Wednesday, October 19, 2016

If you want more diversity, Black culture needs to change.

Oh yes, I'm stepping on the third rail today. You see, every time I read an article about how Silicon Valley cares deeply about diversity, but they are totally confused as to why they don't have more of it I just get a little pissed off.

You see - the fact that tech companies have so few black workers has always stood out to everyone who thinks about it for a minute. When Mr S. moved to California he was shocked at how many Black people worked in tech (almost none). We've had many discussions about it.

I don't find the whole thing that perplexing. As I've said many times before - I grew up poor. I never thought about going into tech. I wanted to be a veterinarian. Tech was never on my radar. Until I realized I probably wouldn't be able to be a vet. It takes a really long time. And kids from poor families don't have that kind of time.

After landing a job as a receptionist at a tech company I realized I would have to change my goals. So I started learning sysamin stuff and eventually got a job in a field which was 99.99% men at the time.

How does my situation apply to Black people? Well, as a poor kid  - you do look at Oakland and wonder endlessly why poor Black kids weren't trying at all to get into tech companies any way they could. Like I did. Start on the bottom. Work your way up.

When I grew up we were suppose to be color blind. I think if they would have actually tried they could have gotten in just like I did. But working in tech simply wasn't cool. Being a nerd wasn't cool. And working for whitey would make you an Uncle Tom. After all, poor black kids used get beat up for being smart. Or too white. IMO these are the biggest factors in why there hasn't been more Black people in tech. That's all. Just the cool factor and peer pressure. Seriously!

Likely tech companies don't really have to do much to influence diversity. If it's cool enough to your peers, they will come. You can't make them come if they don't want to. It isn't rocket science.

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