Friday, December 31, 2010

8306: 10 X 2010.

MultiCultClassics reminisces, regurgitates and reexamines 10 topics from 2010.

Cyrus Mehri sightings throughout the year.
In January, Jim Edwards at BNET interviewed Cyrus Mehri and discussed the state of legal affairs on Madison Avenue. In February, Mehri announced he was filing charges against advertising agencies with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In May, the civil rights lawyer released a report showing zero minority creative directors worked on commercials for the Super Bowl. The report and subsequent press conference drew a few responses from industry bigwigs, which prompted a rebuttal and color commentary from MultiCultClassics. In September, Mehri teamed up with Janelle M. Carter to offer a perspective that labeled the lack of diversity a great moral issue and business issue. Yet it’s difficult to tell if the majority of adpeople really consider all of this to be a serious issue. Can’t help but wonder if the standard Madison Avenue executive knows Cyrus Mehri from Miley Cyrus.

Two books to turn the page on rampant exclusivity.
White adman John Hunt wrote “The Art Of The Idea”—with plenty of ideas to inspire inclusive environments. The 4As kicked off a proposed series of diversity-related books with “Diversity: How To Do It Right” by Adonis Hoffman. Can’t help but wonder if most Madison Avenue executives will read a subpoena from Cyrus Mehri before perusing these published pieces.

A game-changing promotion that no one wants to play.
MultiCultClassics invented The Cultural Competence Contest, which was unveiled at Transformation 2010, the 4As combined Leadership and Media Conference. Can’t help but wonder if anyone will have the courage to become a contestant.

Advertisers and agencies go on the offensive defensive.
While advertisers typically are almost too quick to pull messages that elicit outrage, two companies stood their ground when accused of insensitivity. Pine-Sol pooh-poohed Pepper Miller’s post, proudly praising its plump spokesperson and “Powerful Difference” propaganda. Meanwhile, MetroPCS and probable employees at The Richards Group complained over Bill Imada’s post, proclaiming that the “Chad and Ranjit” campaign was hatched by an art director of Indian descent. Can’t help but wonder if the Pine-Sol and MetroPCS morons will ever realize that the best defense is no offense—no cultural offense, that is.

Same old, same old from Old White Guys.
Ex-CP+B honcho Alex Bogusky went on the air with former partner Shelton Scott and Lincoln Stephens of The Marcus Graham Project, earning a Delayed WTF from MultiCultClassics. Luke “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” Sullivan went on the air with Lincoln Stephens and crew, also earning a Delayed WTF from MultiCultClassics. Can’t help but wonder if there are any enlightened White leaders in our ranks.

AOR actually means Anglos Of Record.
What do you call it when minority advertising agencies are prohibited from participating in pitches for Cadillac, H&R Block, Denny’s, MetLife, Transitions Optical, Red Lobster, U.S. Army, California Lottery, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s, Harley-Davidson, El Pollo Loco, Steak & Shake and more? MultiCultClassics calls it Corporate Cultural Collusion. Can’t help but wonder when clients will be called out for the unfair practices.

U.S. Census unintentionally reveals the changes ahead.
The U.S. Census advertising campaign featured a multicultural marketing coalition designed to celebrate racial harmony and billing equality. The corporate kumbaya was short-lived. Lead agency Draftfcb was criticized for being too White, and its President-CEO Laurence Boschetto was bashed for being a bullshit artist. Black agency GlobalHue was zapped for being too shady. Although the overall effort was panned by adpeople with taste, Mediaweek showered accolades and awards in the “Best Multicultural Campaign” and “Best Branded Content” categories of the publication’s Media Plan of the Year competition. Can’t help but wonder how folks manage to accept trophies with a straight face in such instances.

Hip Hop delivers instant cred and crud.
Madison Avenue displays questionable affection for Blacks, but the industry sure loves Hip Hop. The rap range runs from gangsta to garbage. For every Kia Hamsters and Mtn Dew Code Red Jay Electronica there is a Toyota Swagger Wagon and Bounty Hip-Hop Holiday. But Duncan Hines takes the cake—or cupcake—for its Hip Hop Cupcakes. At first, MultiCultClassics believed the public overreacted by seeing Blackface minstrels in the infamous video. However, after studying director Josh Binder’s film library—which includes an obscene Heinz ketchup character ejaculating his tomato seed onto his girlfriend, as well as demeaning stereotypes involving Asians, women and rednecks—Hip Hop Cupcakes appears to be a reasoned, racist recipe. Can’t help but wonder what Duncan Hines will do with its brownie mix.

General Motors drives in crazy cultural directions.
Don’t believe the hype that General Motors has turned itself around. After dumping its Black advertising agency on Cadillac and giving full responsibility to a White agency, the automaker dumped the White agency for another White agency. Then GM dumped the White Marketing VP who admitted she planned to assign additional multicultural projects to White agencies, replacing her with a new White Marketing VP—who wound up dumping White agencies for other White agencies without competitive reviews. The White Marketing VP later hired Spike DDB for Chevrolet and rehired Carol H. Williams for Cadillac before getting promoted to Global Marketing Czar. Oh, GM also appointed a new Diversity VP, who happens to be Black. To complete the bizarro ride, the American Advertising Federation declared the 62nd Annual Advertising Hall of Fame® will honor inductee—you guessed it—General Motors. Can’t help but wonder if the automaker signed a pact with Satan.

Shifty Segregation®—new and improved for 2010 and beyond.
Shifty Segregation® covers a lot of ground on Madison Avenue. It occurs when clients and White agencies conspire to consolidate accounts. It prevents measures patterned after the Rooney Rule from succeeding. It excuses companies who elect to sever professional ties with minorities altogether. Shifty Segregation® is often disguised as “cross-cultural”—which may lead to mandates, manic depression, manifestos and manure sniffing. Can’t help but wonder how long people will continue to tolerate it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

8305: Bada Bing Banner.

Saw the banner above at AdPulp, and clicked on it to discover The Geisheker Group Marketing Firm. The company’s hype includes:

“Our advertising is so lethal the mafia uses it to make hits.”

“I advise you to do business with these fine people so my associates and I don’t have to pay you a little visit if you know what I mean.”

Can’t wait until UNICO National hears about this place.

8304: Riding The Insensitivity Train.

Talking out loud with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Hot 97 DJ Cipha Sounds was indefinitely suspended for making on-air remarks that especially offended the Haitian community in New York. Station officials declared Cipha Sounds “will immediately undertake sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community and specifically, the challenges the Haitian community has faced in terms of the HIV epidemic.” Gee, sensitivity training is growing increasingly specialized.

• Christine O’Donnell argued she did not engage in any financial wrongdoings connected to her failed U.S. Senate campaign. “There’s been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever,” insisted O’Donnell during an interview. “You have to look at this whole thug-politic tactic for what it is.” O’Donnell should immediately undertake sensitivity training focused on Thug Life and specifically, the challenges people in the community have faced in regards to Thug Life.

8303: Pancake Breakfast After Church…?

From The Los Angeles Times…

IHOP drops suit against church over use of IHOP acronym

The pancake restaurant chain cites ongoing mediation with the International House of Prayer, which uses the IHOP letters in its website names, signs and events.

By Bill Kisliuk, Los Angeles Times

Could pancake peace be at hand?

The International House of Pancakes has dropped its trademark infringement lawsuit against a church, agreeing to resolve its dispute with the International House of Prayer out of court.

On Dec. 21, the restaurant chain dismissed its case against the church, with its lawyers citing “ongoing mediation with the defendants,” according to documents filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

The restaurant chain sued the church in September, alleging it misappropriated IHOP trademarks with its website,, and in signs and events at its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and California ministries. The church also has affiliates in San Jose, Santa Maria, Calif., and Dublin, Calif.

When the lawsuit was filed, restaurant spokesman Patrick Lenow said the church’s use of IHOP and related phrases confused customers, undermined trademarked uses and risked publicly linking the chain of 1,500 restaurants with a particular faith or church.

He said the International House of Prayer had refused several requests to stop before the case was filed.

The church never filed a response in court. The main church Web page is still at, and the Pasadena ministry’s website remains

On Tuesday, a church official in Kansas City said most staff members were at a religious gathering and no one was available for comment on the case. Calls to the Pasadena International House of Prayer were not returned.

Lenow, a spokesman with IHOP parent company DineEquity Inc., declined to discuss the company’s expected remedies for the six claims of trademark infringement, or a timeline, for the matter to be resolved.

“We have agreed with House of Prayer not to publicly discuss the case,” Lenow said in an e-mail.

8302: Gaga Ladies.

Saw the image above illustrating a news feature and couldn’t help but realize Lady Gaga is the least gaga person in the group.

8301: Diversity Book For Madison Avenue.

Craig Brimm pointed out that the 4As online bookstore is selling Diversity: How To Do It Right by Adonis Hoffman. The hype reads:

“Diversity, How to Do It Right” is the first in a new series of “Diversity Best Practices for Agencies” booklets. Written by Adonis Hoffman, senior vice president and counsel in the AAAA Washington, D.C., office, the booklet is a handbook for business leaders. It provides 10 best practices and comprehensive list of practical actions that every business leader and company should set in place for diversity to work in his or her agency.

Haven’t yet perused the book, but if it’s based on Madison Avenue’s SOP for diversity, MultiCultClassics will guess the 10 best practices are:

1. Hire a Chief Diversity Officer
2. Organize a Diversity Committee
3. Launch an Inner-City Youth Outreach Program
4. Film a Diversity Documentary
5. Make a Donation to ADCOLOR®
6. Enter the Cultural Competence Contest
7. Inject Hip Hop into Campaigns
8. Recruit an Army
9. Delegate Diversity
10. Position Shifty Segregation® as Progressive “Cross-Cultural” Initiative

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

8300: Old, Mean Girls.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

Bullying among senior citizens getting more common

Social workers, recreation-center officials and others who work with the elderly say bullying among senior citizens is getting more common.

As the retirement population increases and more people enter care homes and retirement centers “it’s a pretty big deal,” said Melanie Starns, an assistant Arizona Department of Economic Security director overseeing the Aging and Adult Services Division.

“The mean girls were there in school and as we get older, they are still around,” she said.

Robin Bonifas, a gerontology expert at Arizona State University, estimates that 10 percent to 20 percent of older people in care homes experience some type of abuse from fellow residents.

Doris Lor, 76, said despite repeated complaints to the director of her homeowners association in Chandler, Ariz, she still can’t get a seat at a card table, gets the cold shoulder at the women’s club and has been chased away from seats at the community pool.

“No matter where you go, even if you pay for the activity, the clique saves all the seats,” Lor said.

8299: Happy Zoo Year.

TalentZoo continues to mimic Google with the logo illustrations. This one is better than the Thanksgiving version, but now it seems to spell TalentZii. Let’s find a new art director for the New Year, folks.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

8298: Pigeonholes To Fill.

Based on this actual job listing, it appears the White agencies are indeed buying minority talent for Shifty Segregation® schemes. Oddly enough, Leo Burnett already has a Latino division—Lápiz—operating within the network. And do you really need a Latino Strategic Planner to instruct creative teams to develop concepts featuring soccer, mariachi bands and telenovelas?

Director, Strategy & Analysis: Responsible for understanding consumer psychology & applying that knowledge to the strategic development of advertising, integrated marketing & communications for U.S. Hispanic market. Develop/analyze primary/secondary research, including qualitative & quantitative methodologies to meet research objectives & understand trends & consumer behavior. Conduct focus groups, develop research instruments & design/ execute psychographic segmentation studies. Write Creative Briefs & develop brand architectures. Create/disseminate marketing communications strategies for assigned brands. Actively work with creative teams in development of communication ideas & strategies. Serve as consumer expert on assigned brands. Chicago Loop location. Req’s Master’s degree in Advertising or Integrated Marketing Communications & 3 yrs exp as a Strategic Planner. Exp must be in an ad agency for a Hispanic market. Exp must include design & execution of a psychographic segmentation study (including statistical analysis, creating clusters, interpreting & reporting results). Leo Burnett Company, Inc. Any applicant who is interested in this position may apply online at: Advertising EOE.

8297: Driving While Black With The Green Book.


The Negro Motorist Green Book is the subject of today’s “Little-Known Black History Fact.”

By Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a publication released in 1936 that served as a guide for African-American travelers. Because of the racist conditions that existed from segregation, blacks needed a reference manual to guide them to integrated or black-friendly establishments. That’s when they turned to “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide” by activist Victor Green and presented by the Esso Standard Oil Company. Originally provided to serve Metropolitan New York, the book received such an alarming response, it was spread throughout the country within one year. The catch phrase was Now we can travel without embarrassment.

The Green Book often provided information on local tourist homes, which were private residences owned by blacks and open to travelers. It was especially helpful to blacks that traveled through sunset towns or towns that publicly stated that blacks had to leave the town by sundown or it would be cause for arrest. Also listed were hotels, barbershops, beauty salons, restaurants, garages, liquor stores, ballparks and taverns. It also provided a listing of the white-owned, black-friendly locations for accommodations and food.

The publication was free, with a 10-cent cost of shipping. As interest grew, the Green Book solicited salespersons nationwide to build its ad sales.

Inside the pages of the Green Book were action photos of the various locations, along with historical and background information for the readers’ review. Within the pages of the introduction, the guide states, “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.”

The Green Book printed its last copy in 1964 after the passing of the Civil Rights Act.

Here is the 1949 book in its entirety: The Green Book.

Hat tip to Danny G for tracking down the original source.

Monday, December 27, 2010

8296: Teena Marie (1956-2010).

From The New York Times…

Teena Marie, 1980s R&B Hitmaker, Dies at 54

By Ben Sisario

Teena Marie, a singer whose funky hits in the 1980s, like “Lovergirl” and “Square Biz,” made her one of the few white performers to consistently find success on the rhythm-and-blues charts, died on Sunday at her home in Pasadena, Calif. She was 54.

The cause was not immediately known, but The Associated Press reported that the authorities said she appeared to have died of natural causes.

Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 5, 1956, she grew up in a predominantly black area of nearby Venice, Calif., and began singing and acting while still a child. At age 8, she tap-danced for Jed Clampett on an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” under the name Tina Marie Brockert.

After graduating from high school and briefly attending Santa Monica College, she signed with Motown Records and became of protégée of Rick James, then one of the label’s biggest new stars. Teena Marie’s first album, “Wild and Peaceful,” with James as a producer and the chief songwriter — and his Stone City Band backing her up — was released on Motown’s Gordy imprint in 1979.

“I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love,” her duet with James from that album, went to No. 8 on the R&B singles chart. The two began a tempestuous love affair. Another duet, “Fire and Desire,” appeared on James’s hit album from 1981, “Street Songs.” James died in 2004.

Through the 1980s, Teena Marie developed a style that folded bits of rap (as on the 1981 hit “Square Biz”) and rock (“You So Heavy,” from 1986, has a scorching guitar solo by Stevie Ray Vaughan) into danceable, funk-driven pop.

From the start, race was ambiguous in her music. She was not pictured on the cover of “Wild and Peaceful,” which was promoted to black radio stations. With an earthy voice that pierced with power in its high registers, she was highly credible as an R&B singer, and many listeners learned that she was white only when they saw her portrait on the cover of her second album, “Lady T,” in 1980.

“I still have people coming up to me 26 years later and looking at me and all of a sudden going, ‘I didn’t know you were white!’” she said in an interview on National Public Radio in 2006.

But she was embraced by the R&B audience, and some of her songs have become ingrained in black musical culture. Her 1988 song “Ooo La La La” was sampled and reconfigured by the Fugees as “Fu-Gee-La” in 1996 on their debut album, “The Score.”

For many of her fellow musicians, Teena Marie’s biggest accomplishment was made offstage. Her lawsuit against Motown in the early 1980s, for nonpayment of royalties, resulted in a clarification of California law — known in the music industry as the Brockert Initiative or the Teena Marie Law — that made it much more difficult for record companies to keep an act under an exclusive contract. After leaving Motown, she signed with Epic and reached her commercial peak. Her 1984 song “Lovergirl” — featuring her impassioned squeal in the chorus, “I just want to be your lover girl/I just want to rock your world” — went to No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart and became her biggest seller.

In the 1990s, Teena Marie’s career slowed as she raised a daughter, Alia Rose, who survives her. But she continued to release music. She was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award for best female R&B vocal performance, for her song “I’m Still in Love” — she lost to Alicia Keys — and released her most recent album, “Congo Square,” on the revived Stax label in 2009.

Although Teena Marie’s race was hidden from the public at the very beginning of her career, she was always forthright about the black influences in her music. In an interview with last year, she suggested that the content of the music mattered more than the singer’s color.

“Overall my race hasn’t been a problem,” she said. “I’m a black artist with white skin. At the end of the day you have to sing what’s in your own soul.”

8295: Kwanzaa Kickoffs.

The New York Daily News reported on Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the area. No word on any Kwanzaa cake sightings.

Spirits soar for Kwanzaa: ‘Tis also the season of candle-lighting, drumming, dancing and unity

By Mike McLaughlin and Bill Hutchinson, Daily News Writers

New Yorkers rang in the first day of Kwanzaa on Sunday with festive food, African dancing and the traditional lighting of candles to symbolize unity.

More than 100 revelers kicked off the seven-day celebration at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, sharing a communal meal of salmon stew and rice and beans.

“Snow can’t stop Kwanzaa,” said Valene Byrd, 27, of Brooklyn, a volunteer for the Kwanzaa Collective, which organized yesterday’s event in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Those who braved the blizzard to celebrate were rewarded with African dancing and drumming to lift their spirits.

“At Kwanzaa, we celebrate our ancestors who came before and gave to the community,” said Byrd. “I grew up with the principles of Kwanzaa in my heart. It’s meant for family to come together. I love this season.”

Benjamin Arastead, 71, of Harlem said he’s been attending the Kwanzaa Collective event nearly every year since its inception 35 years ago.

“It’s a way for people who have gone into hiding for the winter to come out,” said Arastead. “It’s a great tradition. It doesn’t require that you have a particular religion.”

Created in 1966 by a black-studies college professor in California, Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural event based on the harvest times celebrated in Africa.

“Kwanzaa is an important acknowledgment of black culture,” said Clymenza Hawkins, 55, an illustrator from Harlem. “It’s nice to see a community come together.”

8294: Boxing Day…?

Wonder how many ad agency office managers saw this sale and responded in preparation for impending layoffs.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

8293: Culturally Clueless Kwanzaa Cake.

From Salon…

Just how offensive is Sandra Lee’s crazy Kwanzaa cake?

A recent mea culpa from the creator of this Internet sensation raises the question: What is Kwanzaa food?

By Francis Lam

It was the cultural mash-up that was destined for the Viral Video Hall of Fame: Sandra “Queen of QVC, First Lady of New York” Lee going all-out for African America with her Kwanzaa Cake.

In the clip, the very perky—and it must be said, white—Lee takes her Semi-Homemade philosophy (yes, she refers to it as a “philosophy,” and yes, it’s trademarked) to new heights, using an array of store-bought cake, frosting, canned pie filling and corn nuts to “celebrate” the African-American holiday. As you might guess, the video takes pride of place in the pantheon of hilarious culinary disaster videos.

But a recent mea culpa from the cake’s actual creator broke through our collective efforts to block its memory from our consciousness. On the Huffington Post, food stylist and recipe writer Denise Vivaldo claimed essentially to have been backed into a corner to make this thing up. Needing the money to pay her staff, she researched and wrote the recipe, she claims in a story that spares no opportunity to trash Lee at every turn. (The word “disgusting” takes a star turn, and there’s some mention of blood seeping from the walls when Lee gives her a call.)

But it’s easy to throw Lee under the bus when she’s a millionaire for making food from cans. And after watching her crack open and pour a can of apple pie filling into the hole of an angel food cake for the ninth time, I had to ask, “Wait, someone ‘researched’ Kwanzaa for this cake?” Can this dish actually have something to do with Kwanzaa tradition?

I talked to Jessica Harris, a professor at Queens College, and author of dozens of books on the foods of the African diaspora, including a cookbook called “A Kwanzaa Keepsake,” and the forthcoming “High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America.” During our conversation, we talked about the real problem behind Lee and Vivaldo’s cake, what foods are important for Kwanzaa, and what Kwanzaa really is, anyway.

When I first e-mailed you the link to this video, you wrote back saying, “It is just so wrong, disrespectful (and yes that was done with a full frontal Aretha-esque finger snap!)” So let’s start from the top: What do you find disrespectful about this cake?

Well, I first want to say that I don’t find the semi-homemade thing problematic. It’s called “doctoring stuff up,” and it’s fine. So the questions become: What’s the end result? And how do you attribute that cake to a holiday that is not of your ethnic persuasion?

The thing that’s potentially offensive to me is characterizing/determining a holiday about which neither the cake preparer nor the recipe designer has the first clue. When you create a recipe to be attributed to someone else’s culinary tradition, that demands a knowledge of the culture and a judicious handling of things. But this cake has no cultural relevance.

Worse, it’s just something I don’t want to put in my mouth. Much of the offense for me, personally, comes from that. You’re going to make that and call it mine? No thank you! You have to question what kind of holiday cakes the recipe writer makes for her own people.

I’m not saying the food of the African diaspora can’t be an inspiration for other people, because that’s a sign of a great cuisine. But this cake is an abomination. I wouldn’t want that on the table and be called my birthday cake, and that’s the biggest holiday I know!

So you can’t see anything even vaguely Kwanzaa-related in this cake? Did the recipe developer just make it all up?

Let’s see what there is in this thing. Angel food cake is certainly not an African-American tradition; maybe if it was pound cake. Cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon frosting—cocoa does grow in Ghana, but is that where she was going with this? I don’t know about the cinnamon, which is not indigenous to Africa, and don’t even ask me about a whole teaspoon of it! Pumpkin seeds, apple pie filling … corn nuts. Well, corn is called for in the Kwanzaa holiday.

And then there are the candles, which the recipe writer went to lengths to insist were Sandra Lee’s fault, but the candles are the only thing that give that cake any connection to Kwanzaa. Otherwise it’s just an ugly brown cake!

Corn is used in Kwanzaa? What other foods are traditional on the Kwanzaa table?

In the Kwanzaa ceremony there is an ear of Indian corn—dried corn—on the centerpiece for each child of the house. As somebody once said to me, “Corn is primordial,” because if you have corn, you have more corn in it. You can grow corn from corn, so it’s a symbol of potential.

Corn is the only thing I know that is called for. There is supposed to be a basket of fruit on the table, but it’s up to interpretation; there’s no mandated tradition. On my Kwanzaa centerpiece, I try to have black-eyed peas, yams, sugar cane, things that have significance to Africans and the places they have gone to.

But what’s a holiday with no food traditions?

There really are no specific foods attributed to the holiday, nothing that says, “It isn’t Kwanzaa if there isn’t X.”

The name comes from the Kiswahili “matunda ya kwanza,” “first fruits of the harvest,” and it’s based on East African or pan-African harvest traditions, but it’s a very new holiday. It’s only 44 years old. So there are individual familial traditions, but none that are codified.

I wrote a cookbook for Kwanzaa because there are no foods, and so all foods are possible. One of the fun things about this new holiday is that you get to create your own family tradition in a real way, based in a real framework; it’s fertile ground for the African-American talent of improvisation. Speaking of cakes, at one point, I thought, why not do a Kwanzaa cake, but with the icing made to look like kente cloth? You could do it with store-bought stuff, but it would be rooted in some form of African tradition.

It’s not designed as a religious holiday; it’s secular and about community, reflection and self-affirmation, so you can celebrate it alongside your faith traditions. It’s a seven-day event, with each day focusing discussion on a different principle; the words are very “‘60s political”: collective responsibility, self-determination. [Unity, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith are the others – Ed.] Each night, the family gathers around the centerpiece and pours a libation for their ancestors before reflecting and discussing the day’s principle. And then, of course, there are gifts.

This video is 2 years old; its popularity is no doubt because of the cheesiness of Sandra Lee’s shtick mashed up with the idea that she was celebrating an African-American holiday. Why was there not more outrage?

Well, if it weren’t for you, I would have lived my life in blissful ignorance! I don’t think it was the folks celebrating Kwanzaa watching the video. I think the people who were watching it thought it was hysterical because she’s clearly misguided in her efforts. It’s the juxtaposition of that woman, that awful cake and a holiday that is attributed to folks that don’t look like the lady involved. But equally, that same trifecta probably took it off the radar of the folks who do celebrate Kwanzaa.

I have written encyclopedia articles about Kwanzaa, but I hadn’t seen this. So that to me indicates that the video phenomenon really just kind of existed in a different sphere. I mean, her Chanukah cake seems to be equally horrific, and that didn’t raise any hackles either.

Francis Lam is a Senior Writer at Salon.

8292: Diversity Deferred.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Major law firms hire fewer women and minorities

Statistically marginal setbacks, attributed to economic woes, could cause long-term problems.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times

The nation’s biggest law firms had been making impressive strides in hiring women, people of color and those with disabilities — until the recession dried up legal spending and wiped out more than 5,800 lawyers’ jobs.

After two years of layoffs and hiring deferrals, the proportions of women and minorities at major law firms dropped in 2010 for the first time since industry analysts began collecting demographic hiring data in the 1990s.

The statistical setbacks have been marginal — less than one percentage point in each group — but they concern affirmative action advocates and law firm recruiters who fear long-term damage to the quest for lawyers who reflect the clientele and communities they serve.

The National Assn. for Law Placement last month reported that it had recorded the first diversity reversals in the 17 years the organization has compiled statistics on firms with 700 or more lawyers.

“I do not think that layoffs or reductions in force were done in a race-conscious way or a biased way. But we know from the data that junior and associate ranks are the most diverse parts of law firms, and that’s where the layoffs hit most,” said James Leipold, executive director of the Washington-based association.

Hiring flat-lined in 2009 and has been as slow to resume in the legal profession as elsewhere in the still-reeling economy, industry researchers report.

Leipold said he expects to see the consequences of the diversity setbacks in seven years or so, when firms are reviewing candidates for partnership and will be seeing fewer minorities and women in the pool of contenders.

Association figures showing slight drops in women and minority representation mirrored the results of other recent studies by the American Lawyer magazine, the Minority Corporate Counsel Assn. and the American Bar Assn.’s Commission on Women in the Profession.

