It’s easy to say so and so is bad because they are not voicing in unison the clamor for fairness etc. but in reality all most are doing is buying time and buying forgiveness.
Real change does not happen overnight. It takes years of hard work. You have to start young and follow through for a couple of decades.
Employers barely want to train people they have vetted and hired, so I don’t expect them to put money where their mouths are in terms of building and sustaining the systems necessary to bring disadvantaged populations into the same opportunities afforded others.
It’s like the Chinese bots castigating the US for civil liberties issues while they have re-education camps with millions. It’s a sideshow.
I think this is patently untrue and encouraging training and taking chances on different types of applicants would do a lot to improve this.
As someone with a bit of an odd background and a bit scattered of a resume. I've experienced this stonewalling first hand.
Not at all. It only implies that certain groups of people actually do learn “the skills” at different proportions than their overall share of the population. “Can” and “actually do, in the context of society”, are two very different concepts.
The pipeline argument is basically, “you can’t have a society that fundamentally fails certain groups of people throughout their entire childhood and early adult education and then expect them to magically develop the same skills and qualifications as people who didn’t have those barriers”.
It’s crazy that people see pipeline arguments as excuses for social injustice because the most damaging aspects of social injustice manifest themselves as pipeline problems. For instance, the risk of childhood lead exposure has a huge correlation with race in the United States. That’s a horrifying and disgusting fact and it needs to be fixed. But if childhood lead exposure was the only fundamental racial disparity left, you’d still see other statistical disparities arise from that.
I don't think so. I truly believe that a lot more people from disadvantaged populations can learn "the skills" than the numbers we currently have, to the point where it would equal out to be the same as people from other demographics. They have the inherent ability to get good good at it just like anyone else. The issue comes with those career paths and opportunities not being as often encouraged and "advertised" to them when growing up. And that's the part that needs to change.
We need more supplementary coding opportunities for children in disadvantaged communities. They need to be exposed to those opportunities. Those opportunities need to be presented as viable paths for them, and not something like "you need to learn tons of math and you will be sitting all day at a computer like a drone". If you don't already have great math skills (which most people don't) and don't have role models that encourage this (e.g., an uncle who is a software engineer), then no wonder that this pitch won't convince you to seriously consider a career in software engineering, no matter how actually capable you are.
Of course, a lot of people would scoff at this approach, as it takes time to come to fruition and deliver the results. And it isn't a flashy "bandaid" solution you can put on this issue and proclaim a loud victory, without actually making a systemic change. But big systemic changes like this take lots of time and effort, and we should be focusing on that, rather than giving it up in favor of more "bandaid"-tier solutions.
Um, this one is kind of true of many programming jobs. Also true of many non-programming jobs today, too.
No one gives a classroom speech to kids on how being a doctor means doing many years of medschool after finishing college, getting into debt, and then doing 24-36 hour shifts in residency while being paid peanuts, before you can actually start working as a doctor. And I don't think that presenting programming to kids should be done this way either.
It should be presented in a similar manner to how it got many of us into the field due to the love of programming. It is all about solving intricate problems, puzzles, automating things, and doing all sorts of cool stuff with it. In fact, I believe that it is especially shameful how it is usually presented to kids as a menial/robotic job, given that programming has a lot of potential for showing kids cool applications of it, way more than most other fields. Programming robots, computer systems on board of space shuttles, soccer balls that have systems tracking performance, programmable music instruments, etc. The potential for making it entertaining and captivating for kids is gigantic.
The pipeline problem has nothing to do with ability, it's all about the hiring pool and the time it takes to change the hiring pool. Companies can't hire people that don't exist, so focusing solely on hiring practices won't get the desired outcome at anywhere near the speed the activists want (if at all). The activists are focused on completely the wrong area; it's going to take years-to-decades fixing problems much earlier in life before companies would even be able to do such hiring.
And this is the breakdown of the argument, it's a way to sideline a huge ask into the argument and stall it out. It's designed to lead the question of "well it will take decades, nothing we can do now".
I don't disagree there are some decades of change needed, but still there should be some introspection into where and who is making this argument.
Often they are the ones who've already made it.
It will take decades so we have to start now - since we can't start yesterday - so vote and donate money to organizations working on those things appropriately.
Without that "do something" then yes, it's a stalling tactic, a "don't make me think about it" response. But there are actions we can ask for that will encourage those changes.
I'm confused as to whether you are implying it's impossible to train people? Also isn't the concept of ignoring applicants with some form of training (reasonable boot camp) essentially blocking the pipeline?
And yes, ignoring people from boot camps and other alternate learning systems is a problem.
I live in Lagos, Nigeria but visit Silicon Valley frequently and follow the situation closely.
Being near but far, has given me unique perspectives on these type of issues.
I sent my report to 22 US media companies (the ones covered, NYTimes, WaPo, CNN, Guardian, Wired etc) and was essentially blackballed. Thankfully we can self-publish.
I am here in the comments and happy to answer any questions you may have.
These are feel good measure, done to tap themselves on their backs and make it seem like work has been done. But no one is fooled.
African people are afraid of the dark...just like little kids?
I don't understand what you're trying to say.
On the individual level, I have seen people transform the lives of their families by learning to code.
This is one https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-i-went-from-programmin...
Honest question - Is that a racist term? Doesn't appear to be based on Google search, but I see people removing words with black in them such as "blacklist" so I am curious.
I’m not a Mason so I don’t know if this factual, but that’s the idea.
Of course, someone could be blackballed because they are black—if a particular Masonic lodge had racist members—but it’s not inherent to the concept.
So it depends.
Big tech should stop fronting and you should stop pointing.
 https://quillette.com/about/ the "How can you pitch an article?" question
How do you think they’ll react to an African techie?
 Phrenology is "the detailed study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities."
But seriously, I've seen that claim previously, but never pointing to original source (unless the article was deleted?). I didn't carefully read the articles you provided, so sorry if it is in there somewhere.
Here you go.
Out of the links I shared[parent], the former link takes a deep dive into Quillette authors (one of whom wrote the article I cite below), the latter delves into the actual arguments they make in advancement of "neophrenology".
To reiterate my initial comment (I am not here to make a value judgement on phrenology), this does not seem like a publication the OP would like to submit to.
:EDIT: minor clarifications
You have a point that OP might not want to submit there, guilt by association is all the rage nowadays. I mean they are currently trying to cancel Chomsky for signing an open letter on freedom of speech, just because some other people also signed it. This is literally Hitler liked pippies situation...
To my initial point, value-arguments aside(I’m certainly not going to convince you), does an African developer want to seek out Quilette to publish?
HN downvotes me because Claire Lehmann is a Paul Graham darling, but the only thing "Libertarian" about Quilette is the fact they bypass violation of the NAP with the argument the black people are either (A)not people or (B)"less than" people.
I don't speak for HN, but I can speak to why I personally downvoted you. I downvoted you because of the hostility and passive-aggressiveness, the scare quotes and browbeating of your respondent. I think it's reasonable to discourage that sort of behavior, because it's one of the leading causes of long term forum degradation.
> Some of the legislation championed by women lawmakers, such as the enactment in the early 1990s of the Violence Against Women Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, are remembered as signature achievements more than a generation later. But other victories were shockingly prosaic, correcting gender inequities that few would now believe lasted as long as they did, from giving women access to credit to ensuring that medical research included women as subjects.
A good example of the kind of prosaic mentioned: most people do not know that the NIH was not required to include female subjects for drug trials until 1993, though it is shockingly obvious that a drug could affect female bodies (e.g. reproductive system) differently .
 - https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/07/how-wom...
 - https://grants.nih.gov/policy/inclusion/women-and-minorities...
The nature of the dominant classes has changed over time. In the early days of civilization like in ancient Egypt you had the pharaohs who ruled because they guarded the knowledge of when and where the river Nile would flood.
The farmers were mere meat robots who were forced to farm in order to pay taxes. It didn’t really matter how educated the farmers were or how free the discourse was.
Today’s dominant classes rely on an extremely complex society to keep things going. You need a highly educated work force equipped with all the latest communication tools and critical thinking skills. It’s not so easy anymore to get away with unfair social structures.
Increasing automation means that a lot of this oppression is simply unnecessary.
As far as I’m concerned we either figure out how to build a more equitable society where every kid has a fair chance at self actualization or we risk actual revolution in the long term.
I prefer to be on what I see as the right side of history same as the people who fought to abolish slavery, give women the vote and establish a welfare state.
Questionable motives, but hey if it moves the agenda, take whatever help you can get. It’s already an up-hill battle.
In the US people today tend to forget the surge of nativist sentiment in 1920 towards... Italians. Or before that... Germans.
Billing Black %, though important, as racial diversity erases all other non-Caucasian groups.
I think this is a lesser form of "all lives matter", because the "applies to other groups" subtext is pretty obvious. I'm not saying that you're saying "all lives matter", just that I disagree for comparable reasons: it's only an erasure of non-Caucasian groups if you interpret the author uncharitably.
I’m pretty sure “racial diversity” here doesn’t mean “not white” but instead means racial division in proportion to the population in context.
If Big Tech/Big Tech Media want to help those communities, they should lobby the government to stop mass incarcerating and start educating their future engineers.
Companies certainly don’t care about addressing the underlying issues, and they can’t have their institution represented on those charts like that.
Going forward, if you can help fix those data visualizations, you are going to be an auto hire. This is how they see the world.
I think we’re just getting started with this stuff, and more breakdowns of the data are coming for all facets of society.
Without media coverage, it is hard for even myself to know of black founders in US tech.
Did you know the founder of the very popular Calendly was black? He lives in Atlanta and is Nigerian but I only got to know of him recently.
I just wanted to list a few names of people "I KNOW" that are doing spectacular things.
I hope more people make more lists of Black founders. We cannot have enough of them.
Overall, African immigrants (like many other immigrant groups) tend to have very high education/economic mobility, due to the selection effect - if you don't have those characteristics, it's hard to immigrate to the US.
But if you lump both groups together as "black", the likely result is that tech companies trying to make up for lack of representation in American born African Americans, will end up filling most of the gap with African immigrants, because immigrants are more likely to have the background tech companies are looking for.
Which is great for immigrants, but does it end up helping African Americans?
You might naively claim that professional basketball has a racist preference for black men, until you remember that black men are vastly more likely to fall into the height and athleticism distribution optimal for playing basketball. There are also industries where you rationally expect e.g. whites and asians to be disproportionately represented.
Are you flat out saying that some sexes are not intelligent enough to be in the tech industry?
This is also the expected result if you're familiar with GMV as mediated by sex chromosome pseudodominance in most mammals, including humans.
A glance at Wikipedia shows that this statement is contested. Pretty much every statement about men, women, intelligence, and IQ is contested.
> This is also the expected result if you're familiar with GMV
OK, I'll bite.
"few sex differences (if any) remain statistically significant"
It amuses me that any article about racism and sexism in the tech inevitably devolves to "It's not racism and sexism if we just think that other races and sexes don't perform well in the tech industry."
Well obviously, but most of the contests against hard IQ data don’t have much merit.
> <link to paper about gray matter volume>
GMV isn’t “gray matter volume”, it’s “greater male variability” - hence the mention of sex chromosome pseudodominance.
> in the tech industry.
It’s not just the tech industry - every industry will have some selective pressures.
The argument is going to boil down to the “pipeline” problem, ‘there’s not enough to begin with for it to be represented in proportion’, which leads to the moral hazard dilemma of do we just started filling quotas.
As long as tech workers think that some races have 'cultural' problems and as long as some tech workings think that there are differences between men's and women's brains that make women less suited for tech work, I think we have to stop dismissing this as a pipeline problem.
The prejudice is real and all over this thread posters are happily justifying it.
If so, that only supports allegations of racism and sexism in the tech industry.
Not even slightly.
> do you believe that the lack of minorities and women in tech is justified
There isn't a lack of "minorities" - there are more than population baseline of East Asians, Jews, Indians, etc. There are a lower-than-population-baseline number of South Americans (which I am, by the way), black people, etc.
"Justified" is a moral judgement, not a factual or predictive one. You can believe whatever you want is or isn't justified independently of reality. However, the current distribution of ethnic groups and sexes in tech (and most other industries) is expected and predictable based on the distribution of correlated factors within those industries, without having to appeal to racism or unfair discrimination.
centimeter's posts in that thread directly reject your proffered line of thought:
> your training data does not have enough people with dark skin or African American face features
This isn’t the issue - the issue is lower variance across black faces in any basis.
If some populations are less intelligent, then it is OK to not hire them in the tech industry.
In your opinion, how do you tell the less intelligent populations from the more intelligent populations?
This is why, despite what you may believe, "race" issues are still of actuality in SV. You would be amazed at what some of the supposedly smart and powerful people in these circles believe when it comes to this stuff.
IQ researchers know that unless you can trace the direct origin of their findings to genes (as it's been done for some diseases), you cannot claim causation. Especially when there is also strong evidence of socio-cultural factors (environment, history, culture, nutrition, education, lifestyle, means, etc). Even the plasticity of IQ suggests that since it's not a number set in stone, it wouldn't be prudent to make wild genetic claims. Unfortunately the public at large doesn't want to hear that part, and would rather run with its own version of what I like to call "tldr science", that purports to explain why the world works the way it does with cliff notes.
In a discussion about bias against a specific genetic group, if you want to bring arguments that excuse the status quo, by basically saying that the discriminated group is just genetically at a disadvantage, you need to damn well know what you're talking about. But as it's common with many "bottom-line" numbers like IQ, people tend to look at them and make the same mistake of drawing overly simplistic conclusions to very complicated and entangled issues.
The issue at hand here is the relative invisibility of black people in the tech scene. You brought up a point. I will assume that you're in tech, as I am. Despite what we pride ourselves to be able to accomplish, nothing in that field places it beyond the grasp of 99% of humans with a functioning brain, whether those individuals belong to a low scoring group or not. It's a challenging field, yes, but you don't need genius level IQ. What you need is a favorable environment (education, food, etc) that adequately prepares you for it. And this is true for most other fields.
The fact that you ran with "IQ" to explain the phenomenon (and that you had many advocates coming to your rescue in that endeavor) is very interesting to me, as it really is symbolic of how otherwise smart people may convince themselves that they've figured something that they really don't understand that well.
As I said earlier, this is how we remain in that situation.
It's amazing to see so many seemingly intelligent people being such avid science deniers. Just because you've demonized the people who believe something different from you doesn't mean they're wrong.
could you explain what they are? Genuine question.
(Personally, I don't have a position, not being familiar with the literature brandished by either side of the debate. I am, however, aware of the debate's existence — hence this clarifying comment.)