Politically correct job titles are the butt of jokes, so I was amazed to receive an email today from Oxfam’s “Black minority ethic press officer”.
Perhaps all the time Oxfam spends securing subsidies from the European Commission and our own Department for International Development has made the charity immune to how absurd people outside career politics find this sort of thing.
The incumbent, Jonaid Jilani, tells me that there is no requirement to be black to take the post and that his job is to promote his message to “ethnic” people. But isn’t there something rather nasty about dividing people by their colour?
And no as well. For it does rather depend upon the details. In a large press office (and I wouldn\’t be at all surprised to hear that Oxfam has such) it makes perfect sense to do a bit of vertical segmentation. Different people handling the national newspapers, radio and or TV, regional papers (possibly even concentrating upon one region), the \”black and ethnic\” media (The Voice, various different language papers, certain radio stations etc) and so on.
Could be something as trivial as inserting lines into a standard press release (\”donating to Oxfam helps people in (insert name of ethnic minority/country here)\” ) sort of stuff to having a rolodex which contains the names and interests of that specific set of editors.
You know, in the same way that someone who wanted to reach out to the older middle class segment might keep the phone number of a leader writer on the Hellograph handy?