Blacks in Tech, what are we asking for?


Soooo, I hear a lot about discrimination in the “tech” industry. The argument is that Black people & more broadly POC are shut out of the industry. There are many professional organizations, Ivy League institutions, and governmental agencies that are tracking this data. At first glance it appears that there’s no equity in that sector. Let’s unpack some of the data on this topic.

What the heck is “Tech”? that term is used in the broadest context one can think of. It’s worth noting that there aren’t any widespread credible studies that break the industry down by job category & race. I’d venture to say that there never will be such a study produced, because private companies are under no obligation to disclose this information, and any such study would be bias because the companies that would participate in the study would do it voluntarily for 2 purposes; they want to increase their DEI #’s, or they are proud of their DEI #’s. with that in mind let’s go with what we know.

Most of the arguments being made is that 14% of the US population identify as Black yet only 7.4% of Blacks in “High-Tech Industries” are black. Very difficult to make a discrimination claim when more than ½ the US Black population works in “High-Tech Industries”. Okay, I know, I’m being facetious, however let’s think about such a measurement. Is the argument that 14% of “High-Tech” workers should be Black? Are we asking for 14% of the leadership at these firms to be Black? Did anyone ever ask these Black “High Tech” workers what they want? While this country has a long history, present, & future of discrimination it’s difficult to make the claim that an industry itself is discriminatory. 

Consider this statistic, 68% of “High Tech Industries” workers are Asian, yet the Asian US population is approximately 6.7%. Harvard & Yale saw this as unequitable so decided to make it more difficult for Asians to be admitted, by adding litmus test around culture, customs, & “social norms”. Are Asians no longer POC? I don’t know, it’s really confusing, nonetheless this is the state we find ourselves in. 

There are organizations that are advocating for more equitable results in hiring practices from corporations & public agencies from Sr. Level Management to engineering jobs. I tip my hat to anyone that gets into the arena and fight the good fights, however I think it’s critical that we know what we’re fighting for. 

The Power Group, Business Intelli Solutions, KitelyTech, GoodieBoxx, & Enertia Software are all Black Owned Tech firms in Dallas TX. These software developers & retailers that have offices & warehouse spaces within walking distance from AT&T Discovery, Amazon, & Apple locations here in DFW. Gro Intelligence Reach Industries, Lisnr, Calendy, Labz, PopCom, Inpathy, PlayVS, Flutterwave, and Pindrop are all Black Owned Tech firms. Could it be that we are advocating for the wrong cause? The firms I highlighted are doing well, however they could scale exponentially & have significant impact to the High Tech industry if they were better capitalized. VC’s give billions annually to tech startups that don’t make much impact & fail fast, yet don’t see the value in 1 million to a black owned firm. Instead of shaming firms that don’t hire talent that looks they way some may think they should, what if we channeled that energy towards raising capital for firms that’s interested in growing & developing talent within their community? 

I’m not saying that discrimination on the basis of race & gender isn’t a thing, however I am saying ELMO, enough, lets move on. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sex, class, etc etc is as American as Apple Pie & lynching, however if we keep looking at the table across the room, the cuisine dishes on our table will get cold. The Black owned firms mentioned above are the cream dela cream, let’s not spend anymore time & resources on old ideas. ELMO!!!!

Zerius B.   

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