June 02, 2005

Dreams Are Made of This

Dreams Are Made of This

If you’re anything like us, dear reader, you are a subscriber to the scintillating periodical The Black Collegian, another fine rag from the folks at IMDiversity, Inc. Actually, even if you’re nothing like us, you probably peruse this self-professed “Career & Self-Development Magazine for African-American Students” with great regularity.

Perhaps, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quartelry,” do not need to inform you about an advertisement that we spied on the penultimate page of The Black Collegian’s April 2005 number. But, heck, just humor us.

The advert in question is the work of the Amerada Hess Corporation, whose motto, at least for the purposes of this magazine spot, is “Our Diversity is Our Future.” This ad proudly declares that Hess is an “equal opportunity employer,” though, in the American corporate argot, this means that Hess is “not an equal opportunity employer.” After all, as our business friends appear not to understand, you can’t favor equal opportunity and discriminate on the basis of race.

In order to demonstrate Hess’ deep regard for its “Diversity” (and, hence, its “Future”), the advertisement features a smiling black woman, who stands before a Hess office building, and who is, presumably, a deeply satisfied employee.

Above this contented black woman is the touching slogan: “Dream your biggest dreams.” The ad, as you might imagine, is pretty much politically correct corporate boilerplate. A Cheshire cat of a black woman; an uninspired commitment to “Diversity”; a supremely dull slogan—all the telltale signs of big-business pseudo-multiculturalism are present.

And yet, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were particularly intrigued by the text featured at the bottom of the advertisement. Below we offer a portion of this text, to which we have affixed our own humble commentary:

People define our success. At Amerada Hess, our diversity of talent and perspective lead to visionary approaches to global challenges, and enable us to forge ahead of competitors when it comes to innovation.

The Grapenuts-like blandness of these sentences masks their overall message: Our friends at Hess are informing us that they have a great regard for “diversity of talent and perspective.” Note, dear reader, that they say “diversity” of “perspective”—not perspectives.

Rather curious, isn’t it? Have you ever heard anyone pontificate about a given institution’s “diversity of perspective”? What the heck does this mean? As far as we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can tell, they appear to be saying: “We, the Diverse Folks at Hess, love it when all of our many-hued employees mouth the exact same pieties.” Pretty “diverse,” is it not?

A world leader in oil and gas products, Amerada Hess fosters a work environment in which new ideas are encouraged and people are empowered to take initiative. We look for and reward both talent and drive. So dream your biggest dreams.

Gee, Hess: Thanks for allowing us to “dream our biggest dreams.” That’s darn nice of you. May we humbly suggest that working for a “world leader in oil and gas products” is not one of our biggest dreams—nay, not even one of our smallest dreams?

If, as the folks at Hess maintain, “People define [their] success,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” wish to inform them that they are failing.

Posted at June 2, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack