable about what you are writing about. So far, I see little that tells me you have much knowledge or sensitivity toward the issue of race in the USA, which is like the other European Americans I’ve known, myself being excepted because people always thought I was an African American anyway, and I never tried to dissuade them of that opinion. It can have its advantages, on a personal level, at least.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Things continue to get interesting at the Pepper Miller Pine-Sol post. Now Clorox executive Hank Mercier has chimed in to defend his advertising. His comments mirror those made in 2003 by Clorox executive Mary O’Connell and DDB executive Ken Dudwick. It’s clear that Clorox has worked to reach out to the Black community, and the efforts are commendable. Yet it’s difficult to understand the consistent denial that something is wrong. It’s also typical to see no one arriving at the ultimate realization that the collective cultural cluelessness of a client and its agency is a root cause of the problem—that is, this is a symptom of the industry’s exclusivity. Finally, it’s uncomfortable and unfortunate to think about actress Diane Amos, as she’s just doing her job and serving as a brand ambassador. But that’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby.
From The New York Daily News…
Chris Matthews on Obama State of the Union address: ‘I forgot he was black’
By Neil Nagraj
Daily News Staff Writer
Loose-lipped MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews has unleashed a flood of Internet chatter with the odd remark he “forgot he [Obama] was black.”
Analyzing Obama’s State of the Union address, he called the President “post-racial” before saying, “I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. He’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and past so much history in just a year or two. I mean it’s something we don’t even think about.
“I was watching and I said, wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is, President of the United States, and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it.”
In an appearance later in the evening on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow, Matthews attempted to clarify his earlier comments.
He was trying to say Obama’s leadership has shattered a black-white divide in American politics, he told Maddow, calling his feelings upon hearing Obama’s speech an “epiphany.”
“Chris Matthews forgot he was black” was high on Google’s list of hot Web searches Thursday morning.
This isn’t the first time Matthews has made an unusual remark that set tongues wagging. Covering the Potomac primaries for MSNBC, Matthews said he “felt this thrill going up my leg” listening to Obama speak.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Pepper Miller responded to Jim Edwards’ Pine-Sol counterpoint in professional and polite fashion. MultiCultClassics wanted to chip in an additional two cents.
First, both Miller and Edwards are respected at this blog. Yet it seems Edwards responded to what he considered an overreaction with a bigger overreaction. As an overlord of overreactions, MultiCultClassics feels overqualified to go over it.
As previously noted, Miller never called the Pine-Sol work racist. In fact, she opened by referencing consumer perceptions:
In earlier campaigns, many Black consumers perceived the Pine Sol Lady, portrayed by Diane Amos, a pretty, full-figured woman, as a “mammy-type servant.”
Miller was not spewing an angry, subjective beef. She was merely restating what observers have already noted for years via The New York Times and Adweek.
Edwards’ “revelation” regarding Miller’s alleged conflict of interest is silly. Miller has never hidden her employment background. It’s officially listed in the Blogger Bios. Most visitors to The Big Tent are completely aware of her credentials. The truth is, Miller rarely pans ads; rather, she is usually praising the work and clients she admires, or simply typing about contemporary cultural topics. It’s a safe bet that Miller isn’t forwarding sharp rants to fuel paranoia and ensure she doesn’t “go out of business.” Regular readers of Miller’s posts could possibly conclude she’d be absolutely delighted if the industry evolved to a state where her services might be deemed obsolete.
MultiCultClassics has repeatedly declared that no one can dictate whether or not people think something is racist. So when Edwards dismissed Miller (“Putting that aside, is she correct? No.”), he displayed arrogance and ignorance of the highest order. Sorry.
Particularly ridiculous was Edwards griping, “It is not the job of a detergent company to raise black America’s self-esteem.” Where did Miller hint at that? Granted, Miller might suggest a detergent company is hurting itself by potentially insulting Blacks, but she has yet to lecture any company on an obligation to lift the collective spirit of an entire racial group.
Edwards’ whining about restrictions to advertising is a contrived and tired argument. Plenty of brands have managed to portray minorities in positive ways, including Nike and Allstate (through its use of spokesman Dennis Haysbert). Being edgy and breakthrough does not require insensitivity and offensive imagery. Need proof? Check out the annual winners of nearly every reputable awards show.
Finally, Edwards’ interpretation of the Buick Enclave spot confirms his lack of credibility in this affair. While MultiCultClassics is hardly a fan of Black automotive advertising—and thinks the Buick spot is corny—Edwards appears oblivious to the commercial’s cues. For starters, how often does Madison Avenue present upscale Black men? If Omnicom had produced the spot, the dude would’ve eventually driven to his job as a mailroom attendant. BTW, Mr. Edwards, there is zero bling in the spot. The guy isn’t even wearing a diamond stud earring. And standard White guys have been known to own up to three watches too.
Anyway, this blog continues to respect Edwards and his opinions. However, his odd attack on Miller seemed a little weak and uncalled for. But maybe MultiCultClassics is overreacting.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
From The Chicago Reader…
Six Stories About the Census
How Medill students and local ethnic papers came together to find a common immigrant experience
By Michael Miner
In these trying times for mainstream media, which Chicago journalists have the most to say to one another but are least likely to say it? My nominees would be the publishers of the region’s ethnic press. Most run shoestring operations, serving readers of modest means who share a common experience as strangers in a strange land yet are divided by such profound partitions as religion, history, neighborhood, and language.
