This blogger’s first post and Zennie62 on YouTube vlog, was a celebration of the completion of 601 City Center in Downtown Oakland, the last truly large building for the 30-year-old City Center Development Complex.
Now, the 12 block development that was the result of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency’s removal of Victorian homes during the early 1970s, then the hard work of Bramalea Development Company in the late 1980s, can be considered complete when the state-of-the-art skyscraper opens.
There’s just one issue with 601 City Center, and it’s the way its being marketed as reflected in its website, here. The website presents an Oakland that’s seemingly devoid of anyone black. While it’s easy to spot the images of white people in the artists paintings, and a white hispster-looking bartender’s photo is part of the assembly, there’s not one photo or painting of anyone who’s obviously black.
What bothers this blogger, too, is the person in charge of marketing 601 City Center is someone I know who’s a long time Oaklander. I’ll just leave it at that. This is not personal, this is about the kind of messages, the kind of images of Oakland businesses present, and what that says about the kind of Oakland they really want.
The images also communicate to anyone who’s not an Oaklander what Oakland’s culture is like from the point of view of the business, in this case the marketers of 601 City Center. Given the “BBQ Becky” incident caused by Jennifer Schulte, and the “Jogger Joe” attack that was done by Henry Sintay, one would think Oaklanders would be more vigilant in their collective desire to send a message that the watch words is racial diversity. Period.
The marketing of 601 City Center Oakland does not send that message. It seems to fear showing any obvious that a black Oakland exists – like an African American man in an office, facing the camera, so you can see that he is, in fact, black. I certainly hope that’s not intentional on the part of the marketers of 601 City Center. I dearly hope it was a slight. A mistake. Something they want to fix, and something they will fix.
Sending a message of inclusion can help make the difference between life and death for many black Oaklanders. I never thought I’d see Oakland change in a way where racism is a problem, but we’ve changed to where it is, and we have to purely and simply stop it.
Come on folks at 601 City Center Oakland, you can do it!
Just do it!
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media