Facets: Issue 35

April 8, 2017

I’m not "Black enough" for Inc. Magazine

Brian Brackeen
"[People] seem to need a 'rose that grew from concrete' struggle story, as validation of my determination and fortitude — and my success."

Inc. magazine passed on Brackeen’s founder story because he wasn’t the “archetypal Black founder.” The very existence of this stereotype is damaging. In response, Brackeen points out the absurdity of placing the emphasis on black struggle rather than success; if we look past it, we find the complex, prismatic stories that we should feature to begin with.

Burning Out, Bowing Out, and How Bridges Sometimes Burn

Camille E. Acey
"as a wife, mother, and human being with a full-time job at a certain point I run out of steam and have to bow out -- usually gracefully but sometimes not so much."

Sometimes it’s OK to bow out, to say no and step aside. Tech has a nasty habit of demanding the marginalised to be diversity advocates, and this hyper-involvement can compromise self-care. Acey shares her thoughts on reasons and methods for bowing out, and how to prepare for the process and others’ reactions.

"Howard West," and Epidemic of Black Scrutiny

Hallie Lomax
"This is a toxic relationship, and I think it’s time for Howard to move on to someone who wants to do right by them."

After experiencing it, Lomax delivers some harsh truths about the Googler in Residence (GIR) program. While great in theory, the program manifests as a disrespectful recruiting exercise; Howard and its students foot the bill, while the careers of Google engineers are affected as they— in addition to writing curricula, tests, homework assignments, and teaching— are still expected to complete their full-time engineering work.

What It’s Really Like to Be Young, Black, and an African Tech Startup Entrepreneur (in Africa)

Wiza Jalakasi
"this is potentially a side-effect of African culture, you spend your whole life being punished and reprimanded when you fail and all of a sudden someone is telling you that failure is good."

There’s a homogeneity to tech success stories, and there shouldn’t be. What are the obstacles to building tech outside of the white Silicon Valley community, and why do they exist? Jalakasi tells his story— of founding startups, difficult decisions, and where he finds himself today. He describes the obstacles facing for African tech, and hopes for a world in which solutions to African problems will originate in Africa, built and championed by Africans.

"your company tries to own your public persona."

Alice Goldfuss on how the employers of women in tech can and do try to control their narratives. Truth and advocacy fall by the wayside, as staying quiet becomes the only option.

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