Sunday, April 17, 2016

13161: IAB On Diversity.

A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg’s opening keynote delivered at the 2016 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, wherein Rothenberg declared, “[A]d-blocking is a war against diversity and freedom of expression.” The following excerpt from Rothenberg’s speech is particularly noteworthy—and cringe-worthy:

One of the most transcendent values to which you can devote yourself is diversity.

We are living in a period of racial, ethnic, and religious vilification unlike anything I have experienced in my adult life. Presidential candidates from a major party actually are calling for people to be segregated and penalized on the basis of their religion. Whole ethnic groups, particularly Latinos and everyone practicing Islam, are being demonized. Rules and laws are being proposed that would prevent these people from entering the United States, or staying here, based solely on their backgrounds, divorced entirely from their productivity or family ties here.

When you get back to your office, look around you at work, and pay attention. For these are your friends and colleagues who are under attack. Their skin is black, and brown, and ochre, as well as white. They speak Mandarin, and Spanish, and Hindu, and Farsi, as well as English. They celebrate Diwali, and Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, as well as Christmas and Chanukkah. And they are under assault.

And when they are under attack, you are under attack. For they are the future of the American economy. They are the future of consumption. They are the future of advertising and media. They are your childrens’ classmates, your in-laws, the parents of your future grandchildren.

Um, has Rothenberg visited a typical advertising agency in the past, say, 50 years? If he were to accompany any of the attendees back to their offices, and looked around, and paid attention, he’d see the friends and colleagues do not have black, brown and ochre skin tones. They do not speak Mandarin, and Spanish, and Hindu, and Farsi, as well as “urban” or Spanglish. They do not celebrate Diwali, and Kwanzaa and Ramadan—or even Black History Month.

Regardless, Rothenberg’s solution is to have the industry invest in iDiverse, the IAB’s culturally-clichĂ©d smokescreen. Because, by golly, colored candidates require special training and tutoring in order to succeed in predominately White advertising agencies—where the majority of staffers were hired via nepotism, cronyism and other assorted isms. Sorry, but ad-blocking is not nearly as big a threat to diversity as adpeople.


321plan said...

"Their skin is black, and brown, and ochre."

Wait, WHAT? I know he's not talking about any Madison Avenue level agencies.

Unless he's counting the interns and security and janitors that are conveniently gathered around on days that IAB visits an agency.

I've been at not one but a couple of major agencies that would "just happen" to have all the interns of color in on days that we took photographs or a brand was coming in for a meeting, for instance. The other 360 days of the year, white white white.

nomnomm said...

The IAB started out saying they were going to get 10,000 diverse new hires in the ad system. Now they've somehow backtracked to 2,000.

Oh, and they've widened the definition of diversity to that whole Diversity of Thought thing where it means everything but the kitchen sink, thereby diluting ethnic diversity.

"The IAB Education Foundation is dedicated to increasing racial, gender, economic, and cultural diversity as well as closing the skills gap in the digital media and advertising industries."

So now (with the addition of economic diversity), we get to look forward to white women, white handicapped men and women, white LGBT, old white people, and POOR white people getting hired and included under the diversity banner before ethnic diversity in advertising gets tackled.

Beer_Refugee said...

I am still rolling on the floor laughing at the IAB having anything at all to do with diversity. My dealings with them through the years have been whiter than white on white with a side of white. Whatever they're up to by claiming diversity by now is therefore suspect, and I'd love to know what's actually going on behind the scenes.