Sensitivity to Diversity

Dear Management Doctor:

I always enjoy the cartoon contests.

One observation I have is that the cartoons mostly feature men (as this one does entirely), and often the women that are in the cartoons are in lesser roles. At the San Francisco Planning Department, the ratio of men to women is about equal, and in my division, women are in 6 out of 8 of the management positions. Also, I can't recall a cartoon that depicted a person of color, of which there are some (though not as many as we would like) in our office. Any way to select cartoons that reflect diverse workplaces such as ours?

I know these cartoons are meant for fun, and not to make cultural statements. But please consider this as food for thought.

Lisa Gibson

Dear Lisa,

Thanks so much for these comments. I totally agree with you. I’m not certain how to solve this issue with the cartoons. I had a partnership with the cartoonist, Dean Vietor, who passed away in 2007. Before he died he gave me rights to the cartoons.I have been putting up the front money in hopes of finding a national publisher. If we ever make any money, we pay off my front money and then split 50/50. This arrangement will be continued with his wife. So far I have published two books using Dean’s cartoons, Mis-Management, and Cats, Dogs & Friends at the Office. Both are available for purchase on our website, www.zuckersystems.com. I hope to turn the cartoon contest into another book.  

I’ll take another look at the cartoons I have but am afraid the diversity you and I would like is not there and I have to work with the cartoons I have. Most of Dean’s cartoons and work took place in the 70’s and 80’s which accounts for the way people are illustrated.  I know that if Dean were alive today we could easily expand the content of the cartoons.

Some of the planners offering titles have worked in a way to be more creative with the cartoons, particularly in relation to women’s issues. I liked one of them so much that, even though it was not voted best of the month, I gave it a special prize. I think it is one of the best we have received in relation to having a woman in a power position. Here it is again below.

Thanks for the needed reminder,

The Management Doctor

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