Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Essay 1271

One more comment responding to the latest Marc Brownstein perspective presented in Essay 1245…

> While I know this is a hot button issue for most and we all want to come up with revolutionary ideas that help solve these problems, what about putting support behind those solutions that are already out there? One such solution is called the MAIP internship program or Multicultural Advertising Intern Program run by AAAA. Every year this program screens, accepts and places qualified and motivated multicultural candidates into agencies all across the country. Last summer they placed about 99 interns in upwards of 20 agencies. This program is well respected, long running and successful. While most of the interns end up in New York, I spent the summer in Minneapolis, a place not known for its diversity of color; thankfully, not for its lack of trying but due in part to the lack of interest and also the weather. (I’m sure you’ve all heard about Minnesota winters.) But I digress. This program allowed me to test the waters of the advertising world, receive the support and wisdom of my peers and ultimately lead me to a career path that I’m sure I will find personal satisfaction from. Plus, it showed me that there are agencies outside New York who are worthy of looking into. A relief to me since for good or bad I don’t particularly want to work in New York (please hold the gasp of horror and looks of shock and amazement till the end, thank you). If agencies want to find diversity, here’s the place to go. Any agency big or small can be a sponsor. Campbell Mithun (the place where I interned) sponsored 8 interns, others just one. And while this program may be a bit pricy — host agencies cover a portion of living and travel expenses, plus a weekly salary for each intern — it allows individuals who might otherwise be unable to intern outside their own city to participate. After all, we want to encourage diversity of location as well as diversity of skin color. If you fill an agency with a minority group from say Chicago, won’t they have a different viewpoint than an agency filled with minorities from Arizona, Boston, Colorado and California? Programs to encourage minorities in advertising are already out there established and accepted, and while some of us might argue what the definition of a minority truly is (I myself was accused of not “being a real minority” due to my half Pilipino, half white heritage), I think that MAIP comes as close as anyone has or ever will to getting the job done. For those of you who can’t afford to be part of this program, MAIP also sends out mass email to its alumni posting job opportunities from agencies big and small. If you are truly serious about hiring minorities, this is the place to advertise it. This list includes present interns and past alumni. The program has been running for 32 years, so I imagine that’s a pretty long list. And for those of you who are wondering, I’m not on any MAIP board or Alumni commit. I don’t even work at an ad agency and have yet to leave college. I graduate in May, double major double minor. I just had a wonderful eye opening experience that solidified my desire to work in advertising. An experience I wish others could share. — Glendale, AZ

Essay 1270

This ad’s got soul. Too bad it’s got no concept.

Essay 1269

The New York Times reported on Proposition 2, a controversial Michigan ballot initiative challenging the affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan. As expected, the issue has divided people.

“We have a horrible history when it comes to race in this country,” said Jennifer Gratz, a key figure in the debate. “But that doesn’t make it right to give preference to the son of a Black doctor at the expense of a poor student whose parents didn’t go to college.”

The president of the university opposes the proposition, fearing it would reach lower school levels too. “It would make it illegal to have our program targeting girls in junior high school, and having them come to campus to learn about science and engineering,” said Mary Sue Coleman. “I’m a woman scientist, and I know how fragile our gains are.”

“We need to keep affirmative action because it’s still not a level playing field for women or minorities,” said one resident.

“I don’t know a lot about Proposition 2, but I do know a neighbor kid, a good kid, a local kid with a 3.7-3.8 average, who didn’t get into the university and he should have,” said another resident. “I do think there’s something wrong with [the University of Michigan’s] admissions.”

“If voters think about it as being about race, black and white, support goes up,” said the vice president of a Michigan polling firm. “So the opponents are trying to show that it’s not just race, that it would hurt women, hurt Michigan’s economy, and they’re having some success with that.”

Click on the essay title above to read the full story.

Essay 1268

Tricks and Treats in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A Salem woman has been fighting for witches’ civil rights. The efforts include opening the door to defamation lawsuits when posters depicting witches as broomstick-riding old hags are hung on government property. “If they don’t protect us and take care of us like everyone else, then they could be sued,” warned the witch. Or worse, have a nasty spell cast upon them.

• KFC’s announcement of eliminating trans fats in its food has Mickey D’s scared. Especially since Burger King and Wendy’s have also presented plans to change their menu items. However, officials at the Golden Arches insist they’re still struggling to find solutions that won’t jeopardize taste quality. Not sure when taste quality became a concern at Mickey D’s.

• There were more tricks than treats along the U.S.-Mexican border, as immigration officials booted a record 187,000 illegal aliens from the country in 2005 — including deporting 3,700 violent gang members over the last two years. “That’s more than 3,700 gang-bangers off the streets and not preying on members of communities,” declared Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Yeah, but you still can’t eject trans fats from Mickey D’s menu.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Essay 1267

Top Ten $1,000 Charitable Donations That Would Really Piss Off Oprah (see Essay 1266).

10. Rifle Gear For The Minuteman Project.

9. Dry Cleaning For The Ku Klux Klan.

8. Senator George Allen Re-Election Fund.

7. Author James Frey Creative Writing Grant.

6. Duke Lacrosse Booster Club.

5. The Snoop Dogg Youth Football League.

4. The Ludacris Foundation.

3. Buying Ice Cube’s “Are We There Yet?” On DVD — A Truly Charitable Act.

2. 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation.

1. The Hermès Charity Ball.

Essay 1266

Monkey business in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A fan who allegedly called NBA star Dikembe Mutombo a “monkey” has been banned for the season by the NBA and Orlando Magic. And no, it wasn’t Senator George Allen (see Essay 938).

• Goodyear is not having a good year, announcing plans to shut down a Texas plant and cut about 1,100 jobs. “We must take the steps necessary to reduce our costs and improve our competitive position,” said a company official in a statement. “While this is an extremely difficult decision for everyone involved, it was required to help turn around our North American business.” In the tire business, when sales go flat, you have to reinvent the wheel.

• Oprah Winfrey gave about 300 audience members $1,000 debit cards to use toward charitable causes. Bank of America, an institution that last year admitted to having ties to slavery, sponsored the giveaway. “You’re going to open your hearts, you’re going to be really creative, and you’re going to spend it all at once on one stranger or spend a dollar on every person,” said Oprah. “Imagine the love and kindness you can spread with $1,000.” Um, Oprah probably drops a grand just to get a pedicure. For one foot.

Essay 1265

From The Associated Press…


Funeral held for hateful words

BELOIT, Wis. — More than 200 people attended a symbolic funeral to lay to rest the offensive term for blacks: the N-word.

“I didn’t know it was possible to be happy to go to a funeral,” said Milele Chikasa Anana, publisher of Umoja magazine in Madison. “Hallelujah! I am delighted that we are having a funeral!”

The Oct. 21 funeral was part of an event organized by the Black Star Project of Beloit, which was recently formed to pursue educational and job opportunities for blacks in Beloit and strengthen spiritual growth for families.

Before the funeral at New Zion Baptist Church, there was a ceremony at Bethel AME Church and a rally at Merrill Elementary School.

