Diversity, coming up
0 comment Friday, July 11, 2014 |
Over at Hoosier Nation, Jake Jacobsen asks why, in his city with a single-digit percentage of Hispanics, there are ads in Spanish on the sides of city buses?
Good question. I asked the same question about help-wanted ads by McDonald's in my town, which also has (so far) a small percentage of Hispanics. I got some kind of form response back by e-mail from Mickey D's, but no plausible answer.
On a recent shopping errand in my town, I noticed that in my local bookstore's clearance bin, they had three children's books: one about Crispus Attucks, the lone black 'Revolutionary hero', one about black tennis player Arthur Ashe, and one about none other than Beck's idol, MLK. I wonder why these books did not sell? Likewise, in a local shop there were black Santa Clauses among the early Christmas merchandise. Aren't these all examples of bad marketing choices in a town which is so far rather diversity-deficient?
Again, in my neighborhood Rite Aid, I saw many posters of 'diversities' but none of people who looked remotely like 95 or so percent of the people who live here. On the shelves, the boxes of disposable diapers all displayed images of either black or Asian babies.
On the clearance shelves in that same store, there are always black hair care products and skin-lightening products. Who orders these products for which there is very little demand or need in this town? Why? Aren't they losing money on it?
The grocery store where I do most of my shopping displays a big poster on their walls, boasting that they honor and promote 'diversity'.
For a long time I wondered why these things are so in-our-faces here. In the city, where there is more than ample 'diversity' (oops, I forgot that you can never have too much diversity), I could understand all this emphasis as a way of pandering to non-Whites, and saying ''look, we welcome your business! We are not racists, honest!" But in the small towns where even the diversicrats haven't caught up to us yet, I wondered what sense it made. What imaginary clientele are they appealing to? I think a good bit of it is meant as just a way of reminding us, the majority, that diversity is inescapable, and that it's coming our way, and we can't do a thing about it. Surrender, Dorothy!
It's a way of priming us, conditioning us. It's like they are using mere pictures of diversities to stand in, for the time being, for the flesh-and-blood kind, which they are feverishly working to bring to us. Maybe a load of refugees with our town's name on it is heading our way, but until then, we can look at the pictures of all those nice, smiling, diverse people and comfort ourselves that we haven't been forgotten or overlooked; vibrancy is coming our way, just as fast as they can rustle up a fresh batch.

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