If you’d told me a few days ago that six ethnic papers would run long stories this week on the upcoming federal census, I’d have assumed it was an interesting coincidence—one reflecting the apprehension felt by all newcomers when government comes around asking questions.
But coincidence doesn’t explain the six stories—idealism does. The stories were all written by undergrads at Northwestern’s Medill journalism school taking a class called “Connecting with Immigrants and Multi-ethnic Communities.” The six papers were brought together by Jack Doppelt, the professor teaching the class, and Steve Franklin, a former Tribune reporter who spent two years in the Peace Corps in Turkey before joining the paper and after leaving it taught journalism in Egypt.
Supported by a Carnegie Foundation grant, Doppelt’s class was created a year ago on the premise that “much of urban journalism is falling apart [and] we must find novel ways to tell stories.” Working out of Columbia College’s Community Media Workshop, Franklin has dedicated himself to helping the local ethnic media survive and grow. The two of them came up with the idea of an “ethnic media summit.”
It was held last October 27 in Doppelt’s classroom. Journalists from half a dozen papers and one independent Web site met not only Doppelt’s 11 students but one another. Until that meeting, “I wasn’t aware that there was a Korean publication in Chicago,” says Silvana Tabares, managing editor of the bilingual Latino weekly Extra.
Franklin and Doppelt’s idea was to divvy the students up among the six papers and have them write stories sharing a common theme. Health care was one they kicked around, foreclosures another. But immigration was the compelling experience everyone’s readers shared, and when the journalists looked for a more specific focus, they landed on the census.
From the six papers:
Jessica Abels, Raphaelle Neyton, and Shasha Zou in al Moustaqbil (“The Future”): “When Arab Americans fill out their census forms in just a few months, they won’t find an Arab category listed next to Asian, Black or African American, or White. ‘Arab is not considered a race, so there’s no racial category,’ explains Louise Cainkar, a board member of the Arab American Action Network. ‘They have to check the white box, and a lot of people feel that their experience is not the white experience, so that’s unfair.’”
Kate Endeley and Clara Lingle in the Korea Central Daily News: “Han and Kim cite many reasons why Koreans who are not U.S. citizens opt out of participating: they are undocumented and therefore fear the legal repercussions; they struggle with English (the 2000 census forms did not come in a Korean version); they find the participation process too tedious or they are unaware of the census itself.”
Zoe Jennings in Pinoy: “Many Filipinos may not understand the importance of the count because in the Philippines, there is no census equivalent and they had never been counted. In providing the government with their name and family information, Clarito says, many Filipinos fear that the government is keeping tabs on them, or at the very least, will demand they perform jury duty or another civic duty.”
Jessica Allen in the India Tribune: “Kamaria said many people don’t know why the census matters, and that in general it needs to be better explained. Even she expressed uncertainty about how the census would affect illegal immigrants who choose to fill out the forms and whether illegal immigrants or students are even supposed to fill it out.”
Matthew Bellassai and Alex Hollander in Extra: “Although the Census is separate from the rest of the government, people tend to associate the two. ‘It’s all “the government” as far as anyone’s concerned,’ Espinoza said. ‘”The government wants to charge me more taxes, the government wants to get me arrested for immigration purposes.” There’s no distinction there,’ he said. Many people in the community tend to agree.”
Arianna Hermosillo and Nadine Shabeeb in the Polish Daily News: “Another barrier to filling out the census form is that people may not even recognize it when it arrives in the mail, according to Zajaczowska. ‘We will have to teach them that the Census 2010 means “Spis Powszechny,”’ Zajaczowska said. This literally translates to ‘common list’ which is what the census is called in Poland.”
Franklin and Doppelt say the papers participated enthusiastically, and I wondered why. They were committing themselves to running major stories on their communities by ethnic outsiders who were moreover still learning the craft of journalism. And the stories would be written in English, meaning that in some cases they would have to be translated. (Pinoy and the India Tribune publish in English, Extra in English and Spanish.)
“In the best of all worlds,” Franklin allowed, the stories on the census would have been staff written. “But most of these papers are very small-staffed. We gave them an extra boost. … And for the students it was an eye-opening experience.”
Read the full story here.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Jim Edwards at BNET offers his counterpoint on Pepper Miller’s Pine-Sol post. There’s even another comment like one left at The Big Tent, with a probable Pine-Sol executive defending the work by offering a link to Pine-Sol’s community outreach program.
This is hardly the first time someone has questioned the insensitivity associated with the Pine-Sol character. The woman has been a source of controversy since at least 2003, and the criticism resurfaces with every ad.
It’s always bewildering to see defenders adamantly declare something is not racist, as if they’ve been handed the authority to dictate others’ responses. And technically, Miller did not state the ads were racist; rather, she noted the presence of stereotypical images. She’s not the first or only person to make the observation. She won’t be the last.
