I just got back from a visit to my local Bank of America branch. Unfortunately, I must do business with them.
People got a bit jittery when I pulled out my cell phone, and started taking photos – but hey, photos for this blog won’t take themselves. Below are all of the posters displayed in the branch:
Black men? There are 2 of them, one of which is displayed twice, including prominently on the wall opposite the entrance.
White women? There are 2 of them. One on the exit, and one on the standing display in the center of the branch.
Hispanic women? There’s one at a teller station.
The two men, who might pass as “white,” are accompanied with Spanish text – informing us that they’re actually “Hispanic.”
Not a single unambiguous white man on display… and (oops) not a single black woman either! And no Asians!! Of course, my area is about 80% white, while black females are barely represented. To omit white men here would be like omitting black men in a Detroit branch. Could you imagine the uproar? Bank of America would never hear the end of such a scandalous thing – yet it’s perfectly okay to omit white men.
What’s sad is that hundreds of white people pass through their doors every day, and I’m probably the only one to notice.
The Diversity Pie is a zero-sum game. There are only so many resources to go around; only so much space in a local branch to show us how “progressive” Bank of America is – while trying to avoid looking completely ridiculous. It’s a balancing act, I’m sure.
They could have sacrificed one of the black men for a black woman, one of the Hispanic men for an Asian woman, and one of the white women for an Asian man. That would have covered all of their bases – but at the risk of looking like a walk-in National Geographic magazine. Also, what about transgendered people, and those who are “differently-abled?”
So they can’t possibly include every demographic. They must prioritize. I wish I were a fly on the wall at one of their meetings, but let’s consider which demographics are most likely to riot, or boycott, if they feel slighted.
White men haven’t rioted (as “white men”) in the US anytime in recent years, nor are there any organizations representing them that have official recognition – so they don’t need to represent white men.
Black women seem to fall under the general category of generic “women” for most purposes. But racially speaking, American blacks are, by default, represented by males. Lip service is sometimes given to black women, but unless we’re dealing with specifically female issues (such as hair styles, beauty or fashion/body image), the powers-that-be don’t care much about black women – as the case in point illustrates. Black women will, of course, sometimes be used to kill two birds with one stone: Female and black.
Asians are still a small demographic, who don’t have much political clout. They don’t riot, and their “liberal bona fides” are still linked to their concern for blacks and Hispanics, since Asians actually earn more than whites. There will be no serious backlash if Asians are left out.
As for transgendered people, I fully expect (and predict) that their mugs will soon show up at banks, especially in the Portland area. It’s true that they’re few in number, but they make a lot of noise, and they have many allies.
I’ll point out that Bank of America doesn’t hate ALL white men; it you’re a RICH white man, you might even end up on their Board of Directors:
Followup: I just got a survey request from BOA. This is what I wrote in comments:
Could you imagine having a branch in Detroit, or Washington DC, and not having African American men represented on any of your store displays? Our area is about 80% white, and not a single display depicts a white man – with the possible exception of two, which are titled in Spanish. Please be more inclusive.
It wouldn’t surprise me if they close my account after reading this.