Tag Archives: discrimination

Culturally Clueless FAQs—Number 3

by Guest Contributor Highjive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

    Change has come to America. But it took a detour around Madison Avenue. While citizens have adopted phrases like “post-racial,” the advertising industry operates in a pre-Civil Rights time warp. Whenever the topics of diversity and inclusion appear, ad executives consistently display stunning ignorance. MultiCultClassics has sought to address the issues in the past. However, the matters have evolved along with society, despite Madison Avenue’s retarded development. As a public service, [The MultiCultClassics] blog will answer a series of Frequently Asked Questions to enlighten the asses… er, masses.

Question: Doesn’t President Barack Obama prove we don’t have to pursue this diversity stuff anymore?

Answer: Why do certain individuals view President Barack Obama as some form of reparations—as if his election pays off the bar tab of bias Madison Avenue has amassed over the years?

President Obama symbolizes a major milestone in racial progress. Madison Avenue represents a serious setback in cultural evolution.

President Obama assembles a staff reflecting the vibrant variety of brilliance in America. Madison Avenue collects excuses like, “We can’t find qualified minority candidates.”

President Obama signs his first bill in support of equal pay. Madison Avenue signs diversity pacts and is exposed for paying Blacks 20 percent less than Whites.

President Obama proves change is possible. Madison Avenue shows resistance to change is possible.

By all means, let’s hold up President Obama as the one to revere. But let’s also recognize Madison Avenue as the one to reform.

Culturally Clueless FAQs—Number 2

by Guest Contributor Highjive, originally published at MultiCultClassics


    Change has come to America. But it took a detour around Madison Avenue. While citizens have adopted phrases like “post-racial,” the advertising industry operates in a pre-Civil Rights time warp. Whenever the topics of diversity and inclusion appear, ad executives consistently display stunning ignorance. MultiCultClassics has sought to address the issues in the past. However, the matters have evolved along with society, despite Madison Avenue’s retarded development. As a public service, [The MultiCultClassics] blog will answer a series of Frequently Asked Questions to enlighten the asses… er, masses.

Question: Given the tanking economy and widespread advertising agency layoffs, isn’t this the absolute worst possible time imaginable to wage a diversity war?

Answer: Oh, there are worse timings one could imagine. Like during a supernova, or at the moment of Armageddon. Try to keep matters in perspective. As noted on numerous posts, the battle first erupted in the 1930s. Madison Avenue has seen lots of catastrophic occurrences over that period. We shouldn’t let the probability of a total economic collapse prevent progress.

Besides, it’s actually easier to ignore the issues in good times. When jobs are plentiful and the corporate coffers overflow, advertising executives feel less obligated to make diversity a priority. But when your shop is teetering on financial ruin, well, the prospect of Cyrus Mehri seizing gobs of cash certainly grabs your attention.

Other considerations loom large too. The ad business is experiencing seismic shifts right now. The old ways are being abandoned. The old hierarchies are being redrafted. The old business models are being shattered. The grizzled cynics proclaim, “The ad biz as we know it is OVER.” The seasoned veterans are in the process of Reinventing Advertising. Everyone foresees a brand new day. Even the culturally clueless aren’t completely clueless.

So while Madison Avenue is undergoing an extreme makeover, why not fight to ensure diversity becomes a part of the foundation? This could be the absolute best possible time imaginable.

Culturally Clueless FAQs—Number 1

by Guest Contributor HighJive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

Change has come to America. But it took a detour around Madison Avenue. While citizens have adopted phrases like “post-racial,” the advertising industry operates in a pre-Civil Rights time warp. Whenever the topics of diversity and inclusion appear, ad executives consistently display stunning ignorance. MultiCultClassics has sought to address the issues in the past. However, the matters have evolved along with society, despite Madison Avenue’s retarded development. As a public service, this blog will answer a series of Frequently Asked Questions to enlighten the asses… er, masses.

Question: Why do all the diversity discussions focus on Blacks—what about Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, People With Disabilities, Gays, Lesbians, Women, Veterans, Older Employees, Pit Bull Lovers, Mutants and The Rest Of Us?

Answer: Get in line. Unfortunately, the deeper you dig into Madison Avenue’s corporate closet, the more skeletons you’ll find. Recent years have seen work and deeds demeaning everyone listed above, including a Jewish creative director allegedly sexually harassed by a neo-Japanese warlord. Continue reading

Asian American Employees Underreport Discrimination

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

My fellow Asian Americans, stand up for yourselves in the workplace! According to a new report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Asian American employees are underrepresented in the senior ranks of federal agencies, and likely are underreporting instances of discrimination on the job: Asian-American employees underreport discrimination, report finds.

The report, which was released earlier this month, says that Asian Americans face a number of misperceptions and stereotypes, factors that have become “the framework of barriers establishing glass or bamboo ceilings which present [Asian American and Pacific Islanders] from moving into the upper tiers of an organization.”

A 2005 Gallup poll found that 31 percent of Asian respondents said they had experienced discriminatory or unfair treatment on the job. But the EEOC noted in its report that enforcement actions reveal that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders file only 3.26 percent of discrimination.

Say what now? We already have enough problems with people thinking we as Asian are passive, good little citizens who do what we’re told. It does us no good to let people walk all over us. It’s one thing to be discriminated against — it’s another thing entirely to stay quiet about it. And we wonder why we’re so conspicuously absent from executive and senior management levels…

Blog Scandal in San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Some intriguing news out of the San Francisco public defender’s office… A MySpace blog entry written by former intern Carrie Wiplinger has prompted the superior court and Public Defender Jeff Adachi to investigate whether a lawyer in Adachi’s office was once told to keep Asians off a jury: Intern Blog Alleges Juror Racial Bias.

