Lack of Race Talk Leaves Blacks Out

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By Charlotte Young

From the White House to large private corporations, it seems that nobody wants to talk about race anymore.

Companies no longer find it important to address diversity when people of all races eat together, hang together, party together and can identify with the same message.

But Huffington Post reports that this disassociation from race has left black advertising agencies and media outlets in peril. They’ve almost been kicked to the curb or become so diversified that they are no longer specifically black. Take black radio for example, which has become the very popular and race-ambiguous urban radio.

But while race is proudly pushed to the side to the world, panelists at the 40th Annual Rainbow Rush Coalition proved that behind the scenes, racism is still up to its old tricks.

Panelist Sherman Kizart, managing director of Kizart Media Partners, recalled an email he received two years ago from BMW/Mini Cooper’s advertising agency. In its discussion on how to spend the media budget, it read in bold letters at the bottom, “No African American, No Urban to be Included.” Kizart confronted the BMW/Mini Cooper representatives and re-negotiated their approach. The following year Black/urban advertising buys shot up 49 percent. But the battle he says, is far from over.

There’s the “other” race option on Census that so many people have picked. Marketing expert Carol H. Williams reveals it translates to “give this money to somebody other than black.” And most importantly, panelist Munson Steed reminds that there’s still job hiring discrimination.

The group of panelists revealed that they have teamed up for the express purpose to approach the CEOs of major corporations that have shown a disinterest in hiring black youth or invest in black agencies. The panel organizer, Glenda Gill, promises that they will fight for equity and will no longer settle for pennies.

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