Google Is Even More White and Male Than You Thought — and So Is Everyone Who’s Writing About It

Google went public with its diversity stats this week. But if Silicon Valley is notoriously white, male, and “fratty,” so is journalism.

May 30, 2014 · 2 min read

By Alice Speri. Read the extended piece on VICE News.

Blacks and Latinos make up more than 30 percent of the US population — but not at Google. At the tech giant’s Mountain View headquarters, and at company offices across the country, they total about 5 percent of the workforce.

And Google says it doesn’t like that.

In an unprecedented move, the corporation chose to go public with its underwhelming diversity stats, revealing that of its 26,600 US employees, only two percent are black and three percent Latino. And that of its 44,000 global employees, only 30 percent are women.

To put that in perspective, Googlers are only slightly more diverse than House Republicans.

“We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues,” Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of “people operations,” wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly.”

That sounds sensible.

Of course, admitting your diversity stats are not pretty is not the same thing as doing something about it.

“It is good that Google admits they have a problem and discusses it publicly, but they have, and have always had, the capacity to improve their hiring practices,” Sarah Kendzior, a writer who studies politics and media, told VICE News. “It’s not like workplace diversity is a new issue, or discrimination against women and minorities has not been widely discussed in the tech industry. They could, you know, google that.”

To its credit, Google took a first step.

Here’s an interesting catch though: The media has been all too eager to “discuss” Google’s “white man” problem — with headlines like “Google admits it hires too many white dudes,” “Google workforce is too white and male, says HR boss, looking in mirror” and “Want a job at Google? You better be a white man.”

But it hasn’t been too introspective about it.

Because if Silicon Valley is notoriously white, male, and “fratty,” so is journalism.

Read the extended piece on VICE News, and follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi

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