discrimination in the post-racial world…

…looks a lot like discrimination in the past.

I wrote a couple of days ago that “it will take decades for the b-boy network to root out [the] old boy network.”

And this is what I’m talking about:

Blacks remain underrepresented on Madison Avenue, according to the report, “Research Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry,” which concluded that only 5.3 percent of managers and professionals at agencies in 2008 were black.

And those blacks who do manage to land jobs on Madison Avenue are significantly underpaid, the report said, earning 80 cents for each dollar earned by their white counterparts.

I happen to have some close friends in the Advertising  industry, and they tell me that Madison Ave is upset with the report.   Once again we have people more upset that someone pointed out that there might be a problem with their conduct, than with the actual conduct itself.

But this also points to the central flaw with imagining that because we have a Black president we no longer need to fret about racism.  Racism today is passive.  No one is out there in Klan hoods talking about the Nigras.  Instead its much more about social capital, about hiring the person who chatted you up at a restaurant opening.  And, as a result, so many vital voices are excluded in that industry.

This is also one area where Black owned Ad Agencies might hurt the larger prospects for Blacks on Madison Ave.  Black agencies like Uniworld can’t hire every person of color who wants to work in the field, but might give other agencies an out, since they don’t do “urban work.”

This becomes a chicken and egg problem, though.  Without Black Ad agencies, would the situation be worse or would the rest of Madison Ave choose to hire more talent of color?  Wait, I think we already know the anwswer to the last part of this question.


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