Of course, no one wants to address the consistent stereotypes and even racist imagery routinely coming from Omnicom. Guess it’s easier to focus on pooh-poohing the offended.
At The Big Tent, Pepper Miller thinks the latest Pine-Sol work smells funny. Didn’t realize the campaign is the handiwork of DDB in San Francisco. DDB in New York produced the N.Y. Lottery spot with a Black mailroom attendant, while DDB in Chicago presented a Black mailroom attendant for OfficeMax. Guess the agency is out to cover stereotypes in every market. Keep up the offensive streak, Omnicom.
Calling for cash in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• Gary Coleman was busted in Utah for failing to appear in court. No word if he was bailed out by CashCall.com.
• Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren reportedly spent several days together at a Mississippi rehab clinic where the golfer is being treated for sex addiction. Woods will likely need serious help from CashCall.com to appease his wife.
• Walmart is dumping 11,200 employees from its Sam’s Club stores, opting to outsource in-store product demonstrations. For employees, there are no privileges for being members of the club.
T-Mobile Careers presents an interactive experience featuring a diverse collection of employees who point to various words when activated by your cursor. Of course, the Black guy is the only one executing a funky dance move.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Advertising Age named LatinWorks as Multicultural Agency of the Year. It’s still bizarre to lump all minorities into a single receptacle, but LatinWorks definitely displays breakthroughs in a variety of areas.
LatinWorks Is Ad Age’s Multicultural Agency of the Year
Austin Shop Grew 13% in 2009 and Pulled in Work From Burger King, Starburst
By Laurel Wentz
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — In LatinWorks’ Starburst commercial, a llama faces a young man as they both chew contentedly, then with a hand and a hoof feed each other more Starburst candies, selling the message of an intensely juicy treat that people—and their llamas—love to share.
“I think we used the word bizarre,” said Carole Walker, VP-integrated marketing communications at Mars. “It’s really endearing.”
Though created by Mars’ U.S. Hispanic agency, the spot crossed over from the Hispanic market to general-market TV and into the popular culture in 2009, as people posted their own spoofs on YouTube and tweeted “I wanna eat Starburst with a llama.” Mattel’s American Girls doll line gave one of its dolls, Chrissa, a white baby llama pet named Starburst. And after a double-digit decline in Hispanic sales, down 27.7% in 2008, Starburst’s Hispanic sales shot up 14.8% within three months of LatinWorks’ campaign launching.
“That opened up not only larger budgets on current pieces of business, but also adding new brands,” Ms. Walker said. In addition to new Starburst ads breaking in March 2010, LatinWorks is readying work for Twix, M&M’s and Snickers.
One of the agency’s hallmarks is work that is highly creative and effective in the Hispanic market, but eschews stereotypes and transcends ethnicity. Despite the disastrous 2009 economy, LatinWorks grew revenue by 13% and came up with strategic solutions to drive business for its clients’ brands, earning the accolade of Ad Age’s Multicultural Agency of the Year. While other shops did layoffs, LatinWorks’ staff grew by 15% to 106 people. In a slow year for new business, the agency won pitches for Bacardi and Burger King, now its biggest client, and took home the U.S. Hispanic market’s only trophy from the Cannes Lions International Advertising festival. Unsurprisingly, the prize went to the llama.
LatinWorks was started by two Anheuser-Busch marketing veterans, Manny Flores, a fourth-generation Texan who was Anheuser-Busch’s VP-marketing development, and Mexican-born Alejandro Ruelas, A-B’s director-ethnic marketing. They ended up creating the model for their own Hispanic shop when their boss, August Busch, sent them to explain A-B’s success with Hispanics to other marketers who had asked about it. They opened LatinWorks in 1998 with Sergio Alcocer, now the agency’s president and chief creative officer. (In 2006, they sold a 49% stake to Omnicom Group.) With their background, Miller was soon the biggest client, accounting for almost half of revenues. The shop resigned the business amid leadership changes and a sense that the client was talking down to Hispanics.
That opened the door for Anheuser-Busch, where LatinWorks became one of three U.S Hispanic shops and competed for general market assignments, scoring three Super Bowl slots for Bud Light spots. After InBev bought A-B, the only Hispanic agency left standing was LatinWorks.
“They have a very open, collaborative creative process,” said Dave Peacock, president of Anheuser-Busch InBev North America. “We’ve learned a lot from them about what motivates the Latino consumer.”
In their battle against the status quo in the Hispanic market the beer guys who had no agency experience built somewhat of a contrarian agency, based in Austin, a city where no one opens a Hispanic shop. But the Texas town is affordable, has a superb quality of life for creative people, and brims with talent. The University of Texas at Austin graduates more Hispanic students in advertising than any other U.S. school, Mr. Ruelas said.
LatinWorks has a deep creative bench, led by third partner Mr. Alcocer, who completed an executive MBA last year that included a team project with McKinsey Europe to analyze what makes ads both award-winning and effective.
“Sergio, Sergio, Sergio,” said Russell Weiner, exec VP and chief marketing officer of another LatinWorks client, Domino’s Pizza. “I’m such a Sergio fan. He’s a big part of the special sauce.”
