Are Black People welcome at HamCation 2022?
In a lifeless promotional video for Hamcation 2022 hosted by ARRL President Rick Roderick K5UR and ARRL CEO David Minster NA2AA — there are 32 White people in the video. No Black Hams shown. This is an example of the ARRL’s mindset. This is not an oversight. The absence of Black hams in league publications is common. The city of Orlando, Florida is 24.5% Black. Did the ARRL run this video by the City of Orlando’s office of diversity and inclusion? If not. Why not?
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The current issue of QST has no Black hams featured in articles or editorial content. Same with the Current Issue of On the Air. A random review of back issues in the last 12 months of both of these league publications will confirm an editorial indifference to diversity. It is not uncommon to see months pass without a Single Black American Ham photo in QST.
That the President of the ARRL, Rick Roderick and the ARRL CEO, David Minster, would sign off on the Hamcation 2022 Video shows how ignorant they are as “leaders”. Any professional overseeing a large public event in 2021 would immediately notice the absence of diversity in this “White privilege” production. Diversity is not just a word. It is demonstrated by actions.
Has the ARRL Editorial Director Becky Schoenfeld W1BXY had any diversity awareness training? Does she even look for diversity representation in the publications? Typically the “Editorial Director” of an organization oversees all content. Is there an editorial policy at the ARRL to minimize minority images? Is there a single Black professional employee on the editorial team at the ARRL? Yes racial inclusion matters. These questions deserve to be answered transparently and published. (Transparency is not a trait the ARRL has exhibited in the past.) W1BXY worked for companies that would not embrace the QST-editorial style.
“Any magazine is a reflection of the audience it serves and QST is perhaps even more so.”
In a recent QST Editorial David Minster called for Ideas in a piece entitled “Ideation” He wants you to fill out a text only form (it looks like a grade school slip to send home to Mom) and then the ARRL staff will vet these “ideas” for their worthiness. Minster does not call for ideas on the ARRL web site or in public streams where all could see or contribute. He does not ask for full on presentations in video, graphics, data format and electronic media that can be shared as is typical in any substantive pitch.
Here are some real world “ideas” to contribute toward addressing the sclerotic culture of the ARRL and it’s editorial problems.
Since there have been so many issues of QST over the years that display White people only.
- PUBLISH an Issue where only Black Hams are featured. Followed by an Hispanics ONLY issue. And Asian…. Or flip a coin on the order of precedence. If Whites can be shown often exclusively in league publications– then surely a Minority only issue is not only appropriate but long overdue.
2. Suspend Roderick, Minster and Schoenfeld from their official ARRL duties until:
A) They each take one of the many outstanding diversity training programs offered around the nation. Corporate leaders, military, non-profits , government employees have all participated in these programs. Diversity training and demonstrated competence is required and on going at many organizations. The Cornell University Diversity program is among the highly regarded.
B) Once Roderick, Minster and Schoenfeld have successfully completed this first step they should appear on scheduled ARRL media platforms and share with the Ham community their diversity learning experience. Members should have the option to question Roderick, Minister and Schoenfeld in a public online streamed session.
C) Send Schoenfeld to a Graduate school level journalism program to learn how to cover diverse communities. She has not demonstrated any awareness of this process. There are some exciting and useful storytelling methods in that space. Schoenfeld needs to identify and immediately launch a monthly column in QST by a Black ham. (Or rotating) And publish their actual photo! End the White Privilege tone of QST.
D) The ARRL should immediately hire an outside Diversity consultant to set up training for all league employees and volunteers. (Most League decisions are made by a group of white men sitting around a table as they have repeatedly shown us over the years.– In this case- Call the NAACP and ask their advice.) This is common practice in communities, businesses and government across the nation. And further, Publish the demographics of the staff at the ARRL and their positions. Many large companies routinely publish the demographics of their organizations.
The links below should be required reading for Roderick, Minster and Schoenfeld and the entire HamCation Team.
LINKs to Sources for your research: 1) Google Diversity Report. 2) Microsoft’s 2020 Diversity & Inclusion report 3) US Department of Defense Diversity and Inclusion. 4) Diversity and Awareness Training Spring 2021 Univ of Connecticut 5) Race and Equity for Journalists. Poytner
These are but beginning steps. Stop with the committee’s of white men. Just launch a program and show you mean it. And report on it.
This is not a racial justice chant for BLM — this is about the absence of basic decency and inclusion of your fellow man.
Mike Whatley. WA4D
WA4D first attended corporate mandated diversity training in the 1990’s at NBC in Washington DC. And multiple subsequent sessions over the. years. As well as at Disney owned ABC in Los Angeles through the 2000’s to 2013.