Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Puzzling Oversight by Roanoke's Convention Bureau

Here's the lineup of models for this morning's show. Almost all white.
This morning the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau held one of the most unusual and entertaining press "conferences" I've ever seen and I've seen a few. First, there was no conference. It was an announcement, plain and simple. Second, there was a fashion show.

It was the fashion show where a dramatic and thoroughly puzzling oversight took place. The Roanoke Valley is roughly 60-70 percent white. But of the 70 or so people who took part in the fashion show--which was meant to represent the tourist opportunities in the Valley--only two (by my count) were any color other than white. No Asians, no Hispanics, two African Americans. That does not tell you about the Roanoke Valley. It doesn't even come close and, frankly, there is no excuse that is acceptable.

This was an oversight  by a board of directors and the professionals who run the organization that should never happen. We must be more sensitive to diversity than this. One of the best features of our valley is its diversity, highlighted every year by the magnificent Pearl Fu's Local Colors, which has mini-celebrations on a regular basis. You can't tell me that the people with skin adorned with lovely colors are not seen or felt in our daily lives. They're all over the place, but they were not in that room in sufficient numbers this morning, an oversight that I think deserves an explanation and maybe even an apology.

1 comment:

  1. Dan, You say this doesn't tell you much about the Roanoke Valley. Sadly I think it tells us alot. As long as the same 20 old white guys are running the show nothing will change.