…ah yes, time to tackle this wonderful issue.
It doesn’t seem to disappear, does it? Why isn’t there more minority representation in the communications industry?
Is there a glass ceiling?
Some kind of barrier to entry?
Not enough support?
The answer is: sort of.
Allow me to throw out my own humble and naive reasoning in the mix:
1. No Role Models
Give me the name of ONE successful and famous black communications practitioner- I’ll wait.
No? Exactly. Those minority practitioners who do succeed, fly under the societal radar. They are simply not visible. And for this group of people, who (in my experience) have to work twice as hard and be twice as smart to even get a chance- that lack of visibility is far from favorable.
2. NO SUPPORT FROM THE MINORITY COMMUNITY
No disrespect to the current powers-that-be (the older, white man), they are doing everything they can to lure talented minorities to the workplace. No doubt, Richard Edelman, Ketchum WorldWide, Burson-Marsteller are giants in the diversity conversation.
Ha, but why in the world are the black business voices no where to be found??
During my young tenure as a marketing professional, I have not heard a single comment of concern from minority business owners wondering where all the minority communicators are- not a single voice. I find that troubling. How dare we minority communicators be upset that there are so few of us, when we get little to NO support from our brothers and sisters in the industries we attempt to serve!
Help us find our voice in the communications industry, and we can help you find yours. In many cases, like this one here, silence speaks up much louder than the noise. Listen up.
3. The Communications Industry isn’t Presented as Sexy
When I was 14yrs old, the phrase “I want to be an Ad Guy when I grow up” was eons from my consideration set. It wasn’t until three years later when I found that my appreciation for writing, communicating and “strategery” could be best utilized in marketing.
Thankfully the classes and movies of the job being portrayed as a thankless, burdensome, hated, biased, and deceiving profession didn’t phase me.
Sheeesh! The image of the communications industry is not going to attract groups of people that have faced levels of scrutiny and animosity in their everyday life. “Overcoming racism and prejudice is one thing,” a young communicator may say, “but now I have to defend my profession?” That’s reality, folks.
Obviously, this is an issue very dear to my heart. I worked too damn hard to get where I am right now, and refuse to believe that the three reasons I listed above are going to stop me from getting to where I want to be in the industry I love being in.
Please, tell EVERYONE you know about this post…show them that this problem NEEDS to be addressed. Thankfully some work is being done. The group Black Creatives has been started to offset this issue. Adage and Richard Edelman continually post articles about the lack of minority talent.
But they need our help. Cheers.