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Color Matters

IAEE DE&I Committee Member and Past IAEE Chairperson Carrie Ferenac offers an eye-opening reflection on the trouble with being “colorblind” and why it’s okay to talk about it.

By Carrie Ferenac

When I was young, I was taught that we should treat all people equally, regardless of color.

While I whole-heartedly believe we should treat all people equally, I have since learned that color really does matter.

As a white, cisgender, Gen X-er, I have a lot to learn about color, and it’s not always an easy topic. That said, I believe that we shouldn’t aim to be “colorblind,” but instead accept and celebrate color.

This lesson has been on display lately as the world watched the Super Bowl. For the first time, there were two black quarterbacks starting in the game. Patrick Mahomes from the Chiefs and Jalen Hurts from the Eagles made history. We should acknowledge and celebrate that accomplishment.

A local sports anchor in Jacksonville, Florida reported this, and actually received backlash. He, himself, was called racist. The station supported his decision to respond, and he nailed it.

Watch the 2:00 clip below:

“Bottom line, I cannot ignore this historic fact, and that this is relevant to a lot of people who are already dealing with attempts to quash history.” – Chris Porter

I spent more than a decade as a broadcast journalist, and I can promise you there were a lot of conversations about Chris’s response. I’m sure there were discussions about the anchor voicing his opinion, taking a side, and making a statement. In the end, they took the high road, and stood behind him. They even gave him a new segment called “Speak on It” so he can do more editorial content in the future. It’s a reminder that organizations can make a difference. From television stations, to associations, to trade shows – we can take a stand.

I support Chris Porter, everything he said, and the TV station that stood behind him. Color matters, and we should celebrate it.

About the Author

Carrie Ferenac and her business partner, Marcelo Zolessi, co-founded Convention News Television (CNTV) in 2007 after seeing a need for digital content and live production in the exhibitions and events industry. Now, the company produces live and remote content for more than 70 clients annually. The video stories bring events to life and offer associations and for-profit show organizers a new stream of revenue through sponsorships. CNTV also partners with IAEE, PCMA, TSNN and Tradeshow Executive to produce video content and live coverage of industry events throughout the year.

Carrie has an extensive background in broadcast journalism and management. She spent 11 years at the NBC affiliate in Orlando (WESH-TV). Now, Carrie is entrenched in the meetings industry and has served as chairperson for the IAEE and CEIR Board of Directors, among various other committees and task forces. She was a finalist for PCMA’s Supplier of the year in 2017 and 2019. She also volunteers her time and energy to projects that move the industry forward.

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