As a companion post to the 2015 MLK Day perspective, the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warrants commentary:
“If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.”
When MLK’s formula is applied to the advertising industry, the results reveal how diversity remains a dream deferred and denied. In fact, it’s pretty fucked up. To focus this examination—as well as commemorate Black History Month—let’s consider the Black populations in major cities.
Based on 2010 U.S. Census figures, Blacks comprise 82.7 percent of the citizenry in Detroit. How does that number hold up against the makeup of Team Detroit teammates? What’s the Truth Well Told on inclusivity at Commonwealth/McCann?
Chicago boasts a 32.9 percent Black populace. Leo Burnett will need far more than 66 years to achieve fairness by the MLK standards. DDB Chicago would have to scour the planet for global citizens to reach the promised land. If FCB Chicago were required to deliver on MLK’s logic, the White advertising agency’s leaders would shit their pants.
Los Angeles features a 9.6 percent Black demographic. Perhaps the single-digit percentage explains David&Goliath President Brian Dunbar’s belief that La-La Land agencies are more diverse—that is, the area is working with a lower-than-National-average figure. Meanwhile, any diversity numbers provided by Deutsch LA—via Twitter or other methods—would almost certainly be lies.
The delegation, deferment, delay and denial of diversity in the advertising industry is downright discrimination. And dangerous, when reviewing this MLK quote: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”