In case your accent isn't quick
A diverse workforce is not a new mandate for the advertising industry. But in the last few months, practically all big companies are rushing to get diverse.
Many may just do this to prove to the outside world that they are not one of the “all-white-male poison agencies” everyone points their fingers at. Of course, far too many fall into the category of looking good without doing good on a meaningful level. I've worked in these agencies, in places where I was just a number, part of a ratio, and a subdued statistic to help them justify their diversity.
I have an accent. I grew up in South America, but my grandmother is Indian. So my American is a big part of my upbringing. I don't consider myself an outsider. But others do.
Once, during a commercial casting review with a client for a spot about addiction, all of the agency's recommendations were approved except for one: a very talented woman with an accent.
Something about her accent didn't work for the client. I thought to myself, "Addiction, it doesn't matter if you have an accent." After the call, the account manager said she could understand the customer's POV. After all, they were an American brand. I was confused. Does an accent mean you're not American enough? Was I able to write an American football letter? Or work on a campaign for an American dating app?
In my experience, the advertising industry can be particularly unfriendly. I've seen highly talented accented creatives get fired first. I've noticed that accented creatives aren't being promoted at the same rate as others with similar years of experience.
And all too often, microaggressions also take their toll. For example, people making fun of other people's accents or laughing at the fact that some of us are still learning English words – this is a prime example. If you have an accent, there is always going to be someone questioning your ability to write, manage, and understand an American brand as well.
But you have an additional perspective on everything: how you see the world, how you see life, and especially how you communicate.
Hire us for non-Latinx projects
We can do more than just write identity stories. In fact, our stories are American stories too – stories of resilience, liberation, hope. Stories of business owners chasing the American Dream, little girls who will one day become president or work for NASA, war veterans, nurses, musicians and fashionistas. Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let's get on the right side of the story so we can keep making the changes we need and telling compelling stories together.
Because we are rooted in the dominant culture, we speak at least two, if not more, cultural languages. We know yours as well as ours. Our voices and our perspective will no doubt improve yours and that of all Americans.
We will continue to challenge an industry that sees us, listens to us, and values our contributions, so that the world does the same through the stories we tell. We have more than one perspective and our ideas transcend cultures and languages in ways that can only come from us. It's always short.