Culture And Race Need A Conscious Uncoupling

Flashback to this time last year and Carlos Alcaraz made U.S. Open and ATP history, becoming the youngest No. 1 ranked player in the world.

Coco Gauff’s latest U.S. Open victory was given a presidential seal of approval.

Both Carlos and Coco struck a cultural chord, without anything to do with race or ethnicity- game, set, match. The endorsements, partnership opportunities, and content and social influencer activations will soon follow, but will marketers deem this a multicultural or general market activation? 

Ariana DeBose made history as first Afro Latina, openly queer actor of color to win an Academy Award for acting.

Rihanna was the first female billionaire and the first known pregnant person to star in a Super Bowl Halftime Show, which also became the most watched of all time.

As “the minority” continues to become “the majority,” and continues to make history, we hope that the term “minority” dissolves as quickly as an IG story and we pave the path to become One Market -- powered by sophisticated business intelligence suites and leveled up with cultural insights rather than multicultural demographics.



Multicultural terminology was born from activism, but has since become marketing jargon.

In the 1970s, activists lobbied the U.S. Census Bureau to create a category that included Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants, who were being classified as White; the term “Hispanic” was born.

The term “Latino” dates to the 19th Century, but only made its first appearance in the 2000 Census.

“LatinX”, the gender-neutral version of “Latino” that emerged in the 2000s, has not gained much traction, with only one in four U.S. Hispanics having even heard of the term.

With this slew of multicultural targeting terms also came new strategies such as “total market” (using general market creative to target U.S. Hispanic consumers), but this again ignored the nuances and cultural insights of specific segments that are proven to increase the probability of higher advertising ROI.

The U.S. Hispanic viewpoint was perfectly encapsulated by Danny Trejo in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert:“ "All Hispanics aren’t Latinos, and all Latinos aren’t Hispanic, but all Latinos and all Hispanics are incredibly handsome.”

All the signs point towards the notion that culture and race need an uncoupling.

For culture to redefine its course, it needs rebranding.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the star of Mindy Kaling’s “Never Have I Ever,” has touched upon this notion in her red carpet remarks, “I get a lot of comments from people, even from a white person, and they are like, ‘Oh, my God, I related to "Never Have I Ever".’ And I’m like, Yeah. I don’t think losing a parent is just a South Asian thing. It happens to other people. Going through high school is not just a South Asian thing -- a good majority of us did that. Even though I am South Asian, I want people to know we aren’t that different. Our stories are relatable.” 

We can certainly relate. We are all horses in the race, but race is not what makes the unicorn.

There are a plethora of definitions of culture, and most tap into the notions of groups, customs, beliefs and time. They say timing is everything, right? Simu Liu, who dons the cape of Marvel’s First Asian Superhero, fittingly timed his book release announcement on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

The U.S. Postal Service’s Lunar New Year stamps have also found a place in pop culture and are #makinghistory as some of the most successful issues in the history of the Postal Service.

As we approach the fourth quarter, closing the books on the Year of the Rabbit, let’s hop forward together.

It is believed that The Rabbit tends to affect those people who are too attracted to comfort, which makes them forget about the value of responsibility. Let’s make it our responsibility to get uncomfortable with the marriage of culture and race, and with the terms multicultural and general market.

We are one market.

Next story loading loading..