Dispelling the Myth, “They Don’t Exist”
“They’re not out there.” “They don’t exist.” If you work in the creative and communications industry, I’m sure you’ve heard - and maybe even said - these words. “They” is in reference to people of color. People of color don’t work in this industry.
Looking at the numbers, it kinda feels that way. For example, coming in at 10%, Hispanics comprise the highest percentage of people of color working as PR specialists (versus 87% of whites). And Asians rank highest for web developers at nine percent (versus 82% of whites). That’s according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, yes. Fewer people of color work in this industry, so we are harder to come by. But, we do exist. And ironically, we are often hustling to work at the same agencies that proclaim they want a diverse team. So, the desire is on both ends, yet connections aren’t happening. (More on that in a future post.)
Aside from finding diverse professionals, there’s a second challenge at play. Historically homogenous environments can be unwelcoming and intolerant of differences. And the differences that make diverse professionals appealing candidates, aren’t always valued during their time as an employee. This not only creates high turnover but lasting resentment that can ultimately lead to abandonment of the industry. (We’ll dive in more with future posts.)
A third challenge centers around diverse professionals. There’s the reality of a small talent pipeline. Additionally, for a variety of reasons, our true potential and capabilities don’t always shine. Portfolio needs help but nobody gives that feedback. Code switch burnout. Internal politics and unconscious biases make it hard to find a genuine sponsor/champion. Etc. (More on this in a future post, too.)
So, not to oversimplify, but these three, fundamental challenges contribute to the diversity problem. And these three challenges are so interdependent, you can’t just address one and expect to make a difference. They must work together, like the stability of a three-legged stool.
With that, Colorful Connections provides a holistic approach, working with both employers and diverse professionals to address recruiting and retention challenges. Founded by a woman of color and PR specialist with a rich agency background, Colorful Connections is dispelling the myth that “they don’t exist.”
We don’t shame. We empower. We don’t blame. We uplift.