Winning another fast food account, Burger King, in early 2009 was a “blessing” because it got a tough year off to a good start, and let the agency hire people, Mr. Alcocer said. Burger King’s Hispanic traffic was falling, and LatinWorks quickly realized the company promoted Whoppers to the general market as “flame-broiled,” but not to the Hispanic market, where flame broiling, or “a la parrilla” is exactly how Latinos like food prepared. LatinWorks did ads portraying a strange world where people did their cookouts in huge outdoor frying pans. In Los Angeles, Burger King’s biggest Hispanic market, traffic had dipped by 10% but went back up to previous levels after the flame-broiling campaign targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanics.
In 2010 Mr. Flores estimates LatinWorks, which reliably posts double-digit revenue increases every year, will grow 10% to 15%.
From The Los Angeles Times…
A Chinese American immigration secret emerges from the dark days of discrimination
The U.S. banned Chinese immigration in 1882. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906, because it destroyed records, opened the door to immigrants whose only ‘family ties’ were made of paper.
By Ching-Ching Ni
For his children, the mystery surrounding Joe Yee’s past started with his name.
Growing up in Sacramento, Steve Yee, now 56, remembers piling into his father’s big Pontiac Streamliner to visit the Ong family association. The group’s members welcomed his father in a Cantonese dialect and addressed him as one of their own.
But Joe Yee never explained to his six American-born children why, if he were part of the group, his last name was not Ong. Odder still, their father claimed to be an only son, with no surviving relatives in China or America.
“For us, the question was always ‘so who are you anyway?’ “ Steve said. “There was the sense that you have no past.”
It wasn’t until years after their father’s death in 1979 that his children learned the answer to that childhood mystery. What they learned shed light on a chapter of Chinese life in California that is little known today but was key to shaping the immigrant communities of the last century.
“My father was a ‘paper son,’” said Steve Yee.
When Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, it froze the size of the Chinese immigrant population in the country. No new Chinese, except for a select few, including scholars and diplomats, were allowed into the country. Those already here were largely barred from citizenship. The act blocked Chinese men who had immigrated during the Gold Rush and the railroad boom of the late 19th century from reuniting with their families.
But when the great earthquake of 1906 hit San Francisco, lighting fires that leveled hundreds of city blocks, some Chinese immigrants sensed an opportunity.
By claiming to be citizens whose records had been lost in the destruction, they became free to travel to China; once there, they could either bring back blood relatives or sell their paperwork to others who would claim to be family members—paper sons.
“About 80% to 90% of the 175,000 Chinese that came to America between 1910 and 1940 were paper sons,” said Judy Yung, professor emeritus in Asian American Studies at UC Santa Cruz whose father was a paper son.
“Almost no family would talk about it, fearful of being discovered or deported.”
Even after the anti-Chinese immigration law was repealed in 1943, immigrant quotas remained tightly restricted. Only in the 1960s did new legislation broaden immigration from Asia and give paper sons a chance to tell the truth about their past and restore their real names.
Even then, many, including Yung’s and Yee’s fathers, did not participate in the “confessional” program and chose to stick with their adopted names for fear of retribution.
“My father’s story is the story of most of the Cantonese people that came here during the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s,” Steve Yee said. “He lived under the fear that he could be deported any time if he was discovered. So he took his real [identity] to his grave thinking it’s the best thing to do.”
Legacy of confusion
Chinese Americans today make up 40% of the roughly 5 million Asians in California and they represent the largest Asian population in the country. China ranks second only to Mexico in terms of new U.S. immigrants.
But the legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the paper son phenomenon lingers. The result is that a younger generation of Chinese Americans like Steve Yee grew up confused about and disconnected from their family history.
Yee said his father hid his secret so well that the family wondered if they would ever find out much about his real background. Joe Yee worked long hours at the family-owned grocery store and rarely talked to his children about himself or his past.
His children knew he served in World War II and was awarded a Bronze Star. They knew he traveled back to China once to wed their mother in an arranged marriage. And they knew he defeated discrimination by asking a white friend to buy their home and deed it to the family.
Other than that, their father remained a mystery. He was not so much concerned about his children learning their Chinese roots as he was about their becoming Americans.
Steve Yee’s older sister Lillie was the only child who understood enough of the home village dialect to communicate with their mother, who spoke no English.
Worried about Lillie’s progress in school, their father insisted the others stop speaking Chinese at home. Today, none of the six children speaks Chinese.
“Basically we were told to put down your chopsticks, we’re going to eat hot dogs and watch the Giants like everybody else,” Yee said.
After their youngest sibling was born, their mother developed schizophrenia and was institutionalized. Their father eventually lost his business and began drinking. He died 30 years ago, a broken man.
Yee said that his relationship with his father was always distant and that it became especially strained toward the end of the older man’s life, in part because of the changing times. Against his father’s wishes, Yee grew his hair long and became an artist instead of an accountant or lawyer.
“It was not a situation where you could say, ‘Oh, by the way, Dad, who are you really?’” he said.
