by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Many of you read my article today about the “interesting” decision by Hallmark to release a Father’s Day card for black women. I didn’t reach out to the company to request an explanation, but apparently, they enjoy reading articles about themselves on the Internet.
So, out of fairness to Hallmark, I decided that I would publish the email they sent to me so everyone who had an opinion on the greeting card would be able to hear their perspective. Their words seem interesting enough, but I can say as a Finance Professor that the goal of nearly any corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth. We’d be silly not to expect Hallmark (like many other companies) to see the dollar signs behind black families that are falling apart, as they seek ways to create a holiday out of just about anything.
I’d love to find out if the person who wrote this email is African American, but based on what I know about this company’s diversity numbers, they probably are not. I would say that a lack of corporate diversity could be the culprit of such insensitive behavior, but more often than not, racially-irresponsible corporate products are often created by African American marketing professionals. I’d also suspect that any black employees of Hallmark are either not empowered to speak out on offensive products or simply care more about earning a paycheck than defending the integrity of the black family. That’s the trap we all fall into when we sell our souls for the corporate paper chase.
Their letter from Hallmark is below:
We read your column with interest and thought it might be helpful to share some additional information with you.
Hallmark’s goal is to offer cards for the wide range of our consumers’ relationships so that everyone who wants to connect with others in positive ways can find a card to meet their need. For years, consumers have expressed a desire for cards addressing this relationship, and we’ve offered them for the past several seasons. The Mahogany Father’s Day collection included 66 cards to help people honor dad and other special men in their lives, and that selection included two cards recognizing mom. Please note that our general Hallmark Father’s Day line also included a “To Mother on Father’s Day” card and several “Like a Father” cards to acknowledge those who play a father-like role in someone’s life.
We’ve shared your post and the discussion in the blogosphere with the Mahogany team. It’s always helpful to have insight from varying perspectives as we plan selections to meet people’s card-sending needs.
Public Relations | Hallmark Cards, Inc.
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