“Hispanics, the country’s fastest-growing minority group, already make up more than 15% of the U.S. population, but less than 5% of all lawyers are Hispanic. That’s a big disparity,” said Stephen N. Zack, American Bar Association president.

Women have accounted for at least half of law school graduates and new hires at big firms for at least 20 years. But only 19% of equity partners are women. The advancement statistics for racial minorities are even more dire, with people of color accounting for only about 6% of those sharing in their firm’s profits. Minority women are 2% of partners nationwide, consistently the most under-represented demographic, according to the studies.

“We are forecasting there will be fewer hiring opportunities for a more diverse set of attorneys to get a foot in the door,” said Veta Richardson, executive director of the Minority Corporate Counsel Assn. “With hiring as low as it is for the short term at least, for the next year to two years, we project that law firms will not be replacing many of the people who were lost in the downsizing during the recession.”

Entry-level lawyer jobs are picking up after two years of contraction, Richardson said. “But we’re far from anything that could be called a correction at this point.”

8291: The Gift Of Dim Sum.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Christmas — and dim sum

Trekking to Chinatown to feast on the delicacies is a holiday tradition for many in the Southland.

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

On Christmas Day, with most businesses shut down and many a family holed up at home for the holiday, one stretch of the city always stays bustling.

Chinatown has long been a trusty holiday refuge for transplants far from home, Jews and other non-celebrators hungering for a place to go or just looking to avoid the hassle of cooking.

Parking is as scarce as usual on Hill Street. Crowds make their way as always up the stairs in the plaza that’s home to Empress Pavilion. And as on all other days, after they walk past the vendors hawking jade pendants and decorative fans, visitors have to wait a while for their numbers to be called over the loudspeaker before being seated in the busy dim sum palace.

Inside, to the click-clack of chopsticks on porcelain, waiters zigzag around tables with steaming tins of pot stickers and roller carts stacked with clear plastic cups filled with pearl tea.

For many, what started out as a necessity — because nothing else was open on the holiday — over the years became a favorite annual pilgrimage.

Jacquie and Kenn Latzer, who now live in Charlotte, N.C., said dim sum in Los Angeles has been their holiday staple for almost two decades. Asked why Chinese on Christmas, Jacquie Latzer, 62, put it plainly: “He’s Jewish, and I’m Baha’i.”

The pair went to Empress Pavilion straight from the airport Saturday, even before seeing their children, who live in Los Angeles.

“I can’t remember why it started, but we came out to Chinatown and someone told us ‘This is it,’” said Kenn, 67. “My son said ‘Why Chinese, Dad?’ and I told him, ‘When you’re in North Carolina, you eat barbecue. And when you’re in Los Angeles, you go to Chinatown and eat dim sum.”

Robert Garcia, a Long Beach city councilman, who sat at a table loaded with spareribs and shrimp dumplings, said his family is multiethnic: Peruvian, Thai, Japanese and Jewish, just for starters. “We all do different things, so this is a good way to come together,” he said. “Everyone loves dim sum. And everyone agrees they’re open.”

Garcia had trekked all the way from Long Beach for the food. “It’s because the dim sum in L.A. is better than the dim sum in Long Beach,” his sister’s boyfriend chided. Garcia nodded, before quickly coming to the defense of his constituency: “No, no, it’s not.”

Norman and Jeanne Lee said Chinese food on Christmas Day is their family’s norm. But this year they brought along their daughter’s volleyball coach, who sat across the table taking in the scene.

“He’s used to the typical all-American P.F. Chang’s, sweet and sour pork-type stuff,” said Jeanne Lee. “So today we offered him chicken feet.”

Ken Poon, Empress Pavilion manager, said Christmas is the busiest day of the year. His dining hall seats 500, and he estimated that for a typical Christmas Day lunch he fills each table at least four times. Extra food is brought in for the occasion, and preparations begin days in advance.

Poon said dim sum’s popularity on Christmas can be credited to more than just convenience.

“Dim sum,” he translated, “means something from your heart for loved ones.”

8290: Bullydog.

McGruff is taking a bite out of hate crimes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

8289: Searching For Kmart’s Holiday Campaign.

Back in November, Advertising Age published a story about Kmart’s new twist on multicultural marketing. The advertiser and its agency, Draftfcb, were pushing a “cross-cultural” scheme to allegedly bring more diversity to the work and the workforce. That is, rather than segregate marketing initiatives with multiple agencies and unique strategies, the fresh approach involved Whites and colored folks joining forces and focusing on a single brief. The test drive was supposed to take place with Kmart’s holiday campaign.

Ad Age reported on “a massive holiday campaign that is set to feature upward of 90 models,” revolving around the idea that “everybody celebrates differently, and the way you choose to celebrate is the right way.” Although the commercials had not yet been produced at the time of the story’s publication, a White family, Black family, Asian family, Latino family and multi-ethnic family were slated to star in the revolutionary spots.

Has the revolution been televised?

The MultiCultClassics staff hasn’t seen anything on the air. Kmart’s channel on YouTube only has messages like this, this, this and this, promoting the retailer’s special sales and layaway offer. One would think such a groundbreaking display of racial and ethnic harmony might receive greater publicity.

If anyone out there has eyed the campaign, drop a link or note by posting a comment.

8288: Sometimes Intolerance Fuels Inclusion.

From The Chicago Tribune…

On Muslims, gays and tolerance in America

By Eboo Patel

No one is happier to wave goodbye to 2010 than American Muslims. Favorability ratings for our faith actually declined this year. Leading public figures compared Muslims to Nazis, swift-boated one of our most respected religious leaders and basically suggested we were planning a hostile takeover of America.

But there was a silver lining to this year of religious bigotry. Every time the forces of intolerance made a move to marginalize Muslims, the forces of inclusion in America rose up to defend us. In the process, Muslims learned that we have some pretty unlikely allies.

There were prominent Evangelical preachers like Jim Wallis who helped organize a Christian response to Terry Jones’ threatened Quran burning, and Bob Roberts who tweeted a series called “What I Love About Muslims” to his followers. There were prominent Jewish figures like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made an impassioned call for a canopy of religious tolerance that extends over every geographic area of New York City and includes all its diverse communities.

As the founder and president of an interfaith organization, I’ve had the chance to witness the forces of inclusion up close. Much of the attention of our staff and board — people who come from five faiths and include a number of nonreligious folks as well — has been focused on speaking out for their Muslim neighbors.

One young intern at Interfaith Youth Core stands out to me. He’s a student at DePaul University with a bright smile and a snappy wardrobe. We gave him the task of tracking media relating to the Cordoba House situation in New York City and the public discourse around Muslims. He spent hours every day reading the hundreds of articles and blog posts on the slings and arrows suffered by Muslims, compiling regular reports on the trends, highlights and points of concern.

