Part 2: Different Opinions about Diversity Problems in Tech

For part 1, click here.

Based on my primary research, I discovered the opinion difference between a dominant group and underrepresented group. Mr. Levenson, ENGR 100 Instructor at SFSU claimed that tech industries have plenty of resources for anyone regardless of race or ethnic backgrounds, but the underrepresented groups have zero interests in it. On the other hand, Javier Kirksey, a 4th year SFSU Computer Engineering Student, argued that tech industries need to expand their resources as the underrepresented groups doesn’t have equal opportunities. There are tech companies that agrees with Mr. Levenson’s point of view. According to the article “How Blacks and Latinos Are Left out of Tech Hiring” by Stephanie Morillo, Tech Companies claimed that there are not enough African Americans or Hispanics for them to hire because the underrepresented groups are not interested in tech. 

Other tech companies such as Facebook have their own arguments on the lack of diversity. According to the article “It’s Time for Silicon Valley to Stop Making Excuses on Diversity” by Salvador Rodriguez, JT, a 26 years old African American who is a holder of master’s degree in engineering and business, had been denied a job opportunity by Facebook. 2 weeks later, Facebook tweeted that the lack of diversity stems from the “lack of skillfully trained females and underrepresented minorities” (Rodriguez). JT stated that Facebook’s statement was a “slap to the face” due the fact that he and other underrepresented minorities has outstanding resume and mental capacity to succeed in tech industries (Rodriguez). On the other hand, the article “How Blacks and Latinos Are Left out of Tech Hiring” by Stephanie Morillo argued that not many underrepresented minorities came from schools with resources and computer science classes, making them unexposed to the work ethics of tech industries, which discouraged underrepresented minorities in pursuing tech careers.

Does Silicon Valley Really Care about Diversity?

Silicon Valley Tech Firms are aware of diversity issues, but their call to action has been questioned. The Huffington Post article “Silicon Valley Doesn’t Care about Black People” by Justin Edmond goes into the actual social issues about the lives of African Americans, which is unrelated to my topic, but very interesting comparisons. The article uses ethos appeals to talk about the social issue of police brutality towards African Americans and the fact that Silicon Valley is silent about police killing black folks. “If they really thought that hiring black people was in their best interest, they wouldn’t let them be killed in the streets by police” said Edmond “The point is, if technology leaders want to solve their diversity problem, they have to prove that they understand our issues, struggles, and our fears. The overwhelming majority don’t, and they have research to do.”

Furthermore, tech companies promised diversity throughout decades; but the results are subpar. The article “It’s Time for Silicon Valley to Stop Making Excuses on Diversity” by Salvador Rodriguez claimed that many Silicon Valley Tech Firms in committed to increase diversity and provide equal opportunities for all in 2014; 2 years later nothing has changed. According to 2016 diversity reports, Facebook and Google aren’t successful in raising the presentation of African Americans or Hispanics and very little progress in increasing woman in their workforce; data shows that Google still consists of 2% African Americans and 3% Hispanics, which seems unchanged from previous data (Rodriguez). Therefore, it is unclear whether or not Silicon Valley are really taking actions to increase diversity that they planned. Tech companies should stop viewing diversity as a side project; instead they should use their money and power to set firm goals and objectives as if they are creating new products or projects (Rodriguez).

Possible Bias in Hiring

With such unequal racial distribution in tech industries, there are speculations about the bias in tech’s hiring. The article “It’s Time for Silicon Valley to Stop Making Excuses on Diversity” by Salvador Rodriguez claimed that having tech degrees isn’t enough; an underrepresented applicant has to graduate from top-tier schools, worked for previous rival companies, and preferably a California resident. These requirements rumors discouraged many underrepresented minorities to even pursue a tech degree. It seems that where the applicant is from plays a role in tech’s hiring.

The number one speculation is that tech companies give top priorities to Asian Americans. It is well-known that whites and Asian Americans are overrepresented in the tech industry. According to Mercury News article “Blacks, Latinos and women lose ground at Silicon Valley tech companies” by Mike Swift, Vivek Wadhwa, a researcher at UC Berkeley, Duke and Harvard, claimed that Asian Americans are inherently superior because “they tend to be stronger at math and science” which creates a racial and stereotypical bias in tech’s hiring. In addition, many critics claimed that the overrepresentation of Asians in tech workforces is due to the government’s permission for powerful Silicon Valley Tech Firms to hire foreign workers on H1-B Visas (Swift). Therefore, it seems that tech companies are aiming for Asian Americans as a top priority rather than providing equal opportunities for all. Since Silicon Valley’s hiring is based on skills rather than ethnic backgrounds, I think that increasing diversity would be difficult since their priority is based on one main quality (skills) rather than focusing on varieties of qualifications such as work experiences, educational backgrounds, etc. With low statistics, discouragements, and hidden biases in tech’s hiring, underrepresented minorities would most likely continue to stay away from the tech field.

Work Cited

Edmund, Justin. “Silicon Valley Doesn’t Care About Black People.” The Huffington Post.
                              The Huffington Post. 8 July 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Morillo, Stephanie. “How Blacks and Latinos Are Left Out of Tech Hiring. Model View
. Model View Culture, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Rodriguez, Salvador. “It’s Time for Silicon Valley to Stop Making Excuses on Diversity.”
                                   Inc., 18 July 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Swift, Mike. “Blacks, Latinos and Women Lose Ground at Silicon Valley Tech Companies.”
The Mercury News. Mercury News, 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.


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