As we approach the twentieth annual ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, it’s a good time to step back and reflect on news from the past year that’s relevant to multicultural marketing and diversity. Here’s my Top Ten list, in no particular order:
1. Deaths of non-Hispanic white people now outnumber births in the majority of U.S. states for the first time ever, signaling what could be a faster-than-expected transition to a future in which whites are no longer a majority of the American population.
2. Two movies featuring diverse casts are arguably the most talked about films of the year. Black Panther has made well over $1 billion at the global box office and is now ranked among the ten highest grossing films of all time. Crazy RichAsians is the first film by a major Hollywood studio in twenty-five years to feature a majority Asian-American cast in a modern setting and is also doing extremely well at the box office.
3. Starbucks closed all company-owned U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias training. The move came after two men were arrested for “trespassing” while peacefully waiting for a third friend to join them in a Philadelphia Starbucks location. That same day Roseanne Barr used her Twitter handle (@therealroseanne) to respond to a thread about a former senior advisor to President Obama, using an ethnic slur. Shortly thereafter she was fired by ABC and her show was cancelled.
4. It was announced that for the first time ever, the 2020 U.S. Census will ask about same-sex relationships. The responses for “husband or wife” and “unmarried partner” will be divided into “opposite-sex” and “same-sex” options. Meanwhile, the ad industry opposed the addition of a new census question on citizenship, concerned it would depress response among both non-citizens and their families, resulting in flawed census numbers.
5. In June an “immigration debate crisis” began as children were separated from their undocumented parents at the U.S. and Mexican border. Immigration has been a signature issue for the new administration and there continues to be a focus on illegal immigration and border security.
6. Nicole Maines became the first-ever transgender superhero character, being cast on the CW television network as “Nia Nal” in Supergirl. Nicole was born Wyatt Maines and underwent sex reassignment surgery as a teen.
7. Every four years the World Cup is a global event that provides marketers with the opportunity to engage with consumers of all multicultural segments. France’s victory has been celebrated as a victory for immigrants as the team had more than a dozen players with African roots.
8. Kendrick Lamar is the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. The Pulitzer board called the album DAMN a work that captures the complexity of African-American life.
9. The percentage of married-couple households that are interracial or interethnic grew across the United States from 7.4 to 10.2 percent from 2000 to 2012-2016. Meanwhile, Tinder, the dating app, announced it is lobbying the Unicode Consortium to design a new group of emojis to include interracial couples. The company proposed 21 different designs that would be more representative of modern relationships.
10. “The Talk,” an ad from Procter & Gamble about racial bias created by BBDO, won the Prime Time Commercial Emmy Award as well as a Grand Prix in Film at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The ad features African American parents explaining to their kids that racism exists and that they are going to have to deal with it and then move past it.
It’s been quite a year already and it’s only October! ANA’s 20th annual Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference is November 4-6 in Miami.
Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash
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