What happens when marketing material reveals more about a company’s view on what America looks like than they wanted

 Statue of the emperor Augustos (29BC - AD 14)

A snapshot of institutional lack of diversity in life sciences, by way of a promotional email
[Via Boing Boing]

An anonymous Boing Boing reader says, “Here’s an email that academic publishing company Elsevieris sending around to advertise to scientists. Notice anything about the pictures of scientists they chose?”

Also spotted at @hormiga’sTwitter, with context:


So the scientific world is mostly old white guys, a couple of young men and a token woman or two. Got it, Elsevier.

f course, this does not represent what the scientific community they hope to connect with actually looks like. It does suggest that Elsevier itself has little diversity or someone would have noticed this. Because they would have seen no representation of themselves.

This is not evil. It is stupid and that is a lack of diverse views often produces – epistemic closure where “everyone” knows the same thing, thinks it is the right way and then are flabbergasted when other groups see it very differently.

One of the things about a lack of diverse viewpoints – it allows an organization to do stupid things. Like put out marketing information that will not only make minorities sit up and notice the problem, but also connect with a lot of their apparent audience in ways they do not mean.

Because you can bet there are a lot of old, whte men who are appalled at this and may very well think about taking their business elsewhere.

A business should never tick off a large segment of its customers. And never to it so unthinkingly.

A more diverse culture would have prevented this mistake. It makes it much likelier that someone will tell the Emperor he has no clothes on.