Facets: Issue 21

June 25, 2016

Racial Fault Lines in Silicon Valley

Makinde Adeagbo
"Difficult conversations about race and gender allow us to break out of this bubble, if only briefly, and appreciate what most of this country experiences."

“Why is it no longer okay to say n****r?” Adeagbo tells the story of an interview in which he was asked this question, and that conversation’s wider implication on race relations not just in Silicon Valley, but the rest of America as well. He asks what it means to be able to bring one’s full self to work, and how the lines that Silicon Valley has drawn make that difficult. But we are encouraged to break out of that bubble, to share difficult experiences, have difficult conversations and open mindsets— and learn about each other in the process.

What If Tech's Biggest Diversity Problem Is Silicon Valley Itself?

Salvador Rodriguez
"When tech companies ask minorities to move to the Bay Area or New York for them, they’re asking those candidates to make big changes to their style of living."

A geographical take on the diversity debate: here, Rodriguez asks whether or not tech can truly be diverse if its largest companies are headquartered in cities which are historically not. Companies are reflections of the cities they’re based in, and when hiring minority applicants to come work in the Bay area or in New York, they may not know just how drastic a change they’re asking those candidates to make. This compromises’ employees’ quality of life, and jeopardises tech diversity in the process.

Autistics in the Silicon Valley

Erika Lynn Abigail
"If a tech company wants to seriously engage Autistics in the work environment, they must comprehend that we are not burdens, and that we are competent."

Abigail acknowledges that while there have been attempts made to increase the size of the Autistic workforce in Silicon Valley, more care needs to be taken in executing those attempts. Most importantly, we can no longer allow the “quirky, anti-social” stereotype to dominate the narrative and undermine those efforts. There are errors in our language, our perceptions, and the assumptions we make— all of which require systemic attention and change.

Resource: /dev/color

Started in 2015, /dev/color is a non-profit community of Black software engineers, helping one another reach their career goals and advance their careers, in Silicon Valley and beyond. The organisation provides support and connections, including peer coaching and mentorship, and creates a community which fosters career advancement and industry change.

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