The “New Diversity”​ in Advertising: Corporate Honesty or Hypocrisy??

By Jorge Parra Photography and AtHome Production: Hybrid Solutions for the Production of Your Commercial Photography and Video Projects in Times of Quarantine and Isolation

It is obvious to even the blindfolded and radicals that we are living in weird times, hopefully, time for changes, good ones, time for disruption in many aspects of our personal and professional life, disruption in social and community living, and all of this seems to be bringing -in a very special way- a GRAND remark from the Advertising industry, to re-balance the weight in favor of way more and more print and TV Ads involving people of color and people of Asian ethnicities like it has NEVER seen before in the United States.

Call it white supremacy or any way you may want to bring this to the conversation, the fact of the matter is that a society that has historically had political and financial power concentrated among the white population, the same society whose Supreme Court designated, at some point back in history, that blacks were not actually human beings, have come to believe they were -and they still are- the ones to naturally lead the country, set the rules of the game and leave behind those who are not like them. This is a fact that no one can ever deny.

Several ultra-abusive situations that now come to light, the old-style lynching of African Americans, Browns, Latinos, and Asians, and please note, this has been happening month after month, year after year, decade after decade, both in the hands of police officers and even radical citizens, only that now, it is more obvious, it is visible, thanks to technology, body cameras, store and street CC systems, smartphone videos, basically, the “citizen journalist” in action, is showing the horrible side of white supremacy, with the “natural”, intrinsic right to remove and dispose of people who are less than them and therefore, deserve less than them, and death could easily be the price to pay for not being white.

Then, after all these current executions, lynchings and the BLM movement and the media and everyone starts talking about the major dysfunctionality of the society, all of a sudden, terms like inclusion, diversity, equality, which have been part of the social movements to showcase how unfair it is for non-whites and how hard it’s been for them to try to live a “normal” life in this uneven society, then we found ourselves with an EXPLOSION of advertising, mostly from the largest corporations, be it entertainment, ( Sony, Disney, etc) or Social Media channels ( Facebook, Google), manufacturing ( Nike, etc) , Food and Drinks, the auto industry as a whole, in short, EVERYONE, is publishing a never-ending array of Advertisements and TV commercials, all showing black and browns living their magnificent rich and high-end middle-class lifestyle, with their fancy cars and homes, doing exactly as whites do, in a world where everything is peace, love, good money everywhere and equality.

REALLY????

This has already reached a point of total ridiculous! I was talking with Arturo Smith, a great cinematographer, a lifetime friend of mine, one of the few black Directors of Photography in the US market and internationally, who has done amazing work in Hollywood, done several independent films, and has worked in Europe for over a decade, and when I told him of this very recent TV commercial of a black dude preparing himself a Margarita drink in his magnificent house, listening to pop music in the background, and Arturo could only explode in laughter, indicating that this is something he has NEVER seen in the history of movies or advertising. The situation is completely absurd, first because blacks do NOT drink tequila, and second, how come is this black dude not listening to Rap or Hip Hop or Soul or Jazz or Blues? but no, he is listening to white pop music…

C’mon guys!! How far unrealistic do you intend to go with this hypocrisy??? How far do you intend to go to convince the population that your company is “all-inclusive” and “diversity is at the core of your business”… all at the expense of creating some type of visual monsters that are TOTALLY

DIVORCED FROM REALITY??

It is just nuts to watch a commercial break in the TV transmissions, to see that 4 out of 6 commercials are shot with black or brown African Americans, in a sort of frenzy that will probably fade away without helping the advancement of society in any way.

I love the idea of an inclusive society. For someone who moved from South America to the US well over 15 years ago, the issue of racism and discrimination has touched some aspects of my life, but I have just let it go and keep moving on, not realizing that discrimination may have been playing a role all of these years. I do not get stuck with these thoughts, but I am positive Blacks and Asian Americans can not get rid of that smell in their everyday life.

It would be fantastic that Advertising Agencies and creatives play a SIGNIFICANT role in promoting a more inclusive, more tolerant, and welcoming society, with a MEANINGFUL MESSAGE, for those that do not enjoy the “privilege” of being born white ( what real difference does it make at all??) but going to extremes like we are seeing at this moment seems totally counterproductive.

About Author: Jorge Parra Photography and AtHome Production: Hybrid Solutions for the Production of Your Commercial Photography and Video Projects in Times of Quarantine and Isolation
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