ADV/PR Equity Council Statement Regarding Stan Richards’ Racist Comments
Nov. 5, 2020
To the students and faculty of the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations and the greater UT Austin Community:
For a long time, we thought of Stan Richards as a leader in our industry. But after hearing that he considered an ad “too Black” and advocated for “white supremacist constituents,” we realize that we were wrong. Richards’ words were not those uttered by a leader— certainly not one we want or need in this industry if we are striving to make it a better place for all people. There is no such thing as “too Black” if “too white” is not a concern. His relaxed usage of the terms relating to "white supremacy" is alarming, especially after the unrest we have experienced as a country in the past year alone. There should not be any room for considering the perspectives of those who are fueled by hate and discourage a future of progressivism in our country. Even if Richards’ intention was to point out the need for inclusivity, his use of language was not appropriate for a leader of an organization. Especially not one in the ad industry today. There is no excuse for using such inconsiderate words.
Richards’ apology and statements afterward only solidified our concern that he does not understand the many wrongs that took place. In his apology to Stan Richards’ School, Richards explicitly owned his mistake, but we believe he is more concerned with salvaging his reputation and his company than actually growing as a person. In an interview conducted by Texas Monthly, Richards said “On reflection, instead of using those three words [It’s too Black], I could have said something that was much more clouded in its meaning. And it would have saved an awful lot of trouble.” It is shocking to us that after all the backlash he received, he is most concerned about the trouble he went through. What about the trouble that Black people face in this country? What about the trouble that every single minority, racial or otherwise, faces in this country? This nullifies his apology completely. It’s clear that he isn’t upset with himself for the racially insensitive comments—he is upset that he got caught.
This is not the leadership we need, and this is not the leadership we deserve. We need leaders who don’t place value on those who hate. We need leaders who are active in the effort to make our industry a more diverse and equitable place. We need leaders who when mistakes are made, dedicate themselves to improving themselves and lifting up those they wronged. We need and deserve accountability, transparency, and leadership that understands that the industry and world has a long way to go on the path to real change and that no historically underrepresented group is “too” anything.
We are the Texas ADV/PR Equity Student Council.
From this day forward, we are no longer the Stan Richards School's Equity Council.
We do not stand with Stan Richards or anyone who would come to his defense.
We stand with those who, like us, have a dream for what the future of our industry could be, and will do whatever it takes to see it through.
As members of the world of advertising and public relations, this council vows to be the leaders we wish to have.
We will work tirelessly towards a diverse space where no person is above another and all voices are valued equally.
We are the future and we accept that responsibility with pride.
The Texas ADV/PR Equity Student Council
And others who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retribution