Let’s just state the facts: I’m just another black man who wants to break into a predominantly Caucasian profession. Not only was I reminded of this when I read Chapter 2 of Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations textbook for my PRL600 course, but I was also reminded of it when I attended professor William Jasso’s class last night. While the profession as a whole has been slow to diversify in terms of both gender and race, the overwhelming lack of black men in PR makes me, and my two other black male cohorts, feel like novelties. However, there’s only one thing I think we need to further diversify the profession: that is, education.
Without education, I wouldn’t have even known that PR would be something I’m interested in, since my first teachings of it didn’t come until the spring term of my freshman year at Northwood University. In addition, since PR is still a relatively new profession, it’s not widely discussed in the outdated curriculums of inner-city, poverty-stricken high schools like the one I graduated from. Therefore, where there is a lack of awareness of the profession, there will also be a lack of black men who will become capable enough of introducing it as a career option to other young men who have yet to determine or define their career path.
That’s where I, an aspiring professional, hope to fill in the gap; and, to a small extent, I’ve already began doing this. Before I came to Syracuse, I spent time on Monday afternoons at the Don Bosco Community Center in Detroit speaking to ninth graders from Cody High School about the “do’s and don’t’s” of social media. I used “urban” references in order to relate to my audience, who were already exhausted from spending a warm May day in a building lacking consistent air conditioning. While it wasn’t the most professional presentation, I achieved my goal of showing these black youth teenagers how cool this profession can be and created a desire for them to learn more about what it beholds.
I know that there are several black men out there who are successful as PR professionals. If we come together, we can give back to our communities and influence the next generation of black men to break through PR’s glass ceiling of diversity.