Communications Industry: You Are Officially ON Notice

“Fellow” communicators, my patience is growing thin.

As 2009 was coming to a close, all of these “Industry Outlook in 2010” conferences and workshops began to spring up. I was very disappointed in much of the content being covered, but I didn’t know why. As if everything else was being covered, except for the elephant, gorilla, and the herd or hippos crowding the room.

Minorities in communications.

Why it seems like I am one of the only ones bringing this up is beyond me (maybe because I’m the only one realizing no one in this industry looks like me?) but something needs to change.

I know a couple of young minority professionals who are thinking of leaving Charlotte (yes, one of the fastest growing cities in the nation) because agencies and companies are lacking minority representation. I thought that it may be due to the lack of minority talent, but some told me that they knew other capable minority talent unable to land a full-time position.

Hmm, interesting.

And then to see all the noise being pushed around about “trends of 2010” and not one “thought leader” mentioned increased attention to minority talent, makes me wonder whether all this “diversity talk” was noise as well.

(See “hmm” statement above).

I’m not sure where everyone got the idea that this lip service will suffice, but it will not. And don’t worry, I am not going to go all “angry black man” on you (racial epithet…too soon? Deal with it).

Though the lack of minority representation in marketing, public relations and advertising troubles me, the solution seems to elude me.

Are the organizations PRSA, IABC, AMA, AAF and the like to blame? Sure, that can be seen as the easy way out (see Jack O’Dwyer, though he raises valid points), but surely with those organizations COMBINED representing a small percentage of practitioners – especially the active members-there must be a bigger problem, and a more intricate solution.

What about the colleges and universities teaching the programs? At the Elon University PRSSA Chapter, during my four years there I can probably recall about a dozen multicultural students, and even fewer guys (though the latter I didn’t care too much about). And Elon happens to have one of the best communications program in the country. Is that where the blame goes?

Or is it just us? Is it in our blood and in our natural tendencies to have a natural aversion to enjoy a career in communications?

The media?

Oprah?

Young Jeezy?

Perhaps it is all of the above, or that scary, unknown category of “other.” Whatever the problem and/or solution may be, I want people- as in these conference goers and “thought leaders” to stop worrying about promoting their reputations as gurus and start tackling actual issues.

I could be wrong. Maybe it’s my age talking. According to one professional a year or so ago, I may still be a “little green.” Whether they were talking about my professional experience or my affection for our environment- I may be on a different page than every one else.

If that’s the case, I’d rather be by myself growing leaves than reaching my prime and losing them like everyone else.

Which finally brings me (sorry, a little long-winded) to my point. You all are on notice. If I need to be “that guy” who brings up uncomfortable topics (Black people! Latinos! Girl Power! Gays! Bureaucracy!) then I guess that’s my place. Though I will always appreciate company 🙂

Looking forward to an exciting discussion.

Cheers,

Dwayne

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