For her own children’s sake, Yee’s sister Lillie Yee-Shiroi, 61, also wanted to learn more about her father’s life and family history. There was so much basic information they didn’t know. What was her father’s real birth date? When did he arrive in San Francisco? On what boat?
“When my son was in fifth grade he had to do a family history project and make a family tree,” recalled Yee-Shiroi, a retired social worker who married a Japanese American.
“On my husband’s side there were all these relatives. On my side, besides my brothers and sisters, there was question mark, question mark, question mark.”
So Yee and his sister began tracing their family history.
The Sacramento-based Ong family association, known as Ong Ko Met, offered the first clues to their father’s real identity.
“When my father died, some people came from Hong Kong to the wake,” Yee recalled.
“One woman wrote some words [on a piece of paper] in Chinese and placed it firmly in my palm.”
The woman spoke to him briefly, but he didn’t understand what she said. He saved the message for years.
It was not until he started researching his father’s true identity for an arts project more than a decade ago that he learned what the Chinese woman tried to tell him.
“The piece of paper was my name, Ong Shi Weng,” Yee said. “So here I am, 45 years old, and I find out what my real name is.”
There was another discovery. On their parents’ marriage certificate, their father’s home town was listed Toishan, Kwantung. Yee-Shiroi learned later from the family association that this was only the “paper” hometown. Their father was actually born in Hoi Ping, a nearby town in what is now known as Kaiping in Guangdong province.
Meanwhile, the California Assembly passed a bill last summer to commemorate the reversal of the Chinese Exclusion Act on Dec. 17, 1943. Each year, Dec. 17 is designated as the Day of Inclusion.
“A lot of our young people don’t know about the history of discrimination in this country, especially the fact that one ethnic group was singled out by law saying they could not immigrate,” said state Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), who sponsored the bill. “This is a way to educate the community.”
The research into his father’s past has inspired Yee to work on building a Chinese history museum in Sacramento. His biggest regret is that he didn’t ask his father more questions while he was alive.
“Every time a paper son passes away, an entire library is lost,” he said.
“The Chinese for a long time lived under persecution but kept quiet. Now we know we have a story to tell too. This is our story.”
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Fast food features in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• Burger King plans to introduce the Whopper Bar, where customers in select areas may purchase beer with their flame-broiled burgers. It likely won’t be long before the fast feeder presents a commercial featuring a drunken baby boy.
• Mickey D’s reported its sales slipped in 2009, the first time the McCorporation has recorded an annual decline since at least 1984. It likely won’t be long before the fast feeder presents a McBar—or a McKeg with every Extra Value Meal.
From The Chicago Sun-Times…
How Republicans can win black voters
If the Republicans think they are simply “due” to start winning elections, perhaps buoyed by the recent polls showing that the public is turning against Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular, then they may neglect to do the things they need to do if they are to turn their hopes into realities.
One of the things that is long overdue is some Republican re-thinking—or perhaps thinking for the first time—about the approach that they have been using, with consistently disastrous results, for trying to get the black vote.
Within living memory, it was considered nothing remarkable when Republicans received 30 percent or 40 percent of the black vote. Today, a Republican presidential candidate is lucky if his share of the black vote is not in single digits.
The black vote was once consistently Republican, from the time of Abraham Lincoln to Herbert Hoover. Even after Franklin D. Roosevelt won over the black vote to the Democrats, it was not considered remarkable when Eisenhower got a higher share of the black vote than any Republican president in recent times has.
It may be years before Republicans can again get a majority of the black vote. But Republicans don’t need to get a majority of the black vote. If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble—and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general elections.
In some close congressional elections, if the Republicans increase their share of the black vote by even modest amounts, that will be the difference between victory and defeat.
There is no point in Republicans’ continuing to try to win over the average black voter by acting like imitation Democrats. Those who like what the Democrats are doing are going to vote for real Democrats. But not all black voters are the same, any more than all white voters are the same. Those black voters that Republicans have any realistic chance of winning over are people who share similar values and concerns.
They want their children to get a decent education, which they are unlikely to get so long as public schools are a monopoly run for the benefit of the teachers unions, instead of for the education of the children. Democrats are totally in hock to the teachers unions, which means that Republicans have a golden opportunity to go after the votes of black parents by connecting the dots and exposing one of the key reasons for bad education in inner cities and the bad consequences that follow.
But when have you ever heard a Republican candidate get up and hammer the teachers unions for blocking every attempt to give parents—black or white—the choice of where to send their children?
The teachers unions are going to be against the Republicans, whether Republicans hammer them or keep timidly quiet. Why not talk straight with black voters about the dire consequences of the public school monopoly that the teachers unions and the Democrats protect at all costs, even though many private and public-charter schools—notably the Knowledge is Power Program schools in various states—have achieved remarkable success with low-income and minority youngsters?
Blacks have been lied to so much that straight talk can gain their respect, even if they don’t agree with everything you say. Republicans need all the credibility they can get. When they try to be imitation Democrats, all they do is forfeit credibility.
Most blacks don’t want judges who turn criminals loose in their communities to plague them and their children. These are almost invariably liberal judges, appointed mostly by Democrats.
