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-clichéd 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.