Adland execs launch 'It's Black & White' to ask questions, create perspective and help make change

"Based on your experiences, your truth might look different pending on if you're black or white."

In light of the recent protests fighting against racial injustice, a group of advertising executives have joined forces to launch a website and movement aimed at addressing "the strained relationship between black and white people."

The initiative, dubbed "It’s Black & White," was created by a collective of individuals from Courageous, Brown & Browner, Gut San Diego, Made by J, Curtis, The Oneill Code, Modifly and Sauer Works.  

"Some issues in America there’s no grey on. They’re simply black and white. Yet, based on your experiences, your truth might look different pending on if you’re black or white," said Courageous Founder Ryan Berman.

That’s where the "It’s Black & White" 10-question online survey comes into play.

"The idea was to ask the same 10 questions and showcase differences in many of the answers. All in the spirit of creating perspective, empathy and understanding," said Berman.

Some of the questions include: What is the color of your skin? Do you have a close friend that is black? Do you believe hard work puts you on your path for a promotion? And the questions are followed up with quotes or data, such as a Harvard Business Review statistic revealing that the unemployment rate for black youth is 26.6 percent, which is nearly double that of white youth at 13.5 percent. Data gathered from each response is collected and shared at the end of the questionnaire.

In addition to the online survey website, the group worked with Modifly, a social media agency, to create @Standwith& on Instagram. The collective also unveiled a video as part of the launch to showcase the power of the ampersand symbol (&).

Stand with & from Ryan Berman on Vimeo.

"We intended for the ‘infinite ampersand’ logo-mark to not only function as a traditional 'and,’ but also to convey the important sentiment of equality through togetherness and unity," said Gut San Diego's Ahab Nimry, who designed the more inclusive &. 

Nimry added: "We don't want our ‘and’ to just be an ‘also,’ but rather bring anyone on either side together as one."

According to Brown & Browner’s Derek Walker, the collective hopes that the effort starts to get people thinking and talking about race, while creating more understanding along the way.

"We are trying to help people understand other people," said Walker. "We're trying to say that there is more than one view of things, and depending on the lens you are looking through shapes how you see things. We need to be okay with looking at things from another point of view."

He added that Berman is the one who brought the group together with the intent of forming a network of people who look nothing like one another.

"The idea is we’re better as an &. Ideas get better thanks to &. Entertainment is richer because of &. Food is far more interesting thanks to &. The group that brought this to life came together as an &," said Berman.

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