Tag Archives: Madison Avenue

Culturally Clueless FAQs—Number 4

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: Isn’t Cyrus Mehri just another opportunistic bottom feeder in the Jesse Jackson / Al Sharpton tradition?

Answer: It’s always interesting—yet never surprising—to see individuals who protest injustices branded as bottom feeders. Then again, facing off with Madison Avenue on these issues does require lowering yourself to nasty depths.

Regardless, it’s important to recognize key differences between Mehri and Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton.

Despite occasional forays into advertising industry affairs, Jackson and Sharpton are ultra-outsiders. (Although rumors claim Black-owned agency executives told Jackson to back off when he offered to wage battles in the past.) While the two clearly understand things like exclusion and discrimination, they’re corporately clueless, at least when it comes to the ad agency business. In contrast, Mehri has done his homework. The Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc. report is nearly flawless in its examination of the inner dealings on Madison Avenue. The AAF and 4A’s couldn’t have produced a more factual, accurate document.

Additionally, the tactics employed by Jackson and Sharpton have possibly lost effectiveness over the years. One could argue that Jackson especially often resorted to intimidation that played on White guilt. Mehri, on the other hand, seeks to intimidate by proving Whites are guilty.

Advantage Mehri.

As for being opportunistic, well, let’s really consider the term. Remember, this battle has been plodding along since the 1930s. Madison Avenue has had plenty of opportunities to address matters for about 80 years. It’s not as if Mehri seized upon the moment, catching people unaware. The truth is, industry leaders have been opportunistic by perpetuating the problems via apathy and worse. Maybe we should all see this as an opportunity to create positive change.

If Mehri manages to take this drama to a courtroom, we can’t wait to learn whom Madison Avenue will call upon to defend. Even Denny Crane would take a pass on it.

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

Denial and Delusion – Why Public Conversations About Race Fail Before They Begin

by Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

I am done, done, done.

I intended to work on my follow up to Internalizing Stereotypes.

Key word: intended.

However, the sequel is not happening this week.

The sequel is not happening because my mind is cluttered with two articles that came to my attention in the last half of the week.

The first was a blog post on GameDaily Biz, a site and blog dedicated to the video game industry housed on Game Daily. I peruse GameDaily Biz every few days to find news and trends to discuss in the online gaming magazine Cerise. In addition to writing first person and opinion pieces about gaming, I also write their Gaming in the Media column. So, when I came across a “Your Turn” first person post on GameDaily Biz by Chris Mottes, CEO of Deadline Games, I was intrigued to see what he had to say.

Particularly because the post was titled, “That’s Racist! The Unjust Crusade Against Video Games.”

The article begins:

Members of the media often attack video games for being racist, sexist, mean-spirited, callous, unpleasant, insensitive, or just generally nasty. As a developer, I find most of these claims not only a touch insulting but also extremely tenuous, and in the majority of cases unfounded.

Fascinating. The majority of these cases are unfounded? As a black, female console gamer, I can definitively say that many of the video games I play (and enjoy) can be considered both sexist and racist. Sexism is rampant, particularly when you consider character design, costuming, and forced gender roles in play. Most female characters are designed for maximum sex appeal, relegated to damsel in distress roles, or physically limited and/or forced to contribute to the game in a limited capacity. Major female characters in RPGs tend to be healers or magic-users, normally devastated in battle by a few hits from a stronger male character. While there are a few standout exceptions – Samus from Metroid, Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark, and the oft-debated Lara Croft – most women in video games are side characters.

To illustrate the issue of racism, let’s play a little game. Off the top of your head, name 5 black video game characters. Now, exclude any characters that were not main characters. Now exclude any that appear in a sports game or hip-hop based game. Finally, exclude any characters that embody stereotypical representations of African Americans. (Yes, that means excluding CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.) How many are left in your list?

Or, let’s look at Asian Americans in video games. Again, off the top of your head, name five Asian video game characters – you can use both side characters and main characters. (For this one, we will exclude RPGs from the discussion since character ethnicity a murky subject). Now exclude fighting games. How many are left on your list?

Name five Latino game characters. Can you? I cannot – I have a vague memory of heavy accents in certain video games, but I am not able to bring up one latino character that wasn’t in a historical game like Age of Empires (which technically means I remember playing the game as an Incan and as a Spaniard). For those who can, what stands out about these characters? Continue reading