Many of the key constituencies of the Democratic party—the teachers unions, the trial lawyers and the environmentalists, for example—have agendas with the net effect of inflicting damage on blacks. Urban renewal destroys mostly minority neighborhoods, and environmentalist restrictions on home-building send housing prices skyrocketing, forcing blacks out of many communities. The number of blacks in San Francisco has been cut in half since 1970.
But unless Republicans connect the dots and lay out the facts in plain English, these facts will be like the tree that fell in an empty forest without being heard.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Far exceeding their 15 minutes of fame in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• Scott Baio is receiving death threats after posting an unflattering picture of First Lady Michelle Obama along with asinine remarks on Twitter. Um, why the hell is anyone following Scott Baio?
• News sources reported John Edwards admitted to fathering a child in his affair. Um, why the hell is anyone reporting on John Edwards?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
From Advertising Age…
Electric Carmaker Coda Taps Former GM Marketer Jackson
Will Handle Global Sales and Distribution
By Kunur Patel
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) – All-electric car company Coda Automotive has hired General Motors veteran Michael A. Jackson to build a sales model for the electric sedan expected to hit U.S. roads later this year.
Mr. Jackson, who was onetime GM marketing chief, will serve as senior VP-global sales and distribution for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based electric car and battery manufacturer. In August, Coda named Kerri Martin, who had been a marketing executive at BMW’s Mini and Volkswagen, as its first chief marketing officer.
Since leaving GM, Mr. Jackson has served as partner at New York interactive agency Sarkissian Mason and CEO of Speedshape, a computer-generated imagery agency.
Kevin Czinger, president-CEO, Coda Automotive, in a statement said the company was looking for an executive with the “right mix of business acumen, innovative thinking and willingness to take a fresh look at the automotive sales model.”
As GM’s marketing czar from 2006 to 2007, Mr. Jackson was responsible for canning Leo Burnett, Cadillac’s longtime agency, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco on Saturn.
Mr. Jackson joined GM in 2000 as executive director-sales and marketing support in Detroit. He later moved to California in 2002 to head the automaker’s western region. He has also held sales and marketing positions at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Coors Brewing.
A Coda spokeswoman said Mr. Jackson is not yet authorized to speak on behalf of the company. He officially starts next week.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A Midweek MultiCultClassics Monologue…
• The Salahis faced lawmakers on the House Committee on Homeland Security to answer questions regarding their uninvited appearance at a state dinner last November. However, the couple wound up invoking their 5th Amendment rights. Needless to say, the interrogators were not pleased. For once, the Salahis found themselves nearly kicked out of an event they were actually invited to.
• The New York Times announced plans to start charging for online content in 2011. If the news source bills visitors for Stuart Elliott’s stuff, the ad columnist may never be read again.
The press release below was forwarded by Make The Logo Bigger. Industrial Workers of the World targeted Kmart and Media Planning Group, protesting MPG’s alleged unfair treatment of terminated employees. The union is demanding that Kmart replace MPG with a socially responsible advertising agency. Um, does IWW have any idea what industry they are dealing with here?
For Immediate Release:
Industrial Workers of the World (NYC)
Contact: Joseph Sanchez, 410-829-6834
January 18, 2010
Kmart, MPG Targeted in Annual MLK Day March
Union calling on Kmart to Choose a Socially Responsible Ad Agency
New York, NY— On MLK Day, the IWW and supporters rallied outside of the Astor Place Kmart to call attention to the company's refusal to sever ties with Media Planning Group (MPG) and instead choose a socially responsible ad agency. MPG, a Havas owned concern, laid off 10% of its workers and has been unwilling to negotiate fair terms of the severance agreement. The crowd was joined by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra marching band who energized the crowd with chants of “Shame on Kmart, drop MPG.”
“It is shameful that Kmart continues to do business with MPG,” said Joseph Sanchez, a former MPG employee. “Kmart could honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by furthering the ideal of social justice that he embodied and find an ad agency that is willing to negotiate with its employees.”
In order to receive severance pay, workers had to sign an agreement that bared them from suing the company while MPG retained its right to sue them. Additionally workers cannot denigrate the company but there is no reciprocation on MPG’s part in regards to its former employees. The union has held a series of protests at several Kmart locations over the issue. MPG has responded with threats of legal action as well as arrest for talking with coworkers.
“Kmart is MPG’s biggest client and should use its influence to ensure that MPG treats its employees with respect,” said Joseph Sanchez.
Before marching to Kmart, the union first rallied at Starbucks in support of an effort to get the coffee giant to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by paying the holiday rate of pay for its baristas as the company does for other several holidays.
Founded in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World is a global labor union dedicated to workplace democracy and the dignity of all working people. The campaign for fair severance at MPG was launched in June 2009 by the NYC IWW.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Wanted to briefly elaborate on the 2010 U.S. Census advertising campaign launched by Draftfcb. Advertising Age published an earlier story that garnered additional comments recognizing the lack of mass appeal. For example, Ad Age editor Ken Wheaton responded to another commenter by stating, “And, for the record, I'm as mystified as you as to who exactly they’re trying to reach with Christopher Guest spots. I like the guy, but he doesn’t exactly scream mass appeal or crossover appeal. And you can’t get any whiter than Ed Begley Jr.” Um, how about Howard Draft and his corporate cronies?
