Roger Sterling: You know BBDO hired a colored kid. What do you think of that? Don Draper: I think I'm glad I'm not that kid.
("Mad Men" episode 9)
The hit series Mad Men (which I've watched and enjoyed since the beginning) hasn't been shy about showing the racial and cultural bigotry that existed on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. From Jews Need Not Apply, to Asian caricatures, to the only blacks at Sterling Cooper never leaving the elevators.
But hey, that was then and this is now, right?
Not quite. Turns out the exchange above might as well be from today given the industry's still shameful numbers of black employees and managers. Fast forward to the Mad Men of 2008 and recent legal developments might prove the industry still isn't getting good grades at all. Like a diversity superhero, renowned civil rights attorney Cyrus Mehri is about to take on Madison Avenue and its hiring practices. Mehri says, "It's not a matter of forming affinity groups among the excluded. What needs fixing isn't the African-Americans; it's the white guy running the agency."
In 1990, I co-founded a magazine called URB (urb.com) in Los Angeles. URB captures an intimate view of progressive urban sounds and landscapes in print and online. Beyond my day job, I also explore the world of politics, race and culture, photography and media (new and old). pure/ROKER is designed to be a living and shared notebook of the most discussion worthy aspects. Enrichment is encouraged. Debate and disagreement unavoidable. And dissent welcomed. As always, please leave a comment if you're inspired, subscribe to my RSS or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.