Visual Inclusion

7 Sep

I’ve just had a baby, and so we have sent and received many cards over the past weeks. We sent “thank you for the shower gift” cards, and have received “congratulations on the birth of your child” cards. Interestingly, none of the cards that include photos or pictures have brown or black babies on them. All of the little feet and the drawn babies are white.


In workshops I often speak about marketing to a diverse population and the difference it makes to see oneself reflected in advertising.  In business, it should be a mirror of what is happening within an organization; the last thing you do instead of the first. The best examples I have seen to date are TDs ads. They have everyone sitting in that green chair – different colours, ages, and couples. And I know they work hard (at least in the LGBTQ community) to give back and make a difference not just in the community but internally for their employees. So their ads are a visual representation of what they believe in. It is part of walking the talk.

But greeting cards aren’t advertising.

If almost 50% of the current Toronto population is visible minority, and if the projected national visible minority/foreign born population by 2031 is 29%-32%, I’m guessing there are a lot of non-white babies being born. And if we are truly interested in being inclusive, someone would create cards with an option of baby feet with various skin tones.

This is not creating an inclusive workplace or ensuring human rights, but it is a symptom of an oversight – of not thinking about what it means to include everyone. And these “small” symptoms are what make advocating for workplace inclusion and human rights a struggle.

I love the cards we have received, and the sentiments inside are what are important to me. But the fact that there is no choice except white babies to send those sentiments irks me. It’s like we don’t exist.  What if we only had cards with brown or black baby feet to choose from?

See more.

Copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker,  and Facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.


One Response to “Visual Inclusion”

  1. Frances Olsen September 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more it was frustrating not to be able to find such a card I was very conscious of that…………..when will we ever learn? Fran

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