Saw this banner ad for the AAF Most Promising Minority Students program and couldn’t help but think of the patronizing hypocrisy inherent in such initiatives. Sure, many potential candidates receive unique opportunities through these endeavors. Yet it’s also true that the supply exceeds the demand; that is, not every minority student applying for a slot lands an internship—or heaven forbid, an actual job.
If the industry is indeed concerned about diversity, let’s spend just one year where every minority student interested in the field is awarded an internship. Hey, let’s go further. For 2014, let’s fill every single intern position with a minority. Is anyone crying reverse discrimination? Um, there have likely been years in the past where every intern in adland was White. So why not turn the tables for a season? After all, the unemployment rate among minority students is disproportionately high. So mandating that internships should only be filled with minorities makes sense from business and social angles.