Diversity is now cool

22800371_3aa694cc98 What does diversity mean to you personally and professionally?

The use of the term diversity may encompass differences in racial or ethnic classifications, age, gender, religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, behavior, attractiveness, place of origin, cultural values, or political view as well as other identifying features. Wikipedia

1.20.2009 changed everything

Take a look around…

How diverse is your public relations team/agency/PRSA chapter? Really, I want to know. Have we grown more diverse as an industry since this post about diversity was written by Richard Edelman in October 2005?

We have seen how msm and viral channels have embraced diversity as being cool. It is more apparent than ever that if you are in the communications industry, you need to widen your scope to “culturally relevant” messages. If you don’t, you will be left in the dust.

A “seismic change” has occurred. Last November, a PRSA podcast addressed diversity and the public relations effect stemming from the 2008 presidential election. PRSA moderator, Manny Ruiz is joined by panelists that include Howard University Professor Peggy Lewis and Balsera Communications Group Partner David Duckenfield. Lewis states, “…we cannot talk one America until we include all Americans.

How close are we to including all Americans in the messaging and counsel with our clients? President Obama revolutionized cultural outreach in his presidential campaign by spending an unprecedented $20M on Hispanic messaging! Social media has blasted to shreds the desire for mass media messaging, but aren’t we still hanging on to mass messaging? Most messages I see or take in are not “culturally relevant.” Maybe that should be a check box in the next campaign you craft. Actually, maybe that is our problem…it is only a checkbox.

What happens if this presidency is not successful? (Please note, this is not a political question and not meant to attack the new President before his first full day in office is even finished.) Will racial barriers by then be completely broken down or will new barriers take place?

I realize this post has more questions than chewed-on thought, but I am really struggling with the new coolness factor of diversity. I am Hispanic. I am a female. All of you know, I have some “diverse” thoughts… Even though I have been raised in a pro-diversity in business culture, I still feel the barriers while not visible are still a shadow haunting the multi-cultural melting pot of America. President Obama is being raised on a pedastool. He is referred to as “Superman” in the PRSA podcast referenced above! It is a long way to fall when being up so high. Will diversity strides fall if he does? I hope not. (There you go…I am carrying the “hope” message too.)

(Photo courtesy Untitled blue.)

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  • http://www.sherrycarrdeer.blogspot.com Sherry

    This is definitely one to ponder. How do you even know when a group/industry is diverse “enough”?
    Because of the places I’ve worked, I’ve been surrounded by ethnic diversity (I’m often one of the few white folk in a room), so I am sometimes surprised when people don’t consider the tone of a message or the importance of visual representation of race in photos (no, that child doesn’t look like he “could be” a child of Latino origin in South Texas).
    As long as we’re targeting our messages to specific groups, diversity will always exist, because the act of targeting to one group (the Millenials who get messages through text) excludes another group (Boomers who get the same message through email). The act of excluding one group by message delivery in effect creates two diverse groups.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/vargasl/ Lauren Vargas

    Too true, but are the messages truly targeted and culturally relevant? I don’t doubt yours are, but I do not think it is the same for majority. I could be looking at the glass half-empty though.