Welcome to the Silicon Valley of Meritocracy.
Meritocracy — a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.
Now this is a word that I had not seen on my wordaday app. When I read it dimly lit across my screen, I knew I was all too familiar with this word during my journey through tech.
This concept that a “chosen few” have all the power reminds me of the countless “exclusive” networking events that I have frequented here in the valley. I’m “unique,” an exception to an unspoken rule. Had I not worked with such an excellent pedigree of companies; I would have never known of such events so here I stand, amongst the stereotypical tech profile, compared to every African-American entertainer to date.
The word, meritocracy, produces powerful emotions within me because it makes me wonder, what if the Valley is a meritocracy? How can a community built on unique ideas, transitive thoughts, and the desire to be different, fall so short when it comes to actually developing an action plan for others to move forward? Recently, I was asked to define diversity. At first, I thought it was some test or rhetorical question to see if I was cognisant of the innumerable amount of movements that were already in existence, so I stuck with short and sweet. My response was: “Diversity is when you get people together from two different backgrounds to do something important.”
Diversity is the word we have become accustomed to throwing around to show that we understand the struggle of the underrepresented majority in tech. How is it that so many people have “benefited” from the doors being opened by diversity and inclusion programs, yet the number of minorities and women in tech companies and leadership roles in tech does not increase?
To the elites of the valley who have been “chosen” to lead this meritocracy, please keep this in mind — Go back and find those individuals that remind you of when you were hungry for reinventing yourself. Find people who dare to be vulnerable throughout their journey. Coach and advise the dreamers and builders when others tell them that it will never work. Your experience could help bring to life ideas we may have never seen. You are the trusted adviser the underrepresented didn’t know they needed, and it is time to take the power you have to obliterate the need for the diversity and inclusion programs that have led us astray.
Welcome to the new Silicon Valley, #diversity and #inclusion for all.