Recently, he wrote an article of his own. It was about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his sexual encounter with a man was streamed live. Nick wrote that he understood Clementi, because as a gay man, he had planned his own suicide many times. He described it in detail: the note he would write, the pills he would swallow, the look on his grandmother’s face when she found his body. And he called out one group in particular for causing his distress: religious people.

It occurred to me that Muslims weren’t the only people who had experienced bigotry in 2010. Yes, we faced an especially ugly strain of intolerance, but nothing like what gay men had suffered — torture in the Bronx, bullying so severe it led to multiple suicides.

It amazed me that a member of that group was spending his time sticking up for Muslims.

Why would Nick volunteer for an organization advocating tolerance for religious people? For Nick, the reason was simple. If he wanted his community to be free and safe in America, he had to work for an America where everybody was free and safe.

I’ve done a lot of public speaking this past year, from Evangelical churches to Jewish conferences to campuses across the country, talking about the importance of people standing up for Muslims in this time of Islamophobia. Nick’s story made me wonder: Would we Muslims stand up for him?

Many people have observed that suffering intolerance seems to be a rite of passage in America. Jews, Mormons, Catholics, blacks, Latinos, gays — lots of groups have known the fire of bigotry. It’s part of becoming American.

Well, right now Muslims are in the fire. But I don’t think getting burned is the most important step in a group’s American journey. Communities achieve their American identity not so much by knowing the fire themselves, but by refusing to let others get burned.

And we — collectively — achieve America when we put the fire of prejudice out for everybody, for good.

Eboo Patel is founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, Chicago.

8287: Kwanzaadvertisement.

Well, at least Publix didn’t symbolize the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa with grocery items.

Friday, December 24, 2010

8286: Cuts And Bruises.

TGIF with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Procter & Gamble is cutting Tiger Woods as spokesman for its Gillette brand. Woods might actually be a better fit with P&G’s Old Spice products.

• Illinois State Senator James Meeks has dropped out of the Chicago mayoral race. Perhaps he realized he couldn’t win without the White women’s vote.

• A new survey showed 67 percent of Internet users don’t want advertisers to have the ability to target them with ads based on their surfing habits. The other 33 percent probably don’t want ads at all.

8285: Apple Owner Is A Vegetable…?

When did craigslist’s job listings turn into a volunteer help desk? The creator of this actual ad could have simply called Apple customer service or visited the nearest Genius Bar. Or asked a teen family member.

I have a Macbook problem: I can see my thumbnails, but cant open them? (Elk Grove/City of Chicago)

Date: 2010-12-23, 12:24PM CST
Reply to:

Hey, so here’s the problem:

I have a lot of photo’s to organize, so I tried placing them all into 1 main folder in I-Photo and start organizing them from there… now they are there and I can see the thumbnails, but when I click on them the photo opens to a large black and grey !exclimation point?… What can I do to recover these photo’s… most of them are pretty important…

hit me back if you can help…

I’m thinking of hiring someone for the day to help clean up my desk top… like make sure that all my photo’s are actually in 1 place and I’m not missing any, and making sure that all my word processing documents are all together and organize them from there…

if you can help me recover the photo’s that’s what is most important to me right now, if you can help for free now that would be great, then we can talk about meeting up for a day for a few hours to clean up this desktop…


• Location: Elk Grove/City of Chicago
• It’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
• Compensation: no pay

8284: Affirmative Action On Campus.

From AOL News…

Does Affirmative Action Help College Students?

By Gail Periot

All across the country, high school seniors are gearing up to apply to college. Many of them assume that the best thing they can do to ensure a bright future is to attend the most prestigious school that has accepted them—even if their race, athletic prowess or rich uncle helped them get in.

But according to a December report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, that may be a mistaken strategy—at least for students hoping for a degree in science or engineering.

The extensive research compiled in that report concludes that accepting an affirmative action leg-up probably hurts a student’s chances of becoming a doctor, scientist or engineer. A better strategy is to attend a school at which one’s entering academic credentials roughly match the median student’s.

Contrary to some people’s expectations, college-bound African-Americans express a desire to major in science and engineering as often as whites and maybe a little more often. But something happens during college, and they disproportionately abandon that ambition, taking up softer majors instead. By graduation, African-Americans are markedly underrepresented in science and engineering bachelor’s degrees—a gateway credential for many well-paying, prestigious careers.

For decades, some blamed the attrition problem wholly on African-Americans’ science-related standardized test scores, which remain on average lower than those of whites or Asians. It should surprise no one to learn that students with lower standardized test scores are indeed less likely to stick with science and engineering than students with higher scores, no matter where they attend school.
But that’s not the whole story.

As three independent scholarly studies show, part of the problem appears to be relative. A student who attends a college at which his entering credentials put him near the bottom of the class—which is where a student who needed an affirmative action preference will be—is less likely to persevere in science or engineering than an otherwise identical student attending a school at which those same credentials put him in the middle of the class or higher.

The reasons for this comparative effect are doubtless complex. But they are based on a common everyday observation: A good student can get in over his head and end up learning little or nothing if he is placed in a classroom with students whose level of academic preparation is much higher than his own, even though he is fully capable of mastering the material when presented at a more moderate pace. Discouraged, he may even give up—even though he would have persevered and ultimately succeeded in a somewhat less competitive environment.

The effect does not appear to be slight. In a 2004 article, University of Virginia psychology professor Frederick Smyth and University of Southern California psychology professor John McArdle predicted that 45 percent more minority women and 35 percent more minority men in their sample would have persisted in science and engineering if they had attended schools where their academic credentials matched their peers.

Further proof of the inadvertent harm being caused by affirmative action can be found in the remarkable success of historically black colleges and universities, where half of African-American students naturally have entering credentials in the top half of the class.

HBCUs graduate more than their proportionate share of African-American students with science and engineering degrees and send more than their share on to get Ph.D.s at mainstream institutions. A few years back, for example, the National Science Foundation reported that with only 20 percent of total African-American enrollment, HBCUs produce 40 percent of the African-Americans graduating with a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences. This is impressive.

All of this is something high school seniors deserve to know. The commission challenges colleges and universities to tell them.

Gail Heriot is a professor of law at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

8283: Bounty Holiday Hip-Hop = White Xmas.

There are not enough Bounty paper towels available on Earth to clean up this mess.

8282: AAF HOF® WTF.

The American Advertising Federation is hyping the 62nd Advertising Hall of Fame® scheduled for March 30, 2011. The gala event features a lot of first-time elements.

