Tech Industry Racist: Does Discrimination Prevail in the Tech World?
Ever heard anyone say the face may change but the situation is still the same? Whether you believe it or not, racism is very much alive. The only thing that's changed is the expression of those who feel the need to separate from people of color.
Recently writer Jamelle Bouie wrote a blog post highlighting racism in the technical and media industries. The post was about as honest and truthful as it gets, but some people like tech blogger/millionaire Jason Calacanis believe that these industries are all about meritocracy. In his own post, Calacanis basically says that even though racists and racism exist, the tech world is all about the product so race doesn't matter. No offense. Mr. Calacanis, but do you understand what it's like to be a person of color? Are you that naive to believe racism exists in the world but not in the tech/journalism industry?
To say that there are no people of color — African Americans, Asians, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Middle Easterners — in the bylines of tech magazines and other publications would be absurd. Bouie was on point when he said that you will find only a few people of color.
When it comes to tech and journalism, white males dominate for the most part. The presence of women and people of color never look equal if they are present at all. Sometimes it looks like they're attempting to fill a quota as opposed to hiring in a color blind manner.
Not all companies and publications are color struck, which is a blessing to me and many others. We must face that we still live in a world where people of color had to fight (and are still fighting) to be seen as truly equal to their white counterparts. Just because you had life opportunities doesn't mean that everyone else did or everyone else does.
Though African Americans and Hispanics are huge internet users, there's a difference between using the product and developing it. One piece in the Wall Street Journal brought to light how many high school students are resorting to studying at McDonald's for its free Wi-Fi.
It's one thing to be able to surf the internet and tweet from your phone, but how can you do research or apply for a job? For many people of color, in-home internet access is as much of a luxury as cable or satellite. With limited access to internet to begin with, many youngsters don't even think of a career in the technical world. In response to this fact and the lack of diversity in the tech world, Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization that introduces young girls of color to digital technology and computer coding.
For a large number of college grads who are people of color, they're the first of their family to graduate college. There is sometimes a tremendous amount of pressure to go into a more traditional fields such as law or medicine for the financial stability.
Technical/media jobs often require unpaid internships and inconsistent paychecks that many people just can't afford.
Nate Boateng, co-founder of Culture Milk, explained how some minority students have told him that they simply can't afford to not get paid. When your pockets are bare and your family is depending on you, sometimes your dreams and passions have to take a backseat to providing. Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything is expensive except for our salaries, and many parents are single.
Many believe were on the verge of a post-race world. There are more mixed people and families than ever. It's getting to the point where race doesn't even matter anymore, as if it ever truly did.
Race talk may be uncomfortable, but it's time we all stop sugarcoating and start being real. Mr. Calacanis' post was quite persuasive but it's clear that he and everyone who believes in the myth of meritocracy pertaining to the tech/journalism world are living in the clouds and not in reality.