May 3, 2015
Gender diversity in tech has been a hot topic for a few years now, but I don't think racial diversity in tech has been focused on nearly as much.
According to The Verge, blacks hold only 1% of technology jobs at AirBnB. Nationally, black and Hispanic workers make up just 12 and 16% of the US workforce. I think the lack of racial diversity in tech is a problem tied to a greater issue: the oppressive socio-political structures that have shaped our society. There are a myriad of consequences from these socio-political structures: crumbling educational systems, low opportunity, class isolation, crime and violence. Even cultural and societal segregation. How many kids from low-income families do you think have future opportunities to study computer science? How many have heard of it? Studying computer science is a privilege that should belong to everyone, regardless of class or race.
As a half-Filipino, I am also aware that Asian-Americans are classified as "more privileged" than other minority groups. They are often stereotyped as straight-A, perfectionist students. While it's true that you might see more Chinese, Korean, and Indian students than other minority groups in computer science programs, it's not necessarily the case for Chinese-American, Vietnamese-American, or Korean-American students. Or what about Americans with Cambodian, Laotian, and Indonesian backgrounds? Do you think they all come from upper-class families? It's a tough thing to write about because there really isn't a lot of data out there. We are prone to making dangerous assumptions, or accepting the status-quo.
In conclusion, I think the best we can do is support organizations that help low-opportunity students break into the industry. Some of them are listed below. Please donate. They are awesome!
If you know of similar organizations, please let me know and I'll add them to my list!