Black Genius…in Technology

Zaneta J Smith
Oct 15, 2018 · 2 min read
Picture by Tracy Malbrough

Black people continue to create digital spaces for Black people. There’s Black Twitter, Black People Meet, and Black Girls Code just to name a few. Black people in America frequently use technology and are attempting to break into the Tech industry where despite our frequent use of technology, rates of Black people with Tech jobs are still very low.

The May 2018 California African American Policy Priorities Survey (CAAAPS) found that 65% of Black voters considered “creating good paying jobs and reducing unemployment” an extremely high policy priority.

Schools all over CA have invested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. In fact according to Niche, an educational data collection company, California has some of the best schools for STEM education including, but not limited to:

Palo Alto High School #96 — Palo Alto

Troy High School #127 — Fullerton

University High School #194 — Irvine

Canyon Crest Academy #195 — San Diego

California Academy of Mathematics & Science #243 — Long Beach

Despite the barrier to working in the Tech industry, Black people are breaking into Tech finding AND creating good-paying jobs. Look at Zim Ugochukwu, Founder of Travel Noire; Morgan Debaun, Founder & CEO of Blavity; Anthony Mays, Software Engineer at Google; Iddris Sandu, Social Architect who has worked with Uber, Snapchat, and event built the technology to create Nipsey Hussle’s Smart Store on Crenshaw & Slauson in LA.

TEDxCrenshaw just featured three talks on technology/STEM-related topics this past week. TEDxSanFrancisco featured Yvonne Cagle who served as NASA’s Chief Scientist of one of their research programs a couple of days ago. Next month, Afrotech will bring together 3000+ Founders, entrepreneurs, and engineers around the intersection of culture and tech in San Francisco.

Technology in CA is booming with Silicon Valley AND Silicon Beach. How can Black people continue to break into the industry? Educate self, apply for jobs, create jobs, stay committed, persist, log into the digital spaces to share frustrations and accomplishments, seek mentorship, invest in self by spending money to be in the room, continue to create safe spaces for Black Techies. This may not be easy. But, just as we stand on the shoulders of Benjamin Banneker, Lewis Latimer, Dorothy Vaughn, and others….so must we create the shoulders upon which generations after us will stand. We must do that by persisting and standing in our Black Genius.

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