Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why We Need Diversity in the Ad Industry

Back when I was under the delusion of being a creative, I sat in my portfolio class and watched a reel of different agencies' work. I noticed a great many things that were vaguely racist, sexist, and/or homophobic, but I noticed that nobody else in the room was exhibiting any kind of discomfort with these things. Did I mention that I was the only black person in the class? Now I don't doubt that some young creative thought they were being "hip and edgy" with this ad, but there are just so many things wrong with it. Did they not think that the KKK might not be the best organization to associate the brand with? Did they want to make the black guy "extra" black by putting an afro on him? Seriously, nobody black or otherwise has worn an afro since 1979 without irony. The sad thing is that this piece literally went through dozens of people before it made its way to print, without one of them taking the time to step back and really think about what they were doing. How many black people were involved in the creative process of this? I'm taking bets. I'd be willing to bet that it's at or less than the number that sat in my Portfolio 1 Class at Syracuse University.

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