We’ve seen their ads and they’ve made us laugh. Some of the ads have made people want to buy Snickers candy bars. But is it the duty of an award-winning New York City agency to tell us how we should think? Mika Brzezinski might think so, but the sanctimony by well-paid elitists who live in the better parts of town was neither requested or well received.
One wonders just who at BBDO New York decided to create a Proctor & Gamble ad campaign where black adults are explaining what racism is to their children? As a black parent, I never sought to prepare my sons for a racist world. I did address circumstances as they arose and my sons saw how it was handled, so with that I wonder how these people decided they were equipped to lecture the nation’s blacks how to not only address racism but how children should be told about it.
In my experience in New York City, few black people have what I call the “upstairs jobs”. Credit the public school system and the media’s constant negative depictions of black people whether it’s celebrating multi-million dollar athletes raised by single mothers and/or grandmothers, rap “artists” who “create” terrible “music”, comedians compartmentalized into roles that reinforce stereotypes of black people, and reality programming created by condescending writers and producers who seek out the worst in any community to exploit. Maybe this is why BBDO believed it was their responsibility to tell black parents how to warn their children about racism.
Note: all of the voiceovers in “The Talk” video were done by black mothers; no fathers.
I’d be willing to bet that the few interactions outside the office many at BBDO have with black people are the security guards “downstairs” below their pricey 6th Avenue office address. Maybe some of the couriers that bring their packages and takeout meal deliveries. We do know that many of New York City’s elite keep their children far away from schools that are predominantly black as possible, yet they’re the ones who pitched this arrogant position to Proctor & Gamble for an ad campaign that was sadly bought and implemented.
Those of us black people who’ve miraculously managed to survive into middle age have done so by doing our best to obey they law and avoid situations where trouble lurks. We’ve been polite to the police when pulled over. We’ve not allowed our children to be out on the street after midnight, let alone 3 or 4 in the morning. We’ve emphasized improving employment skills that don’t involve bouncing a ball or putting the words “nigga'”, “bitch” and “ho” to a rhyme to pitch to white liberal executives right down the street from BBDO.
And when it comes to the “word”, I’ve heard it more from those who supposedly denounce racism than anyone they accuse purely for partisan political points.
BBDO is really good at bringing a smile to the face while subliminally asking us to buy something for a client. Good writers are also reminded to write about that which you know. Unless BBDO is ready to look at the racism within their own circles, they’re the last people to tell anyone how to give “the talk”.