Consider the Source

Annoyed but not surprised by a Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity document that was internally circulated. I decided to share some thoughts on my Twitter stream earlier — linked below but I’ve included some additional thoughts.

Why are folks so surprised that racist and sexist folks work at these tech companies?

It does not surprise me — not. one. bit.

Fun fact we’re ALL flawed. Silicon valley is not immune to the generational biases and perspectives that have permeated so many homes, churches and offices.

This is a space that literally prioritizes intellect and money by any means. As I’ve mentioned previously you can be smart by the worlds standards and hold exclusionary beliefs. Time and time again those in positions of power and influence have been given passes and their perspectives incubated all in the name of free speech and diversity of thought.

I mean many in the tech industry give more weight to credentials, status and access over all other things. One thing I’d really appreciate — tech companies to stop fronting like they’re super progressive. We can’t rely on geography or lack of explicit articulations like the n-word or other epithets to characterize things as racist or sexist.

To introduce another point many in the tech industry are often surprised by these beliefs. It reminded me of the following — small homogenous teams aren’t introducing the tension and awareness of facing our biases. Of course you won’t see the blatant signs of racism or sexism when your team is ALL MALE or ALL WHITE in early days. When met with a team that looks like you, you’re not really challenged to navigate the nuances. To come to terms with your beliefs and how they impact your decisions.

Please keep in mind just because your were early at company x doesn’t mean you’re any more valuable in terms of ability. You had access, timing was on your side and things worked out for you.

Lots of contributors in these companies are holding a belief and feeling that they’re the holy grail to the success of these spaces. Sorry to bust that bubble but it’s all about team and group effort. If you don’t belive me try building and growing company all on your own.

Going back to my initial point — racists and sexist individuals do exist at your companies. Stop the madness and follow through when folks are clearly out of line. These folks spew rhetoric and time and time again and it’s tolerated because “free speech” and the tune of “let’s hear them out” plays out.

Is hearing them out really the best course of action time and time again?

Hearing them out and cultivating a mindset that they’re more valuable then me will have them continuing to devalue me. Hearing them out without reproach causes values that are clearly toxic to thrive — all in the name of free speech. Then what? Will it take someone getting harmed, assaulted or injured to heighten your awareness that it’s more than just diversity of thought. Like the same hatred that fuels you to think someone is fundamentally less than you will cause violent logic to play out in your head.

One of the healthiest habits I’ve developed is not sugar coating reality but addressing things and situations for what. they. are.

Which brings me to you tech leadership….the earlier we can acknowledge things for what they are we can address them. It if we keep skirting around the issue giving sexist and racist behavior/comments room to thrive we’re not going to get anywhere.

Call it what it is.

Calling things what they are might make you feel uncomfortable make you question you how it got to this point. You’ll be alright.

You can’t change the past but you can be more international about planting better seeds and doing the work to cultivate better environments.


Well this concludes today’s edition of things I should be getting paid to help y’all get$bLaurie ← ¯\_(ツ)_/¯