It should be interesting to see the work created by the minority agencies. The New York Times reported GlobalHue produced a print ad targeting African Americans that features Dikembe Mutombo. The former NBA player says, “Better health care, schools and roads are all within our reach. If we each just take 10 minutes to answer 10 simple questions, we can help determine how $400 billion per year in federal funds will be dispersed in our communities.” Um, Mutombo is certainly a nice guy and hardcore humanitarian, but do most folks even know him at all? Also, it probably would have been more appropriate to use “disbursed” versus “dispersed” in the copy.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Can’t wait until the monument is finally completed—but mostly because these annual Delta ads are becoming monotonous.
There’s no better way to commemorate the occasion than with half-priced used clothing.
Except maybe with a fur sale.
Here’s a well-intentioned promotion with some really bad Photoshop® compositing. Plus, the organization’s URL looks like “Kids Forking.”
Mattress stores will use any holiday to hype a sale.
And you know the Bedding Experts must have considered connecting their “Where Dreams Come True!” tagline with Dr. King’s famous speech.
If you’re searching for Dr. King’s famous speech, go with Google.
From The New York Times…
The Dream Described
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honor today, talked about the disparity between promise and reality in America. This work — a conté crayon drawing with garlands of American flags — is meant to explore those themes, too. It juxtaposes a black woman’s face with the flag to conjure the complex relationship between African-Americans and patriotism. The tension grows out of the contradiction of living in a country that did not afford my ancestors basic human rights — while at the same time being fully aware and proud of the contributions those very ancestors made to our history and culture.
“Kin II (Oh Damballah).” Conté crayon on paper with found paper flags on a string.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Adweek reported on the alleged competition for Wrigley’s Extra gum, a battle between Omnicom sister agencies Energy BBDO and DDB. Can’t help but think this pitch demonstrates the continuing collusion between clients and White advertising agencies to perpetuate the industry’s exclusivity. Omnicom has always been good at conspiring to keep accounts within the network. But what’s up with Wrigley? An executive for the gum maker insisted the company “maintains relationships with a number of best-in-class creative partners,” yet one would be hard-pressed to display any best-in-class creative the Extra brand has ever executed. Nonetheless, the account has been rotating between Energy BBDO and DDB for years.
Granted, Wrigley has the right to work with any agency it chooses. But take a look at the following excerpt from the company website:
At Wrigley, Diversity and Inclusion is not a program — it is who we are and how we live. It is valued in the decisions we make on behalf of our company and inherent in our core values. By appreciating that each associate is unique and assuring that each associate feels connected to others in the organization, we are positioning our company for exceptional performance.
The Wrigley website features more kumbaya-style commentary. Despite the pontificating, the gum maker obviously has no problem partnering with advertising agencies where diversity and inclusion are illusions. Which makes Wrigley look extra, extra, extra hypocritical.
There’s been a lot of hoopla surrounding advertising for the 2010 U.S. Census, as a significant portion of the overall budget is being allocated to minority agencies and media. The financial distributions—as well as the corny logo depicted above—seem to signal that the U.S. Census Bureau recognizes of the changing face of our nation.
So it’s a little peculiar to see the initial campaign, which is almost monocultural in its execution. From casting to tonality, the shit looks and feels extraordinarily White. Even Advertising Age critic Bob Garfield noted the exclusivity by saying, “What a weird choice to build the ongoing awareness campaign around a troupe of well-heeled, middle-aged white people who are famous mainly to well-heeled middle-aged white people. Hmm.”
The campaign’s creator is none other than Draftfcb, a consistently culturally clueless enterprise. This is the agency whose President-CEO pontificates on diversity. Additionally, the Chief Diversity Officer of parent company IPG recently remarked, “Homogeneous creative teams limit the number of idea combinations. … They can also come up with some embarrassing creative.” Well, the U.S. Census campaign is another shining example to dramatize the point.
From The Chicago Tribune…
Bigotry takes on a different shade
Experts see an increase in skin-tone bias
By Dahleen Glanton, Tribune reporter
Tamara Field is no longer shocked when people make offensive remarks about her light African-American skin tone. But sometimes, she said, the comments cause her to pause.
Once, Field said, she had to explain to a white supervisor at work why she was having lunch with the company’s minority recruiter, a common practice at jobs with few minority employees.
“I said, ‘She wants to know if I am happy with my career path here,’” said Field, 41, of Evanston, a former journalist who works in public relations. When the supervisor asked why, Field answered, “Because I’m black!”
The supervisor responded, “Oh, you’re not that black,” Field said.
The delicate issue of skin-tone bias, as opposed to traditional racism, rose to the surface recently with the revelation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had partly attributed President Barack Obama’s appeal among voters to his being a “light-skinned” African-American.
The controversy sparked a debate among academics and those in civil rights circles over the changing face of racism, as the nation grows more ethnically diverse and multiracial and discrimination becomes increasingly subtle.
Like Obama, Field is biracial and light-skinned, a trait that she said has given her entree into diverse environments. In a changing American culture with an increasing minority population, skin color is becoming a more common gauge for some Americans—of all races—to determine who fits in and who does not, sociologists said.
