The position would be a "high-profile liaison between the White House and the black and Latino communities." Johnson, who I once worked for, wants Obama to address "the growing number of unemployed black men; the continued practice of big banks refusing to lend money to minority businesses; and the rise in HIV and AIDS in the black and Latino communities."
According to Newsweek, Johnson planned to nominate himself but also added that "if [Obama] wants someone else, that's fine, too. But the sooner the better."
My interpretation of what Johnson is saying is, in effect, that by having an ambassador of the minority cause, putting a face on the movement and getting some public momentum to build on, the minority community as a whole can be heard, be recognized, and move ahead to some brighter days -- socially, economically and professionally. Essentially, it's the same thing he's been doing at the helm of Magic Johnson Enterprises.
While the American people keep yearning for budget cuts, smaller government and less involvement, opinions on this position are sure to go many ways. Everything from "Do we as a nation need this position at all?" to "Who is the right person for the position?" will get tested in the court of public opinion and throughout the media. But I want to move past that and get directly to the results aspect of the argument. That being: "What industry needs a minority czar step-in to improve its current situation?"
And with that, I would like to formally nominate the Advertising Industry.
A year ago this month, Madison Avenue was brought to the forefront by the NAACP and by famed attorney Cyrus Mehri's firm, Mehri & Skalet. The Madison Ave Project, as it was dubbed, screamed to all who would listen about the industry's wide lack of diversity in hiring practices. The story got coverage in The New York Times, here in Ad Age, and throughout many other circles.