For example, “the AAF will present for the first time ever the President’s Award for Special Lifetime Contributions to Advertising, an honor to be given to those whose primary career was not in advertising, but whose work has made enormous contributions to our industry. The inaugural recipient of the President’s Award is Bill Cosby.” Gee, it seems like the AAF is taking a page from the ADCOLOR® Awards by saluting a celebrity. BTW, it’s astonishing that Cosby has not won an ADCOLOR® Award, while Steve Stoute, Queen Latifah and Earvin “Magic” Johnson have.

The seven advertising legends slated for induction includes Earl G. Graves, Sr., Chairman, Founder and Publisher of Black Enterprise. Can’t wait to see the congratulatory ads that will likely run in the iconic magazine.

Another inductee is Eduardo Caballero, Founder of Caballero Radio and Television. Caballero’s induction will mark the first time that the Advertising Hall of Fame® has allowed a Latino to enter its exclusive ranks. Wow. Just wow. The organization behind the AAF Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism needed 62 years to find a worthy Latino? Couldn’t the AAF have at least handed an honorable trophy to the Frito Bandito?

The AAF’s current tagline reads: The Unifying Voice for Advertising. The unifiers still appear to speak primarily White.


Jim Edwards at BNET commented on the drama at Draftfcb, where mega-client S.C. Johnson has put its account in review. Contextual advertising includes Vanguard asking, “Are you Vanguarding your 401(k)?”—a question that soon-to-be-ex-staffers at Draftfcb must inevitably answer. Plus, Qwest presents the “Scattered Workforce.” The telecom is still giving work to Draftfcb, although that will likely change since Qwest was recently purchased by CenturyLink—which should further scatter the Draftfcb workforce.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

8280: NotMeTube.

The person behind this actual craigslist ad is offering to pay someone for assistance in uploading stuff to YouTube. It’s a wonder this genius even managed to post the craigslist ad.

help with uploading to youtube (chicago)

Date: 2010-12-22, 8:49PM CST
Reply to:

im in need of some help with uploading to youtube.

• Location: chicago
• It’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
• Compensation: yes

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

8279: The Top Vote-Getter Is A Loser.

Adweek can’t decide if it’s actually Adfreak, posting a snarky poll that asks which new agency Chief Creative Officer is least likely to succeed. Nice. Um, everyone should vote Adweek as the trade publication least likely to succeed.

On a side note, the lineup above is not very diverse.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

8278: Looking For A Few Good Admen.

The New York Post reported Madison Avenue has been picking up more work from clients, leading to a jump in hiring. Wonder how many of the new jobs will be filled by minorities.

Mad men for hire

By Claire Atkinson

Concerned the nascent US economic recovery won’t last, many of the country’s largest corporations are holding the line on hiring and instead outsourcing their work to…Madison Avenue.

Advertising firms’ payrolls have jumped by 5.9 percent so far in 2010, with much of that gain attributable to agencies taking on tasks that used to be handled in-house by their clients, executives tell The Post.

The boss of a New York agency said his offices were overflowing with roughly 200 hires since January—all the result of incoming business. The ad chief, who did not want his name or his company identified, said clients’ fears of hiring new employees put the present boom into perspective.

“They need flexibility in case things don’t get better,” he said.

As the outsourcing ramps up, agency revenues are soaring.

At Mindshare, a unit of one of the biggest ad agency holding companies, WPP, North American revenue is up 25 percent this year, according to a spokesman, John Wolfe, who noted that more than 30 percent of the growth has been in digital, search and analytics.

David Bank, an advertising analyst for RBC Capital Markets, observed: “[US] ad agency organic growth is astounding even in the context of an easy comparison [with recession-hit 2009].” Bank added that agencies are turning in close to double-digit organic growth and are staffing to meet that need.

At holding company Omnicom, which houses agency brands BBDO and OMD, sales grew 8.4 percent in the third quarter, Bank noted. At Interpublic Group, organic growth came in at 10 percent over the year-ago period.

Publicis, the other major holding company, is growing at a similar clip.

Chief marketing officers at big corporations lost power to their CFO colleagues as the recession took hold and now, as the situation is reversing, agencies have become the beneficiaries. “Many companies wanted to pay less and knew they’d get less,” said Bank. “Now, people are starting to pay more because they want more.”

“The amazing thing about this year is that America is performing like an emerging market,” WPP boss Martin Sorrell told Ad Age. In the midst of the recession, Sorrell had been skeptical of a US comeback.

With the upper hand, some agencies are starting to flex their muscle. IPG agency MRM told Home Depot in late September that it would not continue to work with the home improvement giant without a change in compensation. Ultimately, the two split over the issue.

“Agencies are trying to be more disciplined about pricing. There isn’t so much of a get-business-at-any-cost mentality,” added Bank, who is predicting a 5 percent uptick in organic growth at ad agencies in 2011.

Separately, a report by BIA/Kelsey yesterday noted that local TV ad revenue will soar 17 percent to $18.5 billion in 2010, compared to 2009, thanks to increased spending on advertising.

8277: 360 Degrees, 365 Days.

All Black websites look alike.

8276: KFChristmas In Japan.

From The Financial Times…

All Japan wants for Christmas is Kentucky Fried Chicken

By Lindsay Whipp in Tokyo

KFC for that special Christmas meal, anyone? In Japan, the answer is a resounding yes.

So popular is Kentucky Fried Chicken over the festive season that the fast-food chain’s Christmas Party Barrels can be ordered up to two months in advance in Japan.

“I entered the company in around 1980 and at the time it was pretty tough because there would be these long queues outside the stores,” said Ichiro Takatsuki, a company spokesman. “Because of that over the past decade we’ve been taking orders. We started in November, but people would call and ask if we were taking orders yet, so we started earlier.”

Through one of the most successful advertising campaigns, which started in 1974, KFC Japan has made eating its chicken meals at Christmas a national custom. This happens on December 23, 24 and 25, but particularly Christmas eve. Sales for the three days are equal to half normal monthly sales, the company says.

Japan is well known for taking foreign products and ideas and adapting them to suit domestic taste, and Christmas is no exception. A highly commercialised and non-religious affair, lots of money is spent annually on decorations, dinners and gifts. KFC is arguably the biggest contributor, thanks in part to its advertising campaign.

“One of the reasons the campaign lasted so long is that the message is always the same: at Christmas you eat chicken,” said Yasuyuki Katagi, executive director at Ogilvy and Mather Japan, the advertising agency.

Lining up without an advance order, particularly on December 24, is possible but risky as the chicken is freshly fried and thus volume is limited.

On a visit to a KFC in the busy central Tokyo district of Shinjuku, staff members said that the queue will snake around the side of the building to a sushi restaurant located halfway down the next street for people to pick up their orders. In this KFC, orders are stronger than last year, and staff are expecting to produce about 7,000 chicken pieces on December 24.

Overall demand is also stronger than last year, KFC Japan says, adding that it is not possible to give specific numbers for their 1,240 restaurants.

Other fast food joints, such as Japan’s Mos Burger also try to cash in on the custom. Traditionally a burger chain, the company is currently advertising chicken for Christmas. However, people mostly seem to opt for KFC.

Yoshiaki Hirose, a Tokyo businessman, ordered his Party Barrel a couple of weeks ago. “It’s like a Christmas standard,” he said. “KFC holds a premium position [over other fast food chains], so it’s nicer for celebrating, without being overly expensive. You want to have a party with your family, save your wife from having to cook, and you can pick it up from your local shopping street on your way home from work.”

It all started in the early 1970s when KFC was new to the market, Japan’s economy was in its fast-growth stage and was absorbing and adapting appealing areas of western culture fast. It turned out to be perfect timing for KFC. According to the company, a representative of a Christian mission school had ordered chicken at a Tokyo KFC as they could not get hold of any turkey. A bright employee suggested the situation could be made into an ad campaign.

“If we’re in Tokyo [for Christmas] we definitely need to buy chicken,” Mr Katagi said.

“My daughters expect this.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

8275: Loser, Loser, Loser.

A Monday Night MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Jermaine Jackson filed a police report claiming his home was robbed of nearly $200,000 worth of stuff. Jackson said he returned from vacation in mid-September with a Louis Vuitton bag full of personal bling and goodies. He didn’t immediately unpack, and later discovered the bag and its contents were missing. Not sure what’s sadder—Jermaine Jackson allegedly getting ripped off or Jermaine Jackson vacationing with $200,000 worth of stuff.

• Hot 97 DJ Cipha Sounds is in hot water after delivering the line, “The reason I’m HIV negative is because I don’t mess with Haitian girls.” The remark pissed off New York City leaders and the Haitian community, with everyone calling for the DJ’s firing. The popular personality later apologized and admitted, “I made a stupid, tasteless joke that was a one-liner that was taken totally the wrong way.” Um, what’s the right way the one-liner should have been taken?

• New York Governor David Paterson is now paying—literally and figuratively—for five free 2009 World Series tickets he accepted. The state Public Integrity Commission pitched a $62,125 fine at Paterson. Damn, it might have been cheaper if Paterson had worked with a scalper instead.

8274: Meeks Shall Not Inherit Mayoral Seat.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

Mayoral race can be teachable moment

We love it when mayoral candidate James Meeks says what’s on his mind.

Even when he’s wrong.

That happened last week, when state Sen. Meeks, speaking on a black radio station, said that only African Americans, and no other ethnic and racial minorities or women, should be eligible for city contract set-asides for minorities. He was discussing the low percentage of city contracting that goes to African Americans.

Meeks was out of line, of course. He’s right to be frustrated by the small cut of city business going to African Americans, but dealing out other minorities, whom Meeks said haven’t suffered discrimination, won’t boost those numbers.

It’s also pretty offensive.

Feeling the heat, Meeks later backpedaled, saying “all minority and women-owned businesses deserve their fair share of city contract opportunities.”

But before an audience where he’s hunting for votes — an audience where Meeks felt comfortable, where he is known for working well with others and for fighting for improved education for all kids — Meeks said what he really thought.

That won’t work if you want to be elected mayor — Chicago’s mayor has to be able to speak to all of us — but Meeks expressed a view and a frustration that all of us ought to be aware is out there.

If we’re lucky, Chicago might get more out of this campaign than a new mayor.

We could learn about each other.

Chicago remains one of the nation’s most segregated cities, as we all know. Far too many of us are cloistered in our separate pockets of the city.

But among the 14 mayoral candidates — and among the six candidates getting the most attention — we have a real cross-section of Chicagoans, each of them inclined to view the big issues of the day in part through the lens of his or her own life experiences.

Many of these experiences are ones the rest of us will never encounter. So feel free to disagree with Meeks. We certainly do. But we see his remarks, and others to come from other candidates, as a chance to better understand where they and others who have walked in their shoes are coming from.

This same sentiment applies in reverse. Given such a diverse field, the candidates themselves have an opportunity to learn something new about Chicago from each other and from each voter they meet.

This is true for every candidate, but we’d like to single out Rahm Emanuel for special attention. Emanuel, the front-runner in all the polls, is skipping the smaller debates and forums, such as the one hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union last week, agreeing only to participate in a few large debates. This is bad for voters and bad for Emanuel. As a former congressman representing the North Side, Emanuel doesn’t have broad experience as a public official in every corner of Chicago.

These smaller forums, admittedly along with Emanuel’s own efforts to campaign throughout the city, offer him a chance to hear what’s really on the minds of all kinds of Chicagoans.

That’s an education that no potential mayor of this wonderfully diverse city should miss.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

8270: Newport—Alive With Award Displeasure!

From The New York Post…

$81M slap for cig giveaways


BOSTON—The third-largest US cigarette maker was ordered yesterday to pay $81 million in punitive damages to the estate of a woman who died after decades of smoking Newports.

The award came in addition to $71 million in damages awarded to Marie Evans’ estate and her son, William, on Tuesday.

A jury found Lorillard Inc. had enticed her and other black children to smoke by handing out cigarettes outside their Boston housing project in the early ‘60s.

Evans died from lung cancer in 2002 at age 54.

8269: Comcast Broadcasts Its Diversity Plans.

Adweek reported Comcast has been wooing minority support for its merger with NBC Universal, promising increased targeted programming, diversity councils and other patronizing gestures. Why the hell isn’t anyone demanding the cable company pressure its advertising agencies to become more inclusive?

Comcast Looks to Af-Am Community for Merger Support
Cable company agrees to bring more diversity to its offerings

By Katy Bachman

Comcast has lined up support from three of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations for its proposed joint venture with NBC Universal. As part of a memorandum of understanding filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast has agreed to add four new African-American owned-and-operated channels to its lineup; increase the distribution of two existing African-American channels; and continually improve diversity in the workplace and in communities. Comcast will also create a Joint Diversity Council.

The letter, from the heads of the NAACP, the National Urban League and National Action Network, follows a similar letter and memorandum of understanding between Comcast and five Asian American organizations.

“This agreement, along with similar agreements reach[ed] with the Hispanic and Asian leadership, will pave the way for Comcast to be a true leader, not just in the media and communications space, but in all of American industry,” said Payne Brown, vp of strategic initiatives for Comcast.

The support from ethnic groups comes as regulators work to complete review of the $30 billion deal.

Comcast has been hoping to close its deal with NBC Universal by the end of the year, but with time running out, that looks less and less certain. Both the FCC and the Department of Justice need to sign off on the deal.