In the blog entry, posted September 3, Wipplinger wrote about a case involving a drunken man whom authorities found receiving oral sex in a car:

“I got to listen in on a conference regarding jury selection,” she wrote. “My bosses gave the following advice to the lawyer …don’t pick any Asian jurors, because (and I quote): ‘Asians don’t drink, they love Jesus, and they’re creeped out by everything.‘”

She wrote that the lawyer followed that advice, and the client was acquitted. But the attorneys who worked her deny making such a comment, and say Wipplinger got several other facts wrong: the jury hung and the defendant was not acquitted; there was no testimony or evidence that the man was drunk; and there were at least one or two people of Asian descent on the jury.

Adachi said the deputy public defender assigned to the case, Lateef Gray, and his supervisor, Kwixuan Maloof, both denied that they or anyone else made the statement about Asians. Well, of course they denied it. The question is whether or not the blog’s claims, even if she got some of the facts wrong, is based on something that actually happened, or if she just made the whole thing up.

One thing is probably for sure. Everyone involved, including the intern, is not happy that this damn MySpace blog has suddenly received so much attention. And if what she says happened is indeed true, and the lawyer did give this advice, well… that’s racist!

Throw Momma Up For Ridicule: A Look At “Momma’s Boys”

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

So, what to do about Khalood Bojanowski? If you’re NBC, apparently, you hope to ride her “coattails” all the way to the ratings.

Previously, on “Momma’s Boys”: “Mrs. B,” who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq as a child, became the center of attention of the network’s latest trainwreck reality show after declaring that she didn’t want her good Catholic son, Jojo, dating any of the following:

* Black women
* Jewish women
* Muslim women
* Asian women
* “Fat” women
* “Short” women
* Women from “divorced families”

Is Khalood crazy? Probably not. Was she an all-too-willing promotional hook for executive producer Ryan Seacrest and his staff? Quite possibly. Continue reading

Law of the Land: ABC’s Homeland Security Reality Show Isn’t Very Real

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

Arnold Shapiro, the executive producer of ABC’s Homeland Security USA, states in a Washington Post article that, “It [the show] doesn’t have a political point of view.” The show aims to depict the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security as they do their jobs at the airport, the border, and/or the post office.

I didn’t believe Mr. Shapiro when I read the article, and I don’t believe him after watching the show. Terms like “terrorist” and “illegal” (in reference to immigrants) were tossed around all over the place: these terms are laden with racist and political overtones, especially in the border and airport security contexts of the program.

My confirmation that the show had a political bent was when a group of young men and one woman were stopped at the U.S.-Canada border. The border patrol stated that the driver was a Canadian citizen, but that his parents were Iranian citizens. It was stated as if it were proof of his alleged guilt: the officer mentioned his parents’ citizenships along with his possession of a fake ID and his untruthful answers to officers’ questions about his travel itinerary. Last time I checked, citizenship (one’s own or that of one’s family/acquaintances) wasn’t evidence of wrongdoing. But this show (and its politics) makes it automatic evidence of guilt and in doing so promotes xenophobia.

The other pieces of evidence? All passengers were brown. Now, they didn’t come out and say it, but I knows racial profiling when I sees it. In fact, every suspect featured in this television show was brown: Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian… Even the innocent people. Mr. Shapiro must be unaware of the politics (and maaaaaajor racism) behind racial profiling.

I don’t have an issue with aiming to promote and appreciate the work that the men and women of the DHS have to do. I appreciate and understand that what they do to protect this country is difficult, dangerous, and sometimes horrific.

I have an issue with the fact that the other side isn’t presented or addressed: the fact that some officers commit human and civil rights violations when dealing with both citizens and non-citizens (immigrants, tourists, etc.); the trauma that innocent (and even the non-innocent) face during such violations; and the fact that racial profiling and xenophobia are terrible and unfair realities (if not policy) in DHS operations.

Last week’s “Flying While Muslim” (and brown) incident is proof that our security systems aren’t 100% efficient. No system is. But to attempt to lionize the DHS–through highlighting all the hard and thankless work that the men and women “on the ground” do–is misleading. And not-so-sneakily political.

(Photo Credit: ABC)

On Being American and African Black

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

The first time I saw “Roots” I was in puberty, but since my birth the groundbreaking miniseries has been a running joke among my maternal relatives.

My mother is a black American, raised Baptist in Tennessee. My father is a Muslim from Nigeria. More specifically, for those in the know, he’s Yoruba.

When I was a baby my American relatives, all natives of small-town Tennessee and wholly unfamiliar with Africans, took to holding me up in the air and anointing me Kunta Kinte, like the character in “Roots.” Although the gesture annoyed my mother to no end, her family members found it hilarious.

Africans, you see, are hilarious. If there is one stereotype about Africans that has lingered throughout my life it is this. Perhaps because of this stereotype, before my birth my maternal grandmother envisioned that I would look less like a baby and more like an offensive cartoon character. She warned my mother to expect me to have coal black skin and bright red lips like Little Sambo. In expressing her fears, my grandmother ignored the reality of my father, who is dark-skinned but not especially so. In fact, he is a shade or two lighter than my mother is. Because Africans are an “exotic other,” however, my grandmother adopted a white supremacist gaze in connection to my father.

She’s far from the only black American to adopt that stance in relation to Africans. In Chicago, where my parents met and lived, my mother recalled being approached by a black woman curious to know if I cried in “African.” Now, I was born in the late1970s, before Akon dominated music charts or Hakeem Olajuwon (a fellow Yoruba) dominated basketball courts. Still, it’s somewhat shocking to note that some of the African Americans in my midst then viewed me as an entirely different entity from themselves. Continue reading