What does it mean to be black in Silicon Valley? Two words that come to mind are undervalued and misunderstood. The plight of the black employee is quite difficult. Blacks in the valley face the interesting challenge of being labeled the social posterchild’s of diversity and inclusion and actually being recognized for their talents and abilities.
Despite being stellar engineers and spectacular supply chain analyst in the booming tech sector, blacks hold a history and stain of over 400 years of slavery and oppression. Unfortunately, blacks carry an onslaught of negative media biases in the last 50 years that drastically dampen the image and presentation of the black employee. This trickle-down effect lends itself to the tech sector with the hiring and retention rates of black employees being abysmal across the industry. Black employees in many cases are alienated and under-cooked because of this historical bias in which they have no control over.
Often having to outperform their peers for merely half the recognition and in many cases less than half of the pay, black tech employees are often seen by their white Asian counterparts as sub-par. This dangerous viewpoint has forced many black employees to scale back bringing their true selves to the corporate workplace and sending many back to the roots of community organizing and health related occupancies.
Blacks that hold positions of power from both managerial standpoint and C-Suite ranks are often mute on initiatives that would fuel black employee growth and upward trajectory. This depressing anecdote is due to the overcast of white looming superiority that dominates the powers of Silicon Valley. This creates the “I have mine you have yours” corporate break off between employees therefore ever hardening the tech culture.
To be black in tech is to overcome. Echoing the strategy of the civil rights movement, the power must lie in uniting and challenging the economic powers to influence change. To be black in tech is to possess power of choice and responsibility. To be black in tech is the need to step up and speak up when social injustices happen in the corners of corporate America.
Create Culture | Create Change | Innovate | Transform
Written in collaboration with The Black Genius