The N-word’s coffin was buried at East Lawn Cemetery, along with other hateful words that attendees wished to bury.

Wanda Sloan, a member of the Black Star Project and one of the funeral’s organizers, said she is bothered that some in what she called the hip-hop generation use the word as a term of endearment.

“It’s disturbing because it shows that the educational system is still being negligent at teaching African-American children and majority children about the true history,” Sloan said.

Essay 1264

Not sure what the hell is going on here. Looks like India is holding a gay pride festival.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Essay 1263

Black Sunday in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Animal shelters nationwide have banned the adoption of Black cats during the Halloween season, fearing idiots will mistreat the animals in holiday pranks. However, critics argue the measure does more harm than good. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare showed Black and Dark Brown cats were less likely to be adopted than White cats. “Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color,” said an official at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in New York City. “Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?” Madonna will probably appear on Oprah’s show to argue her opinion on this topic.

• Bill Cosby took his road show to Los Angeles, serving as keynote speaker at a forum titled, “Education Is a Civil Right.” The entertainment icon blasted parents and teachers equally. “We’ve got parents who won’t check the bedrooms of their children to see if there’s a gun,” said Cosby. Teachers were spanked for not providing a good answer when students ask, “Why do I need this?” when considering the application of algebra and English to future jobs. “I’m not asking you to entertain the children,” Cosby preached. “If you teach English, and you can’t answer this child … then you’re in trouble, and we’ve been in trouble. We can’t answer these children, because nobody’s given them any goals.” Even churchgoers received criticism, as Cosby quipped too many folks rely on the belief, “The Lord will find a way. … So I’m just going to wait for Jesus to find a way.” He declared, “Too many people are waiting for Jesus to come along and cut your grass. And Jesus isn’t going to come along and cut your grass.” What would Jesus do — in response to Cosby’s rants? Additionally, there are probably quite a few Los Angeles landscapers named Jesus.

• An 18-year-old kid in New Jersey sparked controversy by mimicking myspace.com with a website titled, “NiggaSpace.com.” The creator goes by the name Tyrone, and insists the site title is not intended to be racist; rather, he hopes to change the connotation of the infamous word. The kid can probably expect an IM or email from Cosby soon.

• An ex-employee from Vons grocery chain received an $18 million jury award after winning a wrongful termination lawsuit that charged he was sexually harassed by his female supervisor. The former worker testified the supervisor made sexual remarks, and even simulated sex with a feather duster. Vons plans to appeal. Or maybe offset the damage award by staging a special promotion on feather dusters.

Essay 1262

The Department of Veterans Affairs presents Abraham Lincoln to deliver its diversity message, reflecting on the dead president’s promises from over a century ago. Wonder if it’s inspirational — or sobering to realize the issues persist after more than 100 years.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Essay 1261

From The Chicago Tribune…


Reverse discrimination gets another look

By Steve Chapman

Time travel, long a staple of science fiction, has so far amounted to nothing more than a fantasy. But anyone interested in paying a visit to the past may soon get the chance. On Nov. 7, voters in Michigan will decide on a ballot initiative banning racial preferences in the public sector, and if it passes, opponents say, it will put the state back into the Dark Ages.

Proposal 2 represents a reaction to the University of Michigan’s use of racial double standards in selecting its students. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the preferences used in undergraduate admissions were unconstitutional but those used for law school admissions were not. The court said it was OK to favor minority applicants--and discriminate against whites--in order to promote diversity, as long as the school wasn’t too blatant about it.

The outcome didn’t satisfy losing litigant Jennifer Gratz, who was rejected despite credentials that would have virtually assured admission to a black or Hispanic applicant. She organized a campaign to put affirmative action to a referendum. The resulting measure, similar to one passed in California in 1996, would amend the state constitution to bar the use of racial or gender preferences by public universities and government agencies.

If it passes, no one would be penalized or rewarded for their skin color or sex. That was the point of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Today, though, colorblind policies are denounced as a form of oppression.

The critics foresee the direst of consequences if Proposal 2 becomes law. The Michigan Catholic Conference invokes memories of Jim Crow while warning that the measure would kill or cripple “any program in Michigan that aims to create access for women and minorities.” The University of Michigan says that it would no longer be able to “pursue the educational benefits of a diverse student body.”

But Proposal 2 does not deny access to anyone--it merely mandates that everyone be assessed according to criteria (grades, test scores, personal accomplishments, and so on) other than race or sex. The measure also wouldn’t prevent universities from promoting diversity by favoring students from poor families, or children who have overcome special challenges, or kids from high schools where few graduates go on to college.

At the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles, California’s most selective state schools, the percentage of students qualifying for need-based federal aid has risen sharply since 1996. In socioeconomic terms, those campuses have become more diverse, not less. But in Michigan, the concept of diversity begins and ends with race.

The claim that women would suffer without special help in college admissions is a particularly outlandish invention. At Berkeley and UCLA, women increased their numbers after gender-based preferences were scrapped.

There is not much doubt that Proposal 2 would reduce the number of black and Latino students at the University of Michigan, the flagship public institution. But in California, the top schools have not become replicas of Ole Miss, circa 1960. The biggest gainer has been another racial minority--Asian-Americans.

Nor have African-Americans and Hispanics been exiled from higher education. The total number of blacks at all University of California campuses has fallen only slightly, and Hispanic numbers have risen substantially. The chief difference is that many (though certainly not all) minority students have been shifted from the most selective state schools to somewhat less selective ones.

Are these students worse off for not getting into Berkeley or UCLA? Quite the contrary. In the old days, black and Hispanic students generally got worse grades and flunked out at much higher rates than whites and Asian-Americans. But that is changing.

At the University of California at San Diego, the state’s third-most selective, an internal report found “no substantial [grade point average] differences based on race/ethnicity.” The four-year graduation rate for African-Americans at UCSD has jumped by 44 percent in the last decade.

Which is better--being a UCLA dropout or a UCSD graduate? Attending a more prestigious school is valuable only if you get a degree, which far too many minority students did not in the era of racial favoritism. By putting many of these students in schools whose academic standards they couldn’t meet, affirmative action set them up for failure.

Racial preferences, always a clear detriment to whites and Asian-Americans, have now been exposed as a false friend to those they are supposed to help. Michigan will have a better future if its voters abandon this relic of the past.

Essay 1260

Saturday morning cartoons and more in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Wal-Mart, bowing to pressure from Black leaders and union groups, fired an adviser who created the controversial commercial dissing Representative Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee (see Essay 1256). The man was originally hired by the mega-retailer to help deal with organized labor and liberal groups. Somebody should have alerted the adviser that Wal-Mart hypes low prices, not lowdown dirty tactics.

• KFC changed its cooking oil to eliminate trans fats, and plans to officially announce the switch on Monday. Most of the fast feeder’s restaurants made the change weeks ago, and customers don’t seem to notice any difference. Then again, do KFC fans really have any taste standards?

