As students return to campus this fall, the advertising industry is trying to develop, attract and ultimately recruit a more diverse workforce by investing in HBCUs through donations and connections. These new efforts join longstanding advertising internship programs like MAIP that have tried to build a more diverse pipeline to help students of color transition from college to career. However, laudable though these efforts might be, their collective emphasis on the importance of a college degree overlooks how higher education has perpetuated a myth of meritocracy that has simultaneously cloaked white privilege while also providing a socially acceptable mechanism for the upper class to hoard and maintain power in advertising, corporate America and beyond.
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