A caste system that novelist Alice Walker termed “colorism” has existed within the black community since slavery, stemming from the hierarchy established by slave masters for the light-skinned blacks who worked in the house and dark-skinned slaves who tended the fields.
Pigmentocracy also has long been a divisive issue among Hispanics, Asians and other ethnic groups. Now, it has flowed into the mainstream, according to experts who follow bias trends.
Minorities whose skin tone is closer to white are better able to assimilate and be accepted by whites, said Ronald Hall, a sociologist at Michigan State University and co-author of “Racism in the 21st Century: An Empirical Analysis of Skin Color.”
“The basic psychological tendency is that people are less threatened by those who are perceived to be in proximity of their own racial or ethnic group,” said Hall. “Because of the increase in interracial marriages, it is more difficult now to discern someone’s racial background. But we can evaluate them by skin color.”
Last year, minorities filed a record number of color-bias complaints, specifically addressing skin-tone discrimination. Over the last two decades, the number of claims rose to 2,949 in 2009 from fewer than 400 in 1992, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported. They represent a small percentage of the more than 93,000 discrimination complaints filed last year.
While most cases involve minorities discriminating against each other for being too light or too dark, most often within the same racial group, there also are cases where whites were found to have discriminated against minorities on that basis. Federal law distinguishes race and color discrimination but they often overlap, officials said.
Historically, racial discrimination cases have targeted whites who sought to limit the hiring or advancement of blacks. In cases that involve color, white employers often make a distinction between two minorities, one light-skinned and the other dark. Such cases, according to Trina Jones, a law professor at Duke University, can be difficult to prove in court.
“Now you don’t have individuals excluding an entire racial group; they are screening and finding people who are more racially desirable within a racial group,” said Jones, who researches color bias. “A lot of it is subconscious. ... They’ve been socialized to think of dark as threatening and menacing and white as pure and innocent.”
High-profile lawsuits such as the racial discrimination case against Niketown in Chicago that resulted in a $7.6 million settlement in 2007 to former and current African-American employees, points to the modern nuances of racial bias, as people find new ways to discriminate when race is not easily determined, attorneys said.
According to the lawsuit, African-American employees in the Michigan Avenue store routinely were given lower-paying stockroom and cashier jobs, and were subjected to comments such as, “You’re lucky to be light-skinned” and “You have a big nose; I can tell you’re black.”
A growing number of sociological studies have documented that skin tone can affect economic well-being, said Joni Hersch, a professor of law and economics at Vanderbilt University and the author of several studies on skin color.
Researchers found that darker-skinned blacks tend to have less education than their lighter counterparts, earn less, are more likely to be unemployed and have lower job status. Her study of new immigrant workers showed those with light skin earned 17 percent more than those with darker skin.
Reid sought to defuse tensions, but Jones said, “It is not enough just to say he apologized; President Obama accepted, let’s move on.”
Saturday, January 16, 2010
From USA TODAY…
Work finally begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C.
By Brett Zongker, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Construction is finally underway on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall after more than a dozen years of planning, fundraising and legal wrangling.
Workers have been clearing the site on the Tidal Basin since Dec. 28. They will move some trees to another part of the mall, including a few of Washington’s famous cherry trees. By February, heavy construction will begin.
Monday will mark the first King holiday, though, when organizers can finally see their work in progress.
“Everyone in the office is taking a deep breath,” executive architect Ed Jackson Jr., said in an interview Friday. “Although it’s been a labor of love, it’s been a long road, 13 years for me.”
It was supposed to be completed by now. President Bill Clinton signed a law authorizing the memorial in 1996, and President George W. Bush appeared at a ceremonial groundbreaking with Oprah Winfrey and others in 2006.
Numerous design approvals and a disagreement with the National Park Service over how to secure the site against domestic terrorism delayed the project.
“We had no idea it would take this long,” Jackson said. Still, he said, the years of work will pay off as millions of visitors will eventually see King’s words engraved in stone.
“Although it has been a long road, I am extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to be a part of it,” Jackson said. “Obviously, I feel blessed.”
The private foundation working to build the memorial is still raising money to complete it. To date, $108 million of the $120 million needed has been raised, spokeswoman Rica Orszag said.
In recent months, the Boeing Co. has been running television ads promoting the project. The group also is accepting $5 donations through a text message campaign.
Major infrastructure work will begin in February. It will take seven months to drive 300 concrete piles into the ground to support the granite memorial plaza and towering statue of King, Jackson said.
After that, the memorial will begin to slowly take shape.
The 28-foot “Stone of Hope” and “Mountain of Despair” sculptures will arrive in more than 150 pieces by May from China, where they were created. Sculptor Lei Yixin is scheduled to assemble the pieces between August and October.
A construction fence has been built around the site, but some places will be left open for visitors to see the progress.
In the final phase of construction, King’s famous quotations will be engraved in granite along the water where memorials also honor Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. More than 200 cherry trees with their pink and white blossoms will be planted around the memorial.
A dedication and opening is expected in the fall of 2011.