P&G’s 2017 ad “The Talk” introduced many white viewers to the conversations about race that all Black families have, often starting when children are young. The ad's power hinged on a simple insight: Race is a life-or-death issue for Black families, but white families can ignore it altogether.
So when news breaks of the latest victim of racial violence, Black parents must explain it to their children, while white families can choose whether or not to engage in difficult or uncomfortable conversations about systemic racism and white privilege. Historically, most opt to not. Nearly two-thirds of white adults surveyed say their parents rarely or never spoke to them about race or racism.
A new short film, “Dear White Parents,” encourages them to do just that. Created by IPG DXTRA with support from racism education non-profit WE ARE, the Ad Council and the Anti-Defamation League, the 11-minute film follows four white families as they navigate tough conversations about race and racism with their children. It is narrated by anti-racist educator Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock, executive curator of WE ARE.
Kevin Wilson, Jr., nominated for an Academy Award for his short film “My Nephew Emmett,” directs.
“I was six years old when I was called the n-word for the first time. It was a devastating experience and I remember it vividly,” he said in a statement. “The weight of these discussions has fallen on Black and Brown parents for centuries. We want to encourage and equip White parents to share in this responsibility.”
Rather than continuing to place the onus on Black families to warn their kids of the obstacles they’ll face because of their race, white parents can take on the burden themselves to make their children aware of their privilege and the consequences of inaction.
In an industry where CDOs are usually tasked with reviewing creative near the end of the process, after most of the important decisions have been made, this project stands out: the creative concept originated with IPG DXTRA’s chief inclusion and diversity officer, Margenett Moore-Roberts.
“After days of watching multi-racial crowds around the world protest the murder of George Floyd, I started wondering what kind of impact we could make if we were able to encourage and equip more white families to discuss race with their children early and often, in a similar way that Black families have been doing for generations,” she says. “Could we bend the 400-year-old trajectory of racism and create a new reality around race for the next generation?”
A website houses the full film, along with a discussion guide created by the ADL and anti-racism workshops for families. The Ad Council is including the film as part of its Racial Justice Series, and it will run in donated media placements.
A team drawn from IPG DXTRA agencies collaborated for several months to create the platform, including strategy and creative and film production from The Brooklyn Brothers, content development, earned and social media and comms from Golin, website development from Hugo & Cat, media from Resolute Digital, influencer engagement and talent from R&CPMK and creative consulting from Weber Shandwick.