The invisible manEditorial, Top Highlights Thursday, October 27th, 2016
First let me state that I think Equality California does great work. However, I have been stunned by the recent Go Vote or Why Vote ads the organization has been running over recent weeks. While the ads show diversity including transgender, deaf, Latino, lesbian and gay people of most ethnicities, I have not seen one ad with a clearly African American male.
Of course, the guy at the end of the ad is ambiguously African American but the point is that I don’t see myself when I look at him. I want to see an African American male with deep brown skin and who looks ethnic. Is that too much to ask?
Many African American men, as well as women, often feel overlooked in outreach and ad campaigns by mainstream organizations. But I was particularly alarmed by the lack of awareness demonstrated by the EQCA ad campaign. I am not sure whether the ads were internally developed or developed by an ad agency, but clearly diversity was a consideration when making the ads, although attention to the detail of California’s ethnic demographics was lacking. Not one clearly ethnic African American man, and only one African American woman in the three-ad campaign.
Before you yell, Stampp you’re being ridiculous, count how many white males are in the ad. Five white males, one Latino, one Asian, and the one ambiguously maybe African American. That’s why an African American male often feels like the invisible man in the LGBT community. But even putting that aside, why the preponderance of white people in the ads? Way back in 2014, Latinos passed whites as the largest ethnic group in California.
Couldn’t just one of the five white males in the ad have been replaced by a clearly ethnic African American man, and at least one more Latino? I mean ethnic African American males vote too. Ads are more effective when people can see themselves and are acknowledged.
As I have mentioned many times before, when I opened LGBT Weekly I was told that if I put a transgender person, an African American, an elder or a lesbian on the cover, the number of people who would pick-up the issue would decrease. Yet, LGBT Weekly is one of the most honored publications by the San Diego Press Club and we have had the most diverse covers in the history of San Diego.
EQCA, please be more sensitive to representing all of the diverse constituencies in your ads. They’ll be more effective and will therefore be more likely to accomplish your goals. Don’t worry, I have every intention of voting. At least in the voting booth I’m not invisible.
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