• Vice President Dick Cheney sparked controversy when discussing interrogation techniques during a radio show interview. The flap involves whether or not Cheney was commenting on a technique known as “waterboarding” — where a prisoner has his feet bound above his head while water is poured on a cloth over his face. “Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?” an interviewer asked Cheney, who replied, “Well, it’s a no-brainer for me.” Cheney defenders insist the veep wasn’t aware of which specific technique the interviewer was referring to. Actually, to conclude that Cheney supports all forms of torture seems like a no-brainer.

Essay 1259

Your potential is as promising as the nation you love. Just don’t believe any potential promising from the CIA.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Essay 1258

Strip, searches and more in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A former teacher’s aide from Indiana accused of stripping in a classroom full of students and touching herself in seductive ways was sentenced to 9 years in prison. The 28-year-old woman maintained her innocence throughout the sentencing and declared, “I still say that I’m innocent, regardless of what victims said I did. … I did nothing to those children and I still say that.” Sounds like a Clinton-style defense. The school will probably have to bring in special counselors to help the kids cope with the grief of losing this instructor.

• Snoop Dogg was busted at Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport for possessing a pistol and marijuana in his vehicle. Does Snoop ever travel without a gun and drugs? He probably refers to the reefer as a carry-on nickel bag.

• Hip Hoppers Prodigy and The Alchemist were busted in Chelsea for possessing a pistol in their vehicle. Given all the rappers and artists currently hawking vehicles in advertisements, maybe the automakers should start designing rides with gun racks.

• Supermodel Naomi Campbell visited with cops in London after her alleged involvement in a recent altercation. At this point, there are probably more photos of Campbell in police stations than fashion magazines.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Essay 1257

Delivering a Eulogy for a Magazine.


Hasta la vista, baby.

Barely a week after the conclusion of Hispanic Heritage Month, media conglomerate VNU announced its decision to dump Marketing y Medios, the trade magazine dedicated to Latino advertising and more.

The new scheme involves rolling the magazine’s content into monthly special reports that will run in sister publications Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek — sort of a business burrito for the professional masses.

The VNU spin was typically corporate: “The growing Hispanic market has evolved from a niche to the mainstream and our audience is asking for forward-thinking, broad-based coverage. … This move provides Marketing y Medios a prominent presence in our three core brands while offering Hispanic advertisers a voice among mainstream brand marketers and media buyers.”

The Spanish translation for the VNU statement: Caca Grande.

Actions like this are always financially motivated. Except in cases of blatant racism. But let’s take the high road and presume that Marketing y Medios failed to generate the requisite profits to satisfy VNU accountants.

Its demise, however, inspires some disturbing observations.

For starters, one must wonder if VNU spent enough time and money promoting their product. It seems like Adfreak.com receives greater hype than Marketing y Medios enjoyed. Plus, to recognize “the growing Hispanic market has evolved from a niche to the mainstream,” then eliminate the publication reporting on the subject, makes little sense.

From a publishing perspective, the Latino marketing community literally goes from star to minority status. When considering players like Advertising Age, where “Multicultural” news is relegated to an occasional partial page, it does not bode well for the future of Marketing y Medios’ voice and spirit. Has Adweek ever displayed a single decent article on anything not targeting White Baby Boomers? And does anyone even read Brandweek and Mediaweek?

It would be ideal if VNU actually integrated the Marketing y Medios content, creating diverse editorial environments. But that’s probably too “forward-thinking” to comprehend. Instead, it appears VNU will ultimately reflect the advertising industry by segregating the minorities. Better to keep these guys in their place — in the back sections alongside the classified ads featuring job opportunities that Blacks, Asians and Latinos will continue to be denied.

Marketing y Medios awarded a unique platform for the Latino marketing community to showcase its stuff. Editor Laura Martínez and her team served up opinions, insights, facts, fiction, creative critiques and more with passion, intelligence and humor. Everyone was welcome, whether Martínez agreed with you or not. Forgive the cliché, but it was a cultural celebration. And of course, it helped the Latino marketing community build credibility, prominence and power. There’s a lot of cool and progressive activity taking place — and Marketing y Medios provided an unparalleled spotlight. Folks would be hard-pressed to find another business magazine in any category to match its distinctive personality.

Muchos kudos to Laura Martínez and compadres for blazing breakthrough, pioneering achievements.

What’s the biggest tragedy of all? MultiCultClassics recently renewed its subscription to Marketing y Medios for two years. So VNU is bound to offer credit in the form of a substitute magazine from its stable of hackneyed dreck.

In the words of Bart Simpson, “¡Ay, caramba!”


Special Bonus! Click on the essay title above to view MultiCultClassics’ first mention of Marketing y Medios, written in March 2005.

Essay 1256

Calling out nonsense in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• The Senate race in Tennessee turned ugly with a Republican-backed commercial attacking Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., a Black Democratic candidate. The commercial presents mock man-on-the-street interviews, with folks making snarky comments about Ford. The spot closes with a White woman claiming that she met Ford at a “Playboy party,” who then winks and says, “Harold, call me.” Critics charge the message plays off racial stereotypes. Mark Foley probably doesn’t see a problem with it.

• American Greetings is teaming up with Johnson Publications to create a line of greeting cards to launch during Black History Month. The cards will feature classic covers from Ebony magazine, along with inspirational copy. No word yet if Oprah will create a series of cards featuring O magazine covers.

• The investigation surrounding a threatening letter sent to California Hispanic residents about the upcoming elections (see Essay 1228) has led to accusing an LAPD officer of being involved. And you wonder why the LAPD is struggling with diversity in its ranks (see Essay 1253).

• Sony’s profit dropped 94 percent for the July-September quarter, thanks mostly to the worldwide battery recall. The Energizer Bunny vehemently denied any involvement.

Essay 1255

What I do matters. Looks like this ad’s art director and copywriter don’t live by those words.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Essay 1254

One more comment responding to the latest Marc Brownstein perspective presented in Essay 1245…

> Dear Marc -- I am a Jamaican female marketing professional working on the agency side. And I am marketing grad of Temple University. There are students of color at great colleges like Temple and also HBCUs who majored in marketing, communications, etc., and who want to work in advertising (general market, multicultural and otherwise). However, when we start knocking on those doors, we are offered admin positions and not promoted. I graduated in 1993 and even with a referral from a professor who worked at Ketchum, wasn’t admitted into account management training programs at BBDO, Ogilvy or any others. Individuals with art history degrees were accepted into these programs. Thank God for multicultural agencies, otherwise people of color (Black/Hispanic/Asian/Native American/etc.) might not get opportunities to get into the marketing industry. I also applaud Verizon, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola for diversifying their marketing ranks, so that we younger professionals can see that marketing is a viable profession and we can succeed at it. Marc, if you need someone to speak at schools in Philly, I would be more than happy to come on down from NYC to help out. Talented and skilled minorities are out there, and we want the same opportunities afforded to Whites within this industry and throughout the disciplines — acct management, interactive, media, creative, production, exec management. All the best with your efforts — JAMAICA ESTATES, NY

Essay 1253

Examining the body of evidence in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Foxy Brown (pictured above) was sentenced to three years on probation for beating nail salon workers with her cell phone. The hip-hop diva fought hard to reverse her guilty plea, but the judge wasn’t buying it. Ms. Brown rapped, “I just feel like I was coerced into a guilty plea! … I was tired! I felt rushed! It was late in the day. I was threatened with going to jail! … [Her ex-lawyer] told me they’re out to get you — to put you away — that I needed to plead guilty to get this over with. … If this was any other girl except an entertainer, this would never happen. … I can walk and talk with a smile on my face, and a Bible in my Louis Vuitton bag, because I know what this is.” Sounds like the lead track for her next music collection.

