The theme for Blog Action Day 2015 is Raise Your Voice.
If you raise your voice for the alleged plight of White women in the advertising industry, expect to receive respect, reverence, rewards, kisses, kudos, compliments, applause, accolades, acclaim, praise, prestige and payouts—even if you’re a pathetic and patronizing douchebag.
If you raise your voice for the acknowledged plight of Black people in the advertising industry, expect to be blacklisted, blackballed, black eyed and blacked out—unless you’re a White, wonderful, wise, witty, worldly douchebag. Or a Chief Diversity Officer.
It’s time to raise your voice over such disparities in raising one’s voice on Madison Avenue.
Helllll no I'm not raising my voice.
I'm brave, but I'm not stupid. Nobody has my back, because there's nobody of any color in any kind of meaningful position at the major ad agencies to lean on.
I've learned the hard way that it's OK to talk up about gender inequalities in advertising in 2015, and you'll get praised and supported and promoted. But the minute you speak up or even whisper about racial diversity, duck and cover. The pushback is OFF. THE. CHARTS.
"Our agency hires the best people for the job, period."
"I'm offended you think we should use something other than talent to judge who we hire."
"We're not here to lower our standards, we're here to do the creative work."
How are you supposed to 'raise your voice' with agencies, plural, that have that kind of attitude as a starting point? Speaking up to say, hey, maybe you should open the hiring pool to people other than your friends and buddies gets you tagged as having a chip on your shoulder.
Mentioning it might be wise to have, let's say, at least one black person at the table when working on an account targeting the African-American community gets you tagged as having a chip on your shoulder.
Speaking up to ask why we consistently cast only mixed-race talent, the lighter the skin the better, gets you tagged as not being a team player.
There's no winning in an industry that's only just now starting to talk about gender, and has kept race on the backburner since that guy got bounced out of the agency in the sixties and shipped away as punishment.
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