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Let's talk about Racial Injustice in 2022 Marcomms

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2022


Today is International Racial Discrimination Elimination Day, and this year's theme is 'voices for action against racism'.


Marketing has made strides in diversity & inclusion in the last decade, but there are still major challenges that marketers must face to ensure their D&I is effective and authentic.

Here are the 5 key challenges prevalent around race and injustice in marketing and communications in 2022.


1. Colourism


Colourism - the dislike and unfair treatment of members of a particular racial group who have a darker skin colour than others.


In western society, people are often seen as less beautiful because of the darkness of their skin.

Whilst marketing has become more diverse, we still see western ideologies permeating representations, as lighter-skinned models are favoured over dark-skinned talent. It's important to be well versed in cultural nuances and unconscious biases in marketing representations, to avoid reinforcing colonial concepts attached to skin colour.


2. Tokenism

Something that a person or organisation does that seems to support or help a group of people who are treated unfairly in society on a shallow level only.


Actions that are the result of pretending to give advantage to those groups in society who are often treated unfairly, in order to give the appearance of fairness.

How to make a difference: meaningful inclusion involves including different people throughout processes where important decisions are made and their voice is valued and heard. Too often, diversity and inclusion efforts are reserved for outward-facing displays to show how progressive and diverse a company is. These values should be reflected internally, with the same externally celebrated groups put into empowering decision positions internally.


3. Categorisation


There is no 'one size fits all' language when it comes to talking about race.

The problem with our existing racial terminology (BAME, BIPOC, POC, AAPI, BME, etc) is that it lumps people from different racial backgrounds, facing very different challenges, together.

To navigate this and build better relationships with diverse groups, it's important to acknowledge different lived experiences. Avoid assumptions that people identify the same way, and when strategising communications, think about addressing cultural groups separately.


4. Stereotypes


According to Facebook's Advertising research, models from ethnic minorities are 2x less likely to be shown as a member of a family in marketing campaigns than their white counterparts.

Adobe have found that 66% of African Americans and 53% of Latin Americans feel their ethnicity is portrayed stereotypically in advertisements.


5. The Need for More Empathy


Fewer than 1 in 10 companies review for inclusion as part of product design and marketing campaigns, say Future Focus. Empathy in marketing is the key to meaningful, diverse, and inclusive campaigns that truly reflect, and build relationships with, wide groups of people.

To increase empathy, marketers can:

- place themselves in the audience's perspective to understand their experience.

- focus on listening and understanding, and give people the content or solution they want.

- create forums and campaigns where valuable dialogue can take place, and where people can feel understood and related to.



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