• Busta Rhymes was in court too, refusing a plea deal stemming from allegedly beating up a fan for spitting on the rapper’s ride. Unlike Foxy Brown, Rhymes remained silent. It’s a sign that the apocalypse is upon us when one rapper can serve as a legal role model for another rapper.

• The LAPD is still struggling to promote minorities in its ranks, despite creating official diversity objectives and programs. Goals were not met for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women. “When we talk about … coveted assignments, if you talk to most African Americans they really don’t feel it is equal,” said a police official. “Most African Americans on this department will tell you our White counterparts promote two or three times faster than we do.” The White counterparts will probably tell you they get promoted ten times faster.

• Reports show Whites pursued more Hurricane Katrina complaints than minorities. According to an Associated Press analysis, while poor and minority communities suffered the most damage from the hurricane, folks from White neighborhoods have been three times as likely as folks from Black neighborhoods to seek state help with insurance problems. Experts believe the reluctance to ask for assistance may be rooted in lack of trust and lack of connection with government agencies. Or maybe, contrary to popular belief, White folks are more inclined to look for handouts.

Essay 1252

Which group has benefited the most from affirmative-action-style initiatives? Do the math.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Essay 1251

Presenting two obituaries for Marketing y Medios.


From HispanicBusiness.com…

Marketing y Medios Magazine Ending Separate Publication

Marketing y Medios, one of the smartest journals in the Hispanic-oriented English-language publication niche, will no longer be published as a separate magazine, its parent company announced Monday.

The magazine’s founding editor, Laura Martinez, will leave the company on Dec. 15 “to pursue other opportunities,” according to VNU Business Media, although other editors will remain on staff. Its Web edition will not change.

Marketing y Medios debuted in September 2004 with Ms. Martinez, a veteran journalist who had helmed creation of the weekly Wall Street Journal en Espanol, in charge.

VNU said the print content that made up Marketing y Medios — a bimonthly look at marketing to Hispanics — will appear as a monthly special report in the journal’s sister publications Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek.

VNU pitched the switchover as a positive.

“The growing Hispanic market has evolved from a niche to the mainstream and our audience is asking for forward-thinking, broad-based coverage,” Mike Parker, president of the Marketing, Retail and Design Group at VNU, said in a release. “This move provides Marketing y Medios a prominent presence in our three core brands while offering Hispanic advertisers a voice among mainstream brand marketers and media buyers.”

But others were less enthusiastic. “Marketing y Medios folds …” the Web site HispanicAd.com headlined. “Marketing y Medios did not enjoy the traction with either readers and advertisers, thus suffering from severe sales under-performance and cost containment issues,” it wrote in a brief announcement.

That contrasts with the high hopes that accompanied the magazine’s debut. “The launch issue has been an overwhelming success among Hispanic media companies,” Publisher Michael Hatherill was quoted when the journal first came out. “We premiered with 19 1/2 ad pages and marketers are recognizing that this is the place to be to reach this important demographic.”

VNU said after the announcement of the Marketing y Medios demise on Monday, “ad agencies, media companies, readers and advertisers have expressed a genuine feeling of loss for the standalone magazine.”


From HispanicAd.com…

Marketing y Medios folds…

VNU has announced that it will no longer publish their dedicated US Hispanic industry trade journal Marketing y Medios. They have decided to publish a monthly selection in select copies of Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek.

Editor Laura Martinez will leave the publication after the November/December issue is put forth.

Marketing y Medios did not enjoy the traction with either readers and advertisers, thus suffering from severe sales under-performance and cost containment issues.

“We at HispanicAd.com are sorry to hear about VNU’s decision to cut back drastically in their involvement in servicing the US Hispanic advertising, marketing, media and sales professionals,” stated Gene Bryan, CEO of HispanicAd.com. “We continue to believe in the viability of covering our industry daily and that there is enough critical mass and revenues to support efforts from Ad Age, Hispanic Market Weekly and ourselves.”

Essay 1250

More comments responding to the latest Marc Brownstein perspective presented in Essay 1245…

> Dana and Mark — In my previous post, I offered kind words to Mark for the effort before I explained why, though valiant, the effort is misguided. Here’s an attempt to clarify: First, while Mark did not specifically label the kids he wishes to target as “underprivileged,” this is exactly who he is going after when he says he wants to seek out student bodies “primarily of color.” Let’s pretend for a second that I was merely being assumptive and there was no intention to associate minorities with the needy — regardless, a minimum amount of research about primarily minority communities will lead you to statistics that will make that connection for you. Second, nevertheless, doing something good for minorities, the colored, underprivileged, or whatever you want to call them is great. Those kids will learn something about an exciting industry and will hopefully be inspired. However, diversity in advertising is beyond this sort of help — it’s about hiring qualified individuals from all backgrounds and experiences to feed an industry that lives and breathes on diverse insights and creative ideas. Mr. Brownstein’s middle-school-aged targets won’t even be old enough to work for another 10 years. What are we going to do until then? Third and last, when these children are of age, they will STILL be faced with the ad agency culture issues I already spoke about. You can do good things for them while they’re young and give them internships when they get older, but when they graduate and are on the job hunt, they will STILL face an industry that promotes hiring clones of current employees. How can this be fixed? Step out of your comfort zone and hire different people. If you can’t find them, LOOK. While it may be more difficult to find a qualified candidate on the senior level, it certainly is not on the junior level. Mr. Brownstein is in Philadelphia, home of several institutions of higher learning. I suggest that he contact some university career centers and find out when and where he can set up a booth at a career day or recruiting fair. Create some materials that promote advertising as an exciting career choice full of diverse experiences and people. That would be a good start until the middle-schoolers graduate next decade. P.S. Dana — the whole “it’s about the students, not us” thing is a poor excuse for neglecting to take a look at what the real problem is. It’s these excuses that people use to make themselves feel better that keep real progress from happening. — Chicago, IL

> Mark, you can’t seem to catch a break! I commend you for putting actions behind your words, even if some people disagree with your approach. Brandon, you are obviously very close and passionate about this issue. The unfortunate thing is that I believe you have misinterpreted Mark’s words. I cannot see where Mr. Brownstein mentions “the underprivileged” or “inner-city dwellers are minorities.” Mark mentions schools whose student body is primarily of color, but I think it is a bit assumptive on your part, don’t you think? Don’t get me wrong, Brandon, I agree with searching for qualified candidates of color, but Mark’s point is that he’d like to see more. I don’t see his efforts as a charity, it seems like a conscious effort to educate an untapped market of talent. Let’s be honest, the people who are going to [benefit] the most from his efforts are the students, not him. Thanks, Mark! — Minneapolis, MN

> What happens when you’re not the average “white” guy? Where does that person go? Where can he fit in? You know…the white guy who grew up in black/hispanic communities and has a strong sense of what would work and what wouldn’t. Should he/she go to the “ethnic” agencies where there is a slight chance of getting in or go to the GM agencies where he he/she might not fit in? — Philadelphia, PA

> bravo to brandon burns. well put. i would also add the following based on 15 years at big and mid-sized and small agencies in Chicago, NYC and out west: hiring is only part of the problem. as a black male, when I was at GM shops i always had the luxury of knowing that our budgets and treatment was 10 times that of what every ethnic shop received. it wasn’t [clear] until i went to ethnic/targeted shops. imagine, mr. brownstein being told that no matter how good your shop’s work is, no matter how valid your research and insights may be, that you are not even allowed to compete for AOR status. why? because you are white. that’s what it is to work at black and hispanic agencies--to be relegated to the “ethnic” business even when your ideas and insights outperform the GM shops. hiring is just the tip of a very big, ugly and entrenched iceberg. as for the internship program, i tried launching a minority internship program while at several GM shops in the 90s and 2000s. in each case i was accused of “reverse discrimination.” the programs had to be open not just to blacks and hispanics and asians but also to whites. guess what the companies did: hire all white interns. please don’t do this with your program, mr. brownstein. you seem like you want to do better, so let’s see you do better. — chicago, IL

Essay 1249

Rushing to judgment with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Rush Limbaugh dissed Michael J. Fox for starring in a political ad and speaking in favor of stem cell research. In the commercial, the Parkinson’s-afflicted Fox appeared to be physically suffering from the disease. The ever-sensitive Limbaugh charged that Fox was “either off his medication or acting” in the spot. “Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democrat politician,” declared Limbaugh. Gee, maybe Limbaugh could offer Fox some illegally-acquired painkillers.

• Wesley Snipes is ignoring the warrant for his arrest stemming from charges of ripping off the IRS, opting to continue filming a movie in Africa. “As far as we understand, Wesley is not going to be arrested in Namibia,” said the film’s producer. “We are shooting and we are continuing to shoot. … We are aware of the issue around the tax charges but we are not discussing it.” Somebody call Tommy Lee Jones to hunt down Snipes pronto.

• Coca-Cola is donating land for a civil rights museum in Atlanta. Wonder if the museum will include an historical diner set that refuses to allow Blacks to order Cokes. Just kidding.

Essay 1248

These women-targeted ads are part of a series designed to improve ExxonMobil’s image. Moms, tell them to clean up their oil spills first.

Essay 1247

Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove introduced a new blog — Conscious Media Maker. According to their hype, “This is a blog for entertainment, media, advertising and public relations professionals who are committed to bringing about more realistic, three-dimensional representations of people of color.”

Based in New York, Chau and Van Kerckhove lead the New Demographic anti-racism training company, produce the “Addicted To Race” podcast and publish the “Racialicious” blog. They’re proactive, provocative and sexy smart too.

Click on the essay title above to catch their latest creation.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Essay 1246

Initial comments responding to the latest Marc Brownstein perspective presented in Essay 1245…

> Brandon makes a very good point. I also find it almost insulting when these “white guys” who need a dose of culture turn to Jay Z as their man to get them into the Black community. See the new Budweiser Select campaign, he gets to be co-brand director while guys like Brandon who work their butts off get the cold shoulder… just not cool. — New York, NY

> If you need a person of color (and a 4A MAIP alum) to guest speak in NJ, you know where to reach me. Heck, I might even go down to Philly to help out. — Branchburg, NJ

> What you’re doing is great and all, but I, as a black male, can say you’re still partially missing the mark. The typical, and utterly wrong response to doing something about diversity is to do something for the underprivileged. Not all inner-city dwellers are minorities, and not all minorities are inner-city dwellers. I have a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University, one of the best schools in the nation, and there are other qualified candidates such as myself who do not come from the ghetto and still experience the negative effects of the lack of diversity in advertising. Your gut is telling you the wrong thing — instead of telling you to find some charity cases, it should be telling you to attempt to highlight what is intrinsically wrong with advertising agency culture and put an end to it. Giving an internship to an underprivileged high school student does not help the industry (beyond possibly making you feel better); but seeking out highly qualified minorities and awarding them jobs will. They attend the same schools white America attends. They get jobs comparable to their white counterparts in other industries. Other industries do not seem to have as much of a problem finding them. However, advertising, an industry that is supposed to be about groundbreaking ideas, looks to hire clones of its current employees. It is assumed that the only people who will understand the beer commercial with the average guy as hero is an average white guy. Thus the majority of those who work on these accounts are — you guessed it — average white guys. (Being from Chicago, home of Budweiser, Miller and Coors’ ad agencies, I can assure you that this is true.) Who understands the average woman’s hygiene issues? The average white women. This type of Neanderthal thinking runs rampant in general market agencies. It is assumed that minorities are somehow foreign and a separate agency is needed to cater to them; thus minorities get funneled over to the minority agencies and are not considered a good “fit” for the general market.

This problem not only affects diversity in advertising, but also advertising in general — which is probably why the industry in general attracts less people than it used to. Commercials suck. Why? Because you have a bunch of average white guys sitting in a room trying to figure out what’s cool to a diverse, socially conscious generation of 20somethings. That is the part that needs to be changed; and while doling out presents to inner-city charity cases is nice, it does not get to the root of the advertising diversity issue. — Chicago, IL

Essay 1245

Marc Brownstein is back and blogging (see Essay 1222). The following appeared at AdAge.com…


What Our Agency is Doing About the Diversity Hiring

Organizing a School Road Show and Underwriting a Scholarship

Well, I think I now know what one of the most contentious issues in the advertising business is. My post on diversity certainly stirred debate. I received a record number of emails, voicemails and responses online. If I offended some of you, I apologize; that was not my intention. I did intend to move the dialogue forward about this sensitive topic -- something that’s always going to be difficult, given the fact I’m a white male.

Reactions poured in: “You’re either a genius or a crackpot;” “I want to scream;” and “You’re dead on about television’s influence on diversity recruiting… and no one wants to admit it.” Regardless, I want to use this week’s content to propose actionable solutions.

Last week, I discussed the need for more awareness within the advertising industry, and that agencies -- either individually or collectively -- target schools whose student body is primarily of color. We should create a presentation highlighting what our industry is all about; we’re good at dog-and-pony shows, so let’s bring one to the kids. Help them understand where TV commercials are created, web sites are designed and coded, reputations are managed via public relations campaigns, direct mail waves are planned and launched. I still believe a pitch to kids is the right idea, and will inspire a new generation to consider entering our industry.

To put substance behind my words, my agency is going to create such a road show, and bring it to middle and upper schools in our Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware region. I hope it will encourage some students to apply for an internship at our agency, or one of the many agencies in our community. I also hope it will shed light on career opportunities in the marketing field. We’re going to start right away by lining-up the schools, and I plan to report back to you the results of our “campaign.”

