‘Not another diversity blog – By @rachelm194
By Rachel Morris
Not another diversity blog
The Advertising industry scares me now. I came thinking that I would be surrounded by ‘my’ people. I was going to finally be a part of a family but I couldn’t feel further from that. Feeling left out is not something I want to encounter anymore nor is it something I’ve ever wanted to feel in the first place, but hey ho you can’t always get what you want. If anything, I’ve learned that those social cliques happen even when you’re past high school.
This feeling has led me to ask myself this weekend – does the industry truly want diversity? Do those prominent individuals speaking out speak for everyone? What does that entail? What am I getting myself into? Colour, thought, mind, sex. Why? Is everyone who is ‘diverse’ that goes into the industry first going to have a feeling of not belonging? That is a lonely place to be. I mean, until it becomes an issue of the past but for us rookies, is it going to be tough trying to pave the way to acceptance? What if we shouldn’t pave the way?
I am a 23-year-old female, I have dual nationality (American & British). I am mixed raced (Black African American & White British) though, with my skin colour, you’d never believe me. I used to be called snow white or Casper – it was a mixed bag. And I’m also NOT from London. I have been living in a little place called Hindley between Wigan and Bolton, a 20-minute drive away from Manchester. I also have dyslexia, dyspraxia & a touch of ADHD. So, you could say I am literally ticking all the boxes. And I know I’m certainly not the only one.
I also know that people have an issue with my honesty, it makes them feel uncomfortable. Another reason people take issue with not only my honesty but honesty, in general, is because it’s not very ‘British’. But F that British trait. At some point, we’ve got to wake up and speak. We aren’t children and there is a lot going on.
The industry is asking for honesty, they believe that the reason advertising isn’t working is because it is a mainly a white rich male predominancy trying to sell to a world that is, well, anything but.
But why should we put ourselves up for the shit just to enable an agency to be a ‘diverse’ agency? Those people you say are diverse don’t want to be there just to tick a box so that their agency can say they offer ‘diverse thinking’. If we aren’t able to actually have a voice, what’s the point? And why should we go somewhere we aren’t truly wanted by all? Why should we subject ourselves to our colleagues not valuing our voices? Or our opinions of why an ad they don’t like works for a certain audience. Or our work. Or thinking less of us because the only silver spoon we may have is one out of a pack of 3 for £3 from Asda?
Last year SCA 2.0 awarded me a scholarship – it’s the only reason I could attend. And I’ve still had to take a 10k loan out just to live, on top of a 3-year degree. Debt central for my foreseeable future & I’ve not even truly began my life. Which is why it makes me so angry to find out that people in the industry have an opinion on the students at SCA. I’m not deluded. I know there is probably a reason for this judgment. But to grab that brush and paint us all with it pisses me off. Because like all places, of course, you may have a few arseholes but they aren’t representing us all. Come to the school and meet us or let us come to you. Talk to me, you’ll see.
Where are the advertising agencies reaching out of their London bubble and branching out in other cheaper parts of the country? (not just McCann & TBWA) It makes no sense to carry judgment on a school where we are being taught to be the best we can be, working hard and trying to offer you something different when you’re not doing anything to ensure more diverse people get in it. Advertising controls the world for god sake.
Where’s the rallying to create more accessible schools that offer an alternative way of teaching? Why has it taken this long to get people to speak up? Why are there still bigwig advertising agencies with a 45% pay gap? Why when you look at those agencies with equal amounts of women are they almost always in the accounts area? And then ask yourself again, what are you doing to change the industry you say needs a change?
You may have noticed a lot of questions in this scab. They aren’t rhetorical.