Racism Part 2

Yesterday someone sent me an email after reading my blog entry.

Jen R— [email protected] via smtp.com

Mar 18 (1 day ago)

to me
Hi Chuck,

While searching for resources about racism, I came across your site and saw that you had talked about the topic. I wanted reach out with a graphic about the absence of minorities in today’s booming tech industry, which I think would be a great fit for your site. Would you be interested in taking a look?

Thanks in advance,
Jen

 

 

Jen R— [email protected]

2:24 PM (8 hours ago)

to me
Hi Chuck,

The graphic I was referring to lives here: http://www.onlineitdegree.net/is-tech-racist/

I think your readers will enjoy it, so feel free to share it and let me know if you do! I’d love to get your thoughts as well.

Thanks again,
Jen

 

 

 

Here is my response to her:

Hey Jen
I looked at the graphic and being a minority in tech for the last 18
years, I could not disagree with you more.

I would agree that there is an alarming skew as to the racial
breakdown of minorities in tech, I would love nothing more than to see
that skew changed. However, from my personal observation and
experience, that skew is not due to racism.

If anything, my experience is that tech industry is the least racially
biased. Computer’s don’t care what your race is, it either works or it
doesn’t. Job performance is always very clear cut in the tech world,
either your code works or it doesn’t.

In my near 20 years as a software developer, I’ve only worked with 3
black developers. Out of the 3, only one was a really sharp developer
and I’ve had the pleasure to work with him in two separate companies.
Out of hundreds of developers I’ve worked with or have known, ONLY
THREE are black. This is both in corporations, academia, and interest
groups.

The reason you don’t see many minorities in tech is the same as the
reason you don’t see minorities in professional classical music.
Getting into tech is like getting into classical music, you start
learning when you are young. By the time you reach college, you have
to already be quite accomplished as a techie, just as you would have
to master your musical instrument BEFORE you apply for music school.

Its not that tech companies are biased against minorities. I’ve been
involved in several companies that have mandated hiring policies to
strongly attract minorities. In all my experience, it has not been a
bias against, but that there simply were not enough and sometimes not
any candidates.

The problem with minorities in tech is really that there aren’t enough
encouragement for minority children to be interested in tech.
Computer’s aren’t as cool as sports. Parents will go to football
games, but would not participate in hackathons.

I glad you see that there is some sort of problem with minorities in
tech, but I don’t agree with your assessment that racism is the
culprit.

Subtle and offensive

Sitting at my favorite French bistro in the lower east side contemplating about racism. Although the area is considered LES, the majority of the population is Chinese. Sadly very few Chinese would eat here due to the cultural and culinary differences.
I’ve been eating here regularly for many years and for most of the staff here, I’ve been here longer than the furniture.
Today a young waitress whom I have never met was sitting at the bar eating her breakfast. I sat myself down on my regular bar stool and opened my iPad to enjoy my morning. She looked up and impatiently asked, “Do you want something?”
A strange question to ask a patron. She didn’t bother to bring me a menu. In her eyes, what would I possibly want with a menu?
This young woman who seemed to be in her early twenties would not have escaped the massive diversity education indoctrinated into every child since the eighties. As a minority, I have experienced outright racism and the more subtle variety. I prefer the outright racist. They are on the fringe and relatively few in number. The subtle ones don’t realize their own attitude and would probably regurgitate their anti racism curriculum when asked. They live amongst us like a Manchurian Candidate ready to strike with their character assassination.
I looked up at her and replied, “coffee and food”. I hope that she would catch herself in her own prejudice. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be the case. Just then the manager walked over to greet me, he shook my hand, politely exchanged some familiarities and handed me a menu. “Coffee as usual?”, he asked. Yes, let’s start the day over beginning at this moment.