Anti-Racism and Marketing
Special issue of the Journal of Consumer Marketing; Deadline 31 Mar 2021
Author: James Whiteley
SUBMISSION Window: 20 December 2020 – 31 March 2021
The tragic death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have spotlighted the systemic discriminatory practices that characterise the experiences of black and other minority communities. Such practices have evolved since the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade era. At the societal and organisational levels, the subtle manifestations of these discriminatory practices and associated micro-aggressions can be difficult to identity and monitor, which augments their insidious nature.
Business scholars have scrutinised the corporate marketers who perpetrated these problematic practices; for example, promoting stereotypes via tone-deaf marketing communications (e.g., Dove campaign: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/08/dove-apologises-for-ad-showing-black-woman-turning-into-white-one) and engaging in brand-activism that consumers find opportunistic and unauthentic (e.g., Pepsi campaign: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/business/kendall-jenner-pepsi-ad.html). The representation of racial groups in contemporary marketing communications remains a concern (e.g., Potts, 1997; Davis, 2018). Although some companies have responded to public pressure by replacing established brand spokescharacters (e.g., Aunt Jemima http://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/17/business/aunt-jemima-logo-change/index.html and Uncle Ben’s http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uncle-bens-evolving-visual-identity-racial-bias-a4471991.html), in many cases contemporary advertisers have merely transmogrified but not eliminated established stereotypes (Bristor et al., 1995; Shabbir et al., 2014).
Many marketing scholars bemoan the under-researching of specific consumer communities, conducting studies influenced by white privilege and white ideology (e.g., Burton, 2009a,b; Davis, 2018; Tadajewski, 2012), and utilising teaching practices insensitive to minority group experiences (e.g., https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2018/jan/20/secret-teacher-uk-history-of-race-bloody-racism). For instance, Tadajewski’s (2012) historical analysis highlights a legacy of overreliance on character analysis in marketing thought and practice. Colonial advertising (McClintock & Robertson, 1994; Ramamurthy, 2017) is replete with character analysis as tropes of negative black imagery designed to reinforce socio-cultural stereotypes. Unfortunately, many of these same tropes have recently mutated into more subtle forms (Kern-Foxworth, 2012). The danger of subtle racial rhetoric is its cumulative effects on society; for example, to conceal or mystify more overt racial practices, effectively giving covert license to systemic racial discrimination (Shabbir et al., 2019).
These issues indicate the need to investigate how marketing thought and practice (1) have contributed to systematic racism, and (2) can be used to mitigate and remedy racially insensitive and biased practices. This trans-disciplinary nexus has been the focus of the Race in the Marketplace (RIM) research community, which seeks greater engagement with marketing scholars on race-related issues (Grier et al., 2019).
Per this mission, and to explore the intersection between marketing and social discourse on systemic racism, this special issue will address topics that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Macro-marketing and critical marketing perspectives on issues related to power, privilege, and oppression. How do government policies that affect the black community trickle down to marketing discourse and practice toward that community? How do white privilege and white silence contribute to racism in the marketplace and toward mystifying or whitewashing the black community’s historical mistreatment?
- Manifestations of racism toward the black community in service encounters. Do service providers discriminate against complaining black consumers? What role do diversity training programs play in fostering more inclusive service interactions?
- Consumer attitudes crucial to encouraging anti-racist attitudes. How do anti-racist attitudes affect downstream consumer behaviours?
- Changes in black imagery used in contemporary marketing communications. What are the implications of overt and subtle depictions of racial tropes?
- Consequences for brands failing to voice support for socio-political campaigns such as #blacklivesmatter. What critical factors influence the authenticity of such support and its perception by different consumer groups?
- Race-marketplace intersection. How do racial and other resilient and yet vulnerable consumer groups (defined by gender, religion, disabilities, and immigration status) influence marketers’ behaviours?
- Implications of big data and AI on race in the marketplace. In what ways will big data and AI contribute to racism and anti-racism in the marketplace?
- Anti-racist campaigns. Can such campaigns cut through decades of mystifying black people? How can online and digital marketing communications perpetuate racism or counter racial rhetoric? How can social marketing campaigns counter white privilege and white silence towards the black community’s mistreatment?
- Vicarious learning and anti-racism marketing. What are the critical factors for selecting a spokesperson for anti-racism marketing (e.g., celebrities, community leaders, and social media influencers)?
- Education. How can educators decolonise the marketing curriculum, marketing thought, and marketing practice?
- Navigate through a racialised marketplace. Which psychological and other mechanisms do minority groups use to cope with a marketplace inundated by colonially regurgitated tropes?
- Industry regulation. How can industry regulators monitor online and offline brand communications in light of public discourse about systemic racial discrimination?
- New marketing tools and frameworks for advancing anti-racism. Are existing tools and frameworks adequate for addressing systemic discriminatory practices?
- Anti-Racism during an existential crisis. What are the additional challenges of race education during an existential crisis such as during a pandemic or economic recession? How, for instance can public policy and healthcare marketers more effectuively raise the plight of Covid-BAME incident disparities?
For this special issue, we welcome all types of investigations, including those related to conceptualising problems and solutions, behavioural insights, mapping and testing studies, and big data. However, all submissions should focus on marketing issues (broadly defined).
Submission Requirements and Information
Please note you will be unable to submit a manuscript before 20 December 2020. Submissions should follow the formatting guidelines for the Journal of Consumer Marketing posted at https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/jcm#author-guidelines. Please submit manuscripts through the EJM online submission system at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jcmktg and select this special issue from the drop-down menu provided.
Please direct all Inquiries about this special issue to the co-editors:
Senior Lecturer in Marketing
University of Hull, UK
Hull University Business School
Hull, HU6 7RX
Phone: +44 (0)1482 463197; Fax +44(0)1482 466511; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael R. Hyman
Distinguished Achievement Professor of Marketing
New Mexico State University
College of Business, Box 30001, Dept. 5280
Las Cruces NM 88003-8001 USA
Phone: (505) 646-5238; Fax: (505) 646-1498; Email: email@example.com
Lecturer in Marketing
University of Glasgow, UK
Adam Smith Business School
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
Phone: +44 (0)7377 411523; Email: Alena.Kostyk@glasgow.ac.uk
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For a complete recommended reference list within marketing and advertising, please see: https://www.rimnetwork.net/rim-repository.