There is no black Bill Gates. Not everyone is a trailblazer and for the rest of us role models play a huge "role" when choosing a career path. This is especially true for the black community. It becomes much easier to convince yourself, and your parents, that your passion is a valid career choice if you can point to an existing success story.
Access to technology:
When I was a kid growing up I was the only one of my friends whose family owned a computer thanks to my dad being a programmer. Kinda hard to develop a passion for programming without one of those. Before tech skills became a requirement for any decent job computers were seen as expensive and unnecessary so everyone else was told "we'll get you one when you get to high school / college."
However, as I apply these these theories to today, Obama is president and just about every kid, rich or poor, has daily access to a computer. I'm guessing in 5 years time, when the next generation begins their careers, the number of black programmers will increase drastically all on its own.
That said I do know a good number of black network engineers and sys admins so I'm completely lost as to why programming is the only IT profession with such a huge discrepancy. Any theories?
My friends from outside of school, however, STILL refer to me as "that corporate nigga". But since I know them from places like my neighborhood or sports teams where clics and social standings didn't exist there were no detrimental effects to being a nerd.
Anybody at any high school who is known as a programmer is going to be teased to some extent. What kept you from giving into the peer pressure?
My story is more one of taking advantage of opportunities, rather than overcoming obstacles.