I ran across Justin Edmund’s essay on Medium and found his story powerful and thought-provoking. In “Growing Up,” Edmund, a Pinterest employee, shares his reaction to the tech industry’s lack of reaction after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
An overwhelming percentage of the tech workforce is either White or Asian. In June 2014, Facebook released its diversity figures sharing that only 3 percent of the company’s US employees are Hispanic and 1 percent are Black.
Edmund talks about the issue quite honestly.
“Powerful leