Does Success in Media Hinge on Being White?

Question: It appears that you are familiar with the ways that racism, white privilege and institutionalized oppression play out in the wide world. Do you think that if you were a person of color you would be getting the type of airspace, publicity that you are getting now? How will you utilize your power and position for good, to eliminate bias and allow the voices of the oppressed and people of color be validated and heard by the larger white masses?

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

It appears that you are familiar with the ways that racism, white privilege and institutionalized oppression play out in the wide world. Do you think that if you were a person of color you would be getting the type of airspace, publicity that you are getting now?

How will you utilize your power and position for good, to eliminate bias and allow the voices of the oppressed and people of color be validated and heard by the larger white masses?

Answer:

Yes, it is clearly easier for a white person to be successful in media (in the U.S.). However, regardless of race, it takes talent, business acumen and commitment. I'm sure great publishers like Mr. Earl Graves and other talented media entrepreneurs of color would agree with that.

Since your identity and company name will not be shown to our audience, I will note that your company has never competed for a spot on our DiversityInc Top 50 list, does not advertise with us or post jobs in our career center. I do not see them represented at any of the diversity events I go to. There is no "diversity" area on your corporate web site and no statement of diversity ethics or practice. I looked up your company in Hoovers and saw no apparent representation in your top management (nor in the personal activities in their bios). Your industry has some leaders in diversity, so you may want to consider who is benefiting from your labor and if that's appropriate for your beliefs.

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