In addition, Brownstein Group is going to underwrite a scholarship for students of color who show promise in our industry. While this is still in the early stages of planning, and we do not have all of the details worked out, our goal is to provide an incentive for minority students to excel in the language or graphic arts, as well as for aspiring strategic planners, account executives, and interactive professionals.

I’m excited about putting action behind these ideas. I’m a gut guy, and have little patience for personally galvanizing an industry to make a difference. But the good thing about running your own agency is that if you think it, you can do it. It’d be pretty cool if we landed an intern from one of the schools we visited. Or, better yet, hired some of the students down the road.

Essay 1244

Exposing the truth in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A 40-year-old California mom accused of indecent exposure had the charges dropped when a judge ruled the law only applies to men. The judge declared the law just referred to someone who “exposes his person.” Neighbors said the woman showed their 14-year-old son full-frontal nudity while he was playing basketball. Somebody please book this lady for Lakers halftime shows pronto.

• A new research study shows the Freshman 15 should actually be called the Freshman 8. While students are gaining less weight than expected, health officials still view it as a problem. “Nobody at home is cooking like a dining hall. They don’t have five different entrees and five different desserts at home,” said the director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “And we know that the more variety people are offered, the more they eat.” Yes, Mickey D’s undoubtedly has decades worth of research to prove this point.

• Health experts are questioning New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on restaurants serving foods with trans fat. While the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine agrees trans fats are really bad, the organization presented a report that opposed bans as being “impractical” since trans fats are in lots of foods, and restrictions would make it “extremely difficult to get a nutritionally adequate diet.” Plus, a ban would probably effectively put Mickey D’s out of business, not to mention every street vendor in Manhattan.

• Ford Motor Company posted a quarterly loss of $5.8 billion, citing factors including declining sales on its most profitable trucks. Wonder how many Ford trucks it would take to haul $5.8 billion.

Essay 1243

Dude, you’re getting a Dell diversity pitch!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Essay 1242

Is the new Chevrolet Silverado commercial patriotic — or patronizing and potentially racist? As John Mellencamp belts out his original tune (which he probably spent half an hour to conceive and produce), there are images of Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Oddly enough, few White heroes appear during the anthem, with the exceptions of the obligatory golfing astronaut and Richard Nixon (?!). Chevy even includes references to New Orleans and the World Trade Center. Yet despite song lyrics proclaiming, “This Is Our Country,” the spot is virtually devoid of Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans or any other minority group. Guess this is not their country.

Click on the essay title above to view the commercial via YouTube.

Essay 1241

Seeking street cred with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Microsoft honchos Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer (pictured above) were dissed in their proposal to team up with the popular Pitchfork blog. “They asked us about generating new content with them or creating a new section on our site specifically for Zune visitors, but it wasn’t something we were interested in pursuing,” said Pitchfork’s editor-in-chief. Can’t imagine why anyone would reject the Microsoft executives in their B-boy gear. Next time, just show up with bags of loot.

• Demographers predict new diversity for America in 2043: The U.S. will be 15 percent non-Hispanic Black, 8 percent Asian and 24 percent Hispanic. Plus, the number of multiracial citizens will continue to rise. “The racial lines will basically be blurred,” said a Brookings Institution demographer. “It’s hard to say what the different classifications will be. … The stark racial categories now won’t hold.” However, experts believe there will be zero changes in the advertising industry.

Essay 1240

Here’s a twist — diversity advertising with a celebrity endorsement. Wonder if the Black-targeted version features Philip Michael Thomas.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Essay 1239

Jimmy John’s proclaims to sell the World’s Greatest Gourmet Sandwiches. Maybe this explains the international slant to the sub maker’s television campaign, which features Asian, Hispanic and European scenarios. Or maybe Jimmy John’s is just an insensitive, bigoted, demented advertiser. Click on the essay title above and judge for yourself. And be sure to catch the other spots available on YouTube.

Essay 1238

Riding the subway of culture in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Here we go again. A California woman claimed to discover part of a human finger in her Subway sandwich. The local health department is investigating, while the restaurant manager — who was at the store when the accusing woman presented the alleged digit — disputes the charge. “It looked like a thick piece of fat,” said the manager. “It doesn’t look anything human to me.” A thick piece of fat? Isn’t that how the ladies used to refer to Jared?

• Rapper Fabolous has hired investigators to determine exactly what happened when he and his posse were attacked outside a Manhattan nightclub (see Essay 1228). It’s all part of an effort to clear the artist of weapons charges that stemmed from the incident. “He was shot,” said Fabolous’ lawyer. “I think that’s the classic definition of a victim.” Then again, he’s a rapper. That’s the classic definition of a bullet magnet.

• Charges were dropped against a 42-year-old California mom accused of driving her two teen kids and their pals around Silver Lake and Echo Park in an SUV so they could tag buildings and property. However, she was sentenced to 90 days for violating her probation stemming from a drug bust — plus, one son was given jail time and more for felony vandalism. Wonder if the local prison offers family plans.

• Afro-In Books, Miami’s only Black-owned bookstore, reopened in Liberty City after closing last December (see Essay 305). The store has been revamped to include a new kitchen and dining area. Visitors and residents are encouraged to support the business. Click on the essay title above to learn more.

Essay 1237

This ad is funky — that is, it stinks.

Essay 1236

From The New York Times…


Bias Episodes Rattle a University’s Diverse Student Body


For many Muslim students, Pace University had seemed to be a comfortable haven with a diverse student body that included hundreds of Muslims and offered an easy give and take among students of all races and ethnicities.

“It’s an awesome school, absolutely amazing,” said Naida Jakirlic, 20, last year’s president of Pace’s Muslim Students Association, who is a refugee from Bosnia.

Faiza Ali, 21, a political science major in her senior year who has also been active with the students association, said that even though she commutes to her home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, from the campus in Lower Manhattan, she spends all her time at the university, and it is like her second home.

That was until late September, when a student discovered a library copy of the Koran, the holy book of Islam, tossed in a men’s room toilet at the downtown campus. And last week, a second Koran was found in a toilet there.

In the days since, a slur aimed at African-Americans was found scrawled in the dew on a car window at Pace’s campus in Briarcliff Manor, in Westchester County, and a swastika and other slurs were found on a bathroom wall at the Manhattan campus.

The events, now being investigated by the police, have rattled Pace, a comprehensive university with 14,000 students and six campuses, the largest one near City Hall. “What is most scary is that no one knows who the perpetrator is,” said Rakshan Khateeb, 19, a freshman from New Jersey, who is secretary of the Muslim Students Association.

Ms. Khateeb, who wears a traditional head scarf, added: “The perpetrator could decide to do something to a person next. And especially for women, it is obvious we’re Muslims.”

That sense of insecurity is not limited to Pace’s Muslim students.

“When one minority is the victim of a hate crime, it certainly provokes fear in other groups, because you cannot help but think, ‘Am I next?’ ” said Ashley Marinaccio, a senior majoring in sociology-anthropology and theater, who founded an AIDS awareness group. “I’ve had discussions with quite a number of people who are worried and do not feel safe because of these incidents.”

David A. Caputo, Pace’s president, said he was shocked when the first Koran was found, but believed it was an aberration in a community that was “not only tolerant, but accepting.” But when the second Koran was desecrated and the slurs were discovered, “it was a clarion call,” he said.

Dr. Caputo estimated that more than 5 percent of Pace’s students were Muslim. He has issued numerous statements condemning the events. At a town hall meeting this month, he called them “despicable” and asked people to be vigilant. And Thursday evening, he announced an anti-hate campaign that will include sensitivity training for students and senior administrators, a program to train people in the proper protocols for handling bias incidents, public forums to discuss the hate crimes that have taken place, and the issuing of wallet cards with phone numbers for people to call in emergencies.

Yesterday, Lisa Miles, a Pace affirmative action officer who has been appointed to lead the anti-hate campaign, met with student leaders on the Pleasantville campus in Westchester. She said she hoped the campaign would become “the core of what we do, not just a matter of responding to this.”

Whether the efforts will be enough to regain students’ trust remains to be seen. Muslim students and others have criticized Pace, saying it initially underplayed the seriousness when the first Koran was found, did not file a formal complaint with the police about the matter and did not respond forcefully enough in general.

“If it had been any other group, any other religious text, it wouldn’t have happened this way,” said Ms. Jakirlic, the former students association president.

Pace officials say they initially decided not to file a report after talks with the police led them to conclude that the first finding of a Koran had been an act of vandalism rather than a hate crime, thus making a formal complaint discretionary. They say they hope the training they are providing on the handling of bias will help. And they note that Dr. Caputo has now directed that any incidents involving race, ethnicity or sexual orientation be formally reported.

Ms. Ali, for one, would like to see Pace do more, like hiring a campus chaplain; it now calls on a group of clergy members on an ad hoc basis. She also wants a world religions course to be required for all students. Both are suggestions Pace officials say they will consider.

“We have science, computers, public speaking as requirements,” Ms. Ali said. “Especially in New York, you are exposed to so many people. A world religions course would be a great way to prepare students for what they’re in store for.”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Essay 1235

One more comment (sorry, couldn’t decipher the typo near the end) responding to AdAge’s Jay-Z story presented in Essay 1232…

> In response to “Now it wants to be in the hood where outcasts grow up to make good on the american dream?” What makes you think Bud wants to be “in the hood” -- because Jay is Black? And what makes people in the hood outcasts? You must be White -- or have an identity crisis. Jay-Z is brand amongst MANY ethnicities and social classes -- White, Black, Hispanic and Asian -- upper, lower and middle. He doesn’t present a “hood audience” brand just because he raps. And being from the hood doesn’t make you an outcast. Long gone are the days of the “good ole’ boy” advertising where you stick a cowboy on a horse and call that shit “American” branding -- Wake up and realize the likes of Jay-Z is what is the of advertising today. It’s a very smart move by B-S to pick up Jay-Z… consumers buy according to association. Damn idiots, I tell you. — New York, NY

Essay 1234

Mickey D’s ad for its Monopoly promotion presents the iconic car sporting rims. Pretty funny. Are there other versions with a basketball shoe, pit bull and pimp’s hat?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Essay 1233

Only 66 days of contrived, clichéd headlines from Wal-Mart until Christmas.

Essay 1232

AdAge.com published the story below, which inspired interesting responses…


Jay-Z Gets a Marketing Title at Anheuser-Busch

Rapper Named ‘Co-Brand Director’ for Budweiser Select

By Jeremy Mullman

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Anheuser-Busch is hoping Jay-Z can bring Budweiser Select beer the kind of blingy success Courvoisier and Cristal have enjoyed.

‘His unique spin’
A-B named the aspiring hip-hop mogul -- aka Shawn Carter – “co-brand director” for Bud Select today, noting, in a press release, that the rapper “will participate in Budweiser Select planning sessions to provide his unique spin, thoughts and insights on various brand programs.”

The release added: “Jay-Z also will be involved in providing direction on other upcoming Budweiser Select television ads, radio spots, print campaigns and several high-profile events.”

A-B’s VP-brand management, Marlene Coulis, was unavailable to immediately answer questions about the extent of Jay-Z’s role on the brand.

In sales slump
But clearly, the No. 1 brewer is hoping the rapper can restore momentum for the upscale light-beer brand, which has seen sales slump following an $84 million launch in 2005 that turned the brand into the No. 13 beer brand in the U.S.

In a TV spot airing during tonight’s baseball playoff game on Fox, Bud Select product placements will be incorporated into scenes from a video from Jay-Z’s upcoming album, “Kingdom Come,” which is scheduled for release Nov. 21. The spot, by Cannonball, St. Louis, also features car-racing stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.

It’s not known whether Jay-Z -- a onetime pitchman for Heineken -- will supplement or supplant A-B’s incoming CEO, August Busch IV, as the brand’s primary spokesman. It was also unclear whether the rapper intends to drop references to Bud Select into song lyrics, as other hip-hop artists have done with brands such as Courvoisier, Hennessey, Cristal and Don Perignon.

According to San Francisco consulting firm Agenda, which tracks brand mentions in song lyrics for its annual “American Brandstand” survey, no beer brands were mentioned in hip-hop lyrics during 2005, although import brand Corona did land three mentions during 2004.


> We have always been taught to think outside the box. A-B is doing just that. Jay-Z is a brand on himself. Let him help A-B with his Midas touch and the results will tell us whether it was a worthwhile venture. — LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

> Bud is an old brand with an old taste. this is like the old guy in the club trying to act young. too late. Bud’s always been the “grown up, all-american guy” beer. now it wants to be in the hood where outcasts grow up to make good on the american dream? sure, pass me one, i’ll buy this. and so will every other brother/sister. because Auggie has always been soooo down. lookit, you drink beer you like, you vibe with liquor brands that vibe with you. A-B needs to figure out how to vibe with the drinkers they’ve always cared about--mainstream “all-american” types, not the ones whose money they want just because their core audience ain’t checkin’ for their heavy-ass dry tasting beer like it’s 1985 anymore. i like Jay, he’s smart. but given this industry’s wonderful embrace of ethnic talent and perspectives, the chances they’ll listen to anything dude has to say other than, “i’ll do a free show for A-B/mention you on Kingdom Come” is slim and none. — chicago, IL

> Rap isn’t music, it’s just a huge corporate marketing ploy, and this is only another example of that. Just give me a good microbrew and call it a day! — Seattle, WA

> It’s crazy how far Jay-Z has expanded on hip hop music. He’s paving the way for all musicians and artists to break out of their small box mindset. — Kansas City, MO

> This is complete garbage. I will now tell everyone I know about this sad display of humanity. — PORTLAND, OR

Essay 1231

Getting Brownie Points With a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• A committee at Brown University recommended the institution atone for its 18th-century ties to slavery by creating a center for study of slavery and boosting recruitment efforts for minority students. The report stated, “We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges. … In the present instance this means acknowledging and taking responsibility for Brown’s part in grievous crimes.” The university should also consider changing its name from Brown to Black. (Click on the essay title for more details.)

• A recent report indicated that immigrants living in the U.S. will send $45 billion to family members in Latin America this year, up from $2 billion in 1980. Actually, folks are probably only sending about $5 billion, with $40 billion added through Western Union fees.

Essay 1230

From The Chicago Tribune…


Mayberry I.N.S.

Back in August, the mayor of Arcadia, Wis., proposed a local crackdown on illegal immigrants. “They are not welcome here!” Mayor John Kimmel wrote in a column in the hometown newspaper. He said he’d create a task force to report undocumented workers and would levy fines against landlords who rent to illegal immigrants. English should be the official language of Arcadia, he said.

Within weeks he’d changed his mind. His plan divided residents, angered local businesses and raised the specter of a lawsuit by the ACLU. Saying he found the reaction “surprising and humbling,” Kimmel withdrew his proposal.

We bring this up because the Village of Carpentersville has stepped on the same hornet’s nest. Two trustees have drafted an ordinance that sounds a great deal like Kimmel’s plan. They were going to introduce it Oct. 3, but more than 3,000 people showed up for a meeting in a room that holds 212. The meeting was postponed.

The fallout in Carpentersville has been a lot like that in Arcadia. Some residents say the ordinance is a slap in the face to Hispanics, who make up about 40 percent of the village’s 37,000 population. Others wonder aloud how many of their neighbors are here illegally; they complain that immigrants are straining village services and not paying their share of taxes. Businesses say that if it weren’t for immigrants, they’d have to close for lack of employees or customers. And the village’s insurer has warned that the ordinance would invite a lawsuit.

Trustee Paul Humpfer says he co-wrote the ordinance because federal agencies charged with enforcing immigration laws “haven’t done a very good job.” He’ll get no argument about that here. Dozens of communities across the country, frustrated by the broken immigration system and Congress’ failure to fix it, have tried to take matters into their own hands. But that’s a mistake. It costs a lot of money to try to do the federal government’s job for it, especially if you trash your local economy in the process. Asking landlords to enforce immigration laws makes about as much sense as requiring grocers to demand a green card before selling a gallon of milk. And if one town applies immigration laws scrupulously and the town next door doesn’t, guess which town gets the labor shortage?

We haven’t quite despaired of the idea that Congress will enact meaningful reforms. In the meantime, individual towns should resist the urge to set up municipal versions of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service. The federal government took over the regulation of immigration more than a century ago precisely because the states were setting up a quilt of rules. The feds are having a hard time getting it right, but the patchwork approach doesn’t help.

Essay 1229

The story below appeared at AdAge.com — a MultiCultClassics response immediately follows…


The Flavor of Stepin Fetchit

VH1’s Ratings Sleeper is a Cable Minstrel Show

By Bob Garfield

Poor Bill Cosby.

He didn’t like HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, because he thought it was a stereotype engine, allowing mostly white viewers to gawk at one raunchy ghetto “comic” after another.

“These people come out and they just start to yell at the audience and from that point on they begin to describe what orifices you’re going to put your extension in,” Cosby once complained. “There’s got to be more.”

Oh, there’s more. Now there’s The Flavor of Love.

This would be the VH1 “reality” show starring rapper Flavor Flav -- the clownish, alarm-clock-necklace guy from Public Enemy -- sorting through various sluts and hos in search of a mate. It’s so over-the-top appalling that you can’t take your eyes off of it. Which, of course, is the point.

Congratulations to VH1, Sunsilk hair care products and all the other advertisers. Just when you thought black culture couldn’t be degraded and exploited any more comes this, the mutha lode. At least Stepin Fetchit blazed a trail for black film actors. All Flavor Flav is blazing a trail for is Viacom’s trip to the bank.


When did Bob Garfield decide he was Stanley Crouch?

One day he sees racist overtones in an Oreos promotion starring American Idol’s Randy Jackson. Now he’s taking on Flavor Flav, peppering his viewpoint with hos, mutha and Stepin Fetchit — references he probably collected via Google and Wikipedia.

Thank you, Bob, for sharing your insightful and informed cultural perspectives with the masses.

Although you really should stick to critiquing the latest Glade Plug-Ins campaign.

Essay 1228

Sniping with a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Wesley Snipes is facing an arrest warrant for allegedly cheating the IRS out of $12 million. White men can’t jump, but Black men can’t get away with ripping off the IRS.

• Chris Rock’s mom charges she faced racial discrimination at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in South Carolina. Mrs. Rock and her daughter — the only Blacks in the restaurant at the time of the incident — sat for over half an hour, being completely ignored by the waitresses. A Cracker Barrel spokeswoman said the company doesn’t “tolerate any form of discrimination.” Yeah, right. Maybe it’s just that Everybody Hates Chris’ mom, too.

• Somebody hates Hispanic voters in California. Hispanic residents in Orange County received a letter warning it was illegal for immigrants to vote, and they could face jail or deportation if they showed up at the polls in November. Hey, let’s hold a Hispanic voters drive at the local Cracker Barrel.

• Rapper Fabolous was shot in the thigh, and later arrested for carrying unlicensed firearms. The artist and his posse were attacked after leaving a Manhattan nightclub and jumped in a car to flee. Police stopped the vehicle for running a red light, and found the guns while searching the ride. “He’s been shot,” said the rapper’s lawyer. “I don’t know why he’s under arrest. Obviously he didn’t shoot anyone.” Um, nothing’s ever obvious when rappers pack heat.

• A Democratic leader in the House of Representatives apologized for saying a Black candidate for the Senate “slavishly” supported the Republican Party. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer made the comment about Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele. Hoyer has a history of dumb remarks, having once referred to Steele as a “token” candidate. Hoyer issued a statement to say, “I should not have used those words.” He probably minimally wanted to use the N-word.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Essay 1227

Does anyone else see hypocrisy in the Ad Council’s long-running UNCF campaign and the ad industry’s long-running inability to promote Black minds?

Essay 1226

One more comment responding to the AdAge perspective presented in Essay 1205…

> Hold on. How does recruiting and hiring minorities in itself make an agency “edgy”? Recruiting and hiring creative people with amazing portfolios who can display a versatile range of skills makes an agency edgy. It’s just that agencies and recruiters could do a much better job of reaching out to a wider variety of talent, i.e. thinking beyond just the portfolio schools and more well-known collegiate programs like U. of Texas. Additionally, colleges need to do a better job of getting with the times and bringing in real-world talent from agencies as guest instructors -- not just using professors who used to work in an agency 20 years ago shoveling history about Burnett and Bernbach. How about having students work on campaigns for real (or fake) clients so they can build up their books when they go out into the real world for a job? There are some great ideas here and I completely agree that the ball is in the agency/recruiter/university’s court for finding, nurturing and hiring talent. However, excuse me for saying something that may or may not be considered politically incorrect, but I feel obligated to extend myself as much as possible to seek out and hire TALENT first and foremost -- regardless of a person’s skin color. And guess what? I’ve still got myself quite the diverse agency anyway. — Boca Raton, FL

Essay 1225

Belated Hispanic Heritage Month ads…

ExxonMobil presents this peculiar ad to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. What’s with the black light bulb?

IBM celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month with identical ads. Guess they think all minority holidays look the same.