As a person of color, I would be very happy if it became policy to never use the phrase “white privilege” inside a workplace.
First of all it is making a blanket statement about an entire group of people. Saying <race> <attribute> is problematic as a principle.
Second, this too close for comfort to “white supremacy” for me. Both phrases describe white people as having a superiority to other races through the virtue of their whiteness.
Third, the phrase alienates people and makes them defensive. Most people can agree that having an environment where everyone can achieve their best is important. However, when you use words that cast people and their families as the villains and imply that they are not as deserving of what they earned as other people, then you turn them into your enemies.
I understand the phrase is trying to emphasize the historic and ongoing injustices against people of color. However, I think Trevor Noah’s phrase “black tax” is much more useful. This puts the focus on removing barriers and disadvantages, rather than on trying to remove someone’s “privilege”.
According to Facebook, in 2018 46.6% of their US staff identified as white and 41.4% identified as Asian (50.3% percent of US technical staff identify as Asian vs 42.7% who identify as white.)
With only 1 woman on facebook's board of 9, men are considerably over-represented. But white people are not.
The board has 5 non-hispanic white people, 3 jewish, and 1 black. US demographics for those groups are 60%, 1.77%, and 12.6%.
This means white people are 92% represented, black 88%, and jewish 1880%.
<2% of population in America, <0.25% globally. But:
20% of Nobel prize winners
10-25% of Harvard students (depending on source and school)
33% of US supreme court (3/9)
6% of US Congress
8% of US Senate
There are equally or more extreme numbers for things like movie studio leadership, rech company leadership, newsmakers and opinion writers, actors, comedians, etc. I just don't have time to look up the figures atm.
To be clear, I'm not saying there's anything wrong or right about this; it's just an easily-verifiable physical fact.
Jews are only 0.2% of the World’s population, but 17.46% of the World’s billionaires. Thus their representation is 8,730% of their population share.
Of course any non-idiot would see this as simply an interesting fact worthy of researching out how being a jew correlates with success in a merit-based competency hierarchy... and not a reason to hate jews for conspiring to take over the world. While we're at it, we should probably also chill out on white men in general too.
I hope that as tech expands to all continents and becomes a truly globally distributed sector, we'll stop caring about race at a specific company since tech will competitive and diverse on a global scale. (e.g. a firm in India competing with a firm in Germany competing with a firm in Brazil)
Jewish has of course a historic racial component, but practically (again, the simplicity) is more like an identity such as "hispanic". So if you are white hispanic, you're white. If you are jewish, you are white. If you're a black hispanic, you tick the box for black.
> I want to spend my time at a place willing to push further on diversity and inclusion. One where it's not OK to write on Workplace that white privilege doesn't exist. One where if I call out that our board has too many white men, I don't get harassed by other employees on Blind with transphobic messages saying I should be fired.
workplace harassment is certainly related to one's job...
For some reason Sillicon Valley missed out on a "golden rule" that exists everywhere else -- do not talk about personal politics at work. I don't see someone denying white privilege as a problem so much as the fact that such discussions were happening using company resources on company time.
In that sense, the middle school analogy is apt considering how people can behave.
I mean it sucks that the world has racists, bigots, homophobes and all tons of other sorts of rubbish people. But you can’t really fault a company for the fact that they manage to get hired as long as they are dealt with when they are actually discovered.
Where they supposed to ban every employee from making any kind of anonymous comments online after this case?
The point is that it provides:
hard data about the whispering campaign going on behind your back, the conversations from which you are excluded.
that the harassment does actually exist, and is not a mere allegation by you being paranoid.
that other people can go verify the hostile attitudes and expressions for themselves.
provides real, externally verifiable evidence of problems at facebook, not coming merely from the famous "disgruntled ex-employee"
Stop trying to minimize serious issues (and if you do want to minimize them, at least make sound points that are better than trivial sophistry, a half step up from complaining about typos).
Your logic is absolutely absurd. Acting like people 'don't just start attacking someone for fun' ignores the fact that people can and do face racism, sexism, transphobia and so forth. Especially when she clearly encountered transphobic comments, some of which I even saw spread here on HN.
Was she required to use this app for her job?
A useful analogy would be that one bar near your work that lots of your coworkers go to often, and end up talking about issues at work. That bar isn't officially affiliated with the company, and you don't have to ever go to said bar to nevertheless be affected by what transpires there. Except Blind has more to do with the workplace than said bar because a lot of people post to Blind from work.
There are structural problems that inhibit participation from underrepresented groups. The objective is to level the playing field so everyone has a fair chance at success.
disclaimer: i am a black engineer who is tired of wasting time arguing with people who harbor views such as yours.
All of a sudden we don't want to extend this same treatment to people who face structural problems that inhibit participation?
yes there is a difference between skills and talents of people
For some reason, the racial stereotype of white males being unqualified lazy freeloaders didn't really take root, apart from maybe a small group of vocal idiots.
They're not. They are commenting how the criteria for hiring changed to include other attributes not related to skill.
If I hire people based on a mix of skill and how much they like baseball, I am inherently hiring on a different measuring stick. I could end up hiring someone with the most skill out of the hiring pool, but that doesn't matter - I'm not hiring based on skill, I'm hiring on some combination of skill and baseball.
It does not mean that the person who gets hired isn't the most skilled. But it also does not mean that the person who gets hired is the most skilled. I stopped caring about hiring the most skilled the moment I added a largely arbitrary hiring attribute into the requirements, how much they like baseball.
Generally I have a problem with this, but I think it's less of a problem than people make it out to be. Yes, we are not hiring based on skill alone.. but, we never were. We were hiring based on skill, attitude, work ethic, how they work with people, etc. A long laundry list of things we want a candidate to be, and difficult to figure out to boot. So yea, if we stop hiring whites because we've got too many, we may miss out on some skill - but when so many of the hiring requirements are vague, difficult to judge and largely a meta-game itself, we stopped caring about hiring skill long ago. Hell, even skill is difficult to judge.
Plus, eventually it'll even out. Suddenly we'll have to stop hiring minorities because there's too many in X company. Which is ironic heh. In the same way that males in some colleges are becoming a minority. Irony.
Only 20% from each group are qualified enough.
If you need to hire 5 people and want them to be from the minority group, you end up hiring 2 qualified engineers and 3 - not so much.
Congratulations, you've met your diversity quota.
Also, the condional probability of a minority engineer being underqualified is 3/5 now, but this number is declared racist.
A lot of people in engineering went down that path because they were inspired by someone when they were younger. If there were more women and minorities in engineering, then other (young) women and minorities would be able to see them as role models and follow suit.
This is really interesting claim and perhaps somewhat biased. Some preliminary testing of VR teachers suggests that young women prefer to be taught by women, and boys have a preference for robots/drones.
My own personal experience is that mecha anime got me inspired to work in STEM, I can see why that might not have universal appeal, but the claim that people need role models who look like them isn't universal.
Who? I started programming because computers are fun. If you really care about getting more women and minorities involved in tech volunteer at a local high school -- there are dozens of programs which seek to get young people exposed to programming. Anything else is just blowing smoke.
It shouldn't be a stretch of the mind that programming would be more accessible to someone who was raised knowing programmers, than to someone who was raised without.
> If you really care about getting more women and minorities involved in tech volunteer at a local high school
This is great advice. That doesn't discredit the impact that having diversity in tech has.
the company itself knows as well as or better than anyone upstream what its own jobs require. the company itself is in a good position to train/educate a person (of any particular group) to do that job.
upstream educational institutions can promote diversity and graduate people all day long -- but you still need a company to actually hire those people.
I know that my existence continues to influence my younger siblings, and the children of family-friends. I’m known as “the one who worked at google”. Without me as an example, tech wouldn’t be in the perceptual sphere of attainability within much of my family and community.
Obviously people in the lives of children impact them. Does seeing, possibly, a black engineer on TV count as being in the life of a child?
It was an uphill battle the entire way. Should we be looking to my life-path as a scalable way out of poverty?
> Obviously people in the lives of children impact them. Does seeing, possibly, a black engineer on TV count as being in the life of a child?
Yes, definitely. TV is realer than real-life for most people. It's the average person's lens into the world, for better or worse.
that would solve the problem
If I'm going to set up a medical team, I don't want the best and most lauded 4 surgeons in the world, I want only 1 of those so I can also have the best anesthesist (sp?), the best physio, the best psychologist... you get the idea. (Edit not you in particular, of course... I mean everyone)
"Culture fit" has become an accepted "soft" value for which a technically superior candidate may be passed over; why this resistance to diversity as a soft value too? New points of view, new mental patterns, new sources of inspiration... that is better than the same pov repeated 4 times. Why does it need to be explained over and over? (we know why, whether we like it or not) It doesn't mean diversity takes precedence over other soft or hard skills and valuable aspects of a candidate, it just means it takes is place among them.
It's at the preschool, primary school and university level.
Why are we somehow pretending 100% of responsibility rests on the employer?
why does it matter so much that other people look just like you? why cant you look past other peoples skin color?
You should care about diversity, because it’s an inherent good. If you have no diversity, you are missing part of the picture. Your family values, for instance, might be different from others.
And let’s be clear, describing transgender people as “despising what they once were” is not a very acceptable view.
but nobody will admit it
That said, according to the article's statistics diversity is continually increasing at Facebook.
Oh wow, a woman headed react? That's cool.
Oh wait, a trans-woman... so that's socio-cultural diversity though not biological diversity - still born a white male.
Unless transgenderism isn't a choice but part of somebody's biological nature, then it is biological diversity, right?
erm, is being biologically predisposed to not liking chocolate also biological diversity? Wow, how much biological diversity goes unnoticed by diversity advocates? Maybe fb is biologically diverse after all!?
Isn't it cool we're all unique individuals with unique interests, although fb has mostly people who all share an interest in tech. True diversity would be to get people not interested in tech at fb.
You wouldn't see a candidate's face, name, hear their real voice, know their educational background, what economic class they're from.
You would conduct interviews over chat and voice (maybe use voice morphing software), which seems entirely plausible these days.
If anything, it would probably improve the hiring of qualified people. Interviewers can penalize candidates for all kinds of irrelevant things, not just sex and gender.
This would largely eliminate the very toxic problem of "diversity hires" that serve to perpetuate stereotypes. It would truly level the playing field.
React as we think of it today simply would not exist without Sophie. The entire front-end ecosystem would be drastically worse.
It’s really sad to hear she won’t be leading the react team anymore, and worse to hear how some employees of Facebook treated her.
She’s hands down the best engineer I’ve ever worked with, and also a wonderfully kind and caring person.
Her leaving Facebook is a loss for the entire tech community. I hope her next endeavours treat her with the respect she deserves.
Black employees being 4% sounds like little, but it's not exactly Facebook's fault that African Americans have been marginalized for a long time; the important thing is that they're giving everyone a chance. But that does not mean just hiring blindly if the market is not able to provide the candidates they are looking for.
It's sad to hear about bullying still happening - you'd think FB culture would be beyond that. It's also worth noting that people are generally hypersensitive these days, so what is considered bullying by someone is seen as innocent by others.
At some point you have to toughen up and handle some criticism and not see it as bullying (although I'm not saying that's necessarily the case here).