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Jesse Jackson To Take On Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity 397

New submitter wyattstorch516 writes "San Jose Mecury News reports that Jesse Jackson will lead a delegation to HP's next board meeting to discuss the hiring of technology companies in regard to African-Americans and Latinos. 'About one in 14 tech workers is black or Latino both in the Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.' Jackson sent a letter to HP, Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others about meeting to discuss diversity issues."
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Jesse Jackson To Take On Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity

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  • Re:Fuck that guy. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @05:42PM (#46528089)

    there is probably a more nuanced discussion to be had about affirmative action

    but having been in the hiring seat, I can tell you that almost every single
    applicant is white and male, and very few of those are actually qualified

    so unless Jackson thinks HP should hire unqualified people just because
    they are black or latino, he should probably focus his efforts earlier
    in the pipeline

  • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @05:54PM (#46528243) Journal

    I dont have a problem with Jesse Jackson...

    I **do** have a problem with this reductive, tone-deaf initiative of his...this program won't improve anything.

    Just as with the lack of women in tech, the lack of racial diversity is a ***symptom of a greater problem*** and trying to hit some sort of abstract "number" is ridiculous.

    The problem goes all the way back to middle school & all the way up through funding for graduate research. We don't know how to **teach technology**...partially because of misperceptions of how the industry works. Steve Jobs as "technology genius" is a perfect example. Jobs was a 'genius' at marketing & dealmaking. He applied innovation to opening new markets & had the vision to see potentials. These are great traits, but have ***nothing to do with actual computing***

    The misperceptions influence organizaitonal decisions...which influences academia...which just reinforces the cycle of bad theory/practice.

    Diversity is an evolutionary advantage, but it's **two steps** beyond fixing right's problems are systemic and hitting some artificial quota will not help fix things!!!

    First step is to acknowledge we have a problem & start talking about refining + improving how we explain tech to non-techs and students...and integrating those improvements into our systems naturally.

    It's sort of a "healing algorythm" that has to go throughout the whole system to optimize.

  • Re:Fuck that guy. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @05:55PM (#46528261)

    Pretty much. I've had arguments with a lot of people over affirmative action, and 95% of the time they think it helps Asians get a job and education. Basically they think it helps everybody but whites, and they themselves are huge advocates of white guilt. They quickly shut up once I show them facts about how affirmative action actually fucks over Asians pretty bad, in fact it screws them much worse than white people, mainly because they have an even higher interest in higher education and the high tech career fields than whites do while being an even smaller portion of the population than blacks.

    The problem with affirmative action is it assumes that a given percent of every race is interested in x career or y school, but that just doesn't reflect reality one bit. Take music for example; by far more black people are into rap, but there's nothing inherent about rap that makes them like it more or white people like it less. The underlying cause of this schism is a simple cultural difference. The same thing is likely to cause them to be less interested in IT careers, so they don't even apply for those jobs.

  • Exclusionary zoning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @06:11PM (#46528431) Journal
    To this day, many cities continue to use exclusionary zoning [] to keep minority groups out of certain neighborhoods. In Silicon Valley, is density tightly controlled? Are minimum parking requirements in place? If so, this could help explain Silicon Valley's lack of diversity.
  • Re:Not Our Fault (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @06:14PM (#46528453) Homepage Journal

    I've worked with talented black IT professionals, but, they were from South Africa, not the USA.

    Americans have a "Thug Culture" that makes them stupid in general. It's not a racial thing at all. It's an attitude thing.

    Some resist the culture and make something of themselves. In college I met an African-American man who was very sharp - He knew there were programs, more than for any other ethnic group, to help him get a leg up and he was taking advantage of these. He was confounded how few people of his racial group were aware or willing to make the effort. His elevator clearly hit the top floor, smart, motivated and with clear goals in mind - get the engineering degree and move on to a masters. He's probably pulling down the big bucks, wearing a suit and driving his choice of ludicrously expensive car.

    Sadly, so many from the neighboring communities were only interested in doing the basic, whatever would get them a slip of paper saying they accomplished something - so could get a better job in a mall or something. No where near as much fire in them to gain knowledge and use it.

    To be fair, whenever people try to counter these subcultures they simply become bores and are tuned out. These people need a proper scare put into them - you'll be gardeners for the immigrants who claw their way to a BSE or such. How do you feel about that?

  • Re:Fuck that guy. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gandhi123 ( 1173413 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @06:25PM (#46528539)

    "The problem with affirmative action is it assumes that a given percent of every race is interested in x career or y school, but that just doesn't reflect reality one bit. "

    It's not just this. Even when black students are interested in STEM careers, affirmative action puts them in a position where their white and Asian classmates are much better prepared and capable to handle difficult STEM classes. As a result they get poor grades, feel demoralized, and transfer to easier majors. This is called the "mismatch problem." []

    Recently, economists from Duke studied the effects of Prop 209, comparing undergraduate graduation rates for blacks, Hispanics and American Indians before and after the ban. In a paper being considered for publication by The Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Duke economists conclude that mismatch effects are strongest for students in so-called STEM majors — science, technology, engineering and math. These subjects proceed in a more regimented way than the humanities, with each topic and class building on what came before. If you don’t properly learn one concept, it’s easier to get knocked off track.

    The Duke economists say that lower-ranked schools in the University of California system are better at graduating minority students in STEM majors. For example, they conclude that had the bottom third of minority students at Berkeley who hoped to graduate with a STEM major gone to Santa Cruz instead, they would have been almost twice as likely to earn such a degree.

    and []

    More Evidence that Admissions Preferences Discourage Minority Students from Majoring in STEM

    Recently Science Careers commented on Mismatch, a provocative and persuasive new book that examines the effects of giving large admissions preferences to minority college students. One of the unintended consequences of such measures, write authors Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., is to steer minority students away from majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This happens, they argue, because large preferences encourage students to attend colleges where their academic credentials place them toward the bottom of their college classes. Science majors, however, overwhelmingly come from the upper end of their college classes, regardless of where they go to college. Students admitted with large preferences--as many African American and Hispanic students are--are therefore deprived of the realistic opportunity to earn STEM degrees.

  • by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @09:29PM (#46530109) Homepage

    It's the same here. I have interviewed a number of qualified women and work with several excellent female engineers but I have never interviewed an African American. I don't care what a person's background is, if they're qualified for the position then they'll be hired. The best candidate I ever interviewed was a transgendered Russian. Everyone who interviewed her recommended her and we made an offer. Sadly she didn't join.

    Sadly most candidates I interview are not qualified. When I ask basic questions that anyone with a decent CS or CE degree should be able to answer they fall flat on their face regardless of race and these are for more senior positions.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."