Madelyn Brown

My hopes reflect yours. I think the tech community groups in Oakland are the best starting points on the path to creating a tech community in Oakland more autonomously run by African Americans. I’m not a native — and the Bay Area/SF cultures baffle me with their loud proclamations of “diversity” that starkly contradict hiring practices. And as you explained in the article, the discrepancy between the cost of living and the wages of the average African American family make this region highly segregated.

So I have little faith that the whitewashed community that already pats itself on the back for being “diverse” and “liberal” will make great efforts to actually hire African Americans. Are there new pressures from GOs and NGOs to implement inclusive hiring practices? I’m really asking because I’m not sure. But if they’re the same pressures that have been in existence, then clearly the tech companies remain unswayed.

Say these Oakland tech communities start giving people the ability to build up their own tech companies, and create more leadership opportunities for African Americans in tech. That’s ideal. But it’s still a race against the established tech companies that are creeping their way into Oakland, and have many more resources at their disposal to appropriate whatever they want. I sound like a fatalist, and the last thing I want is for the scenario I just painted to occur. What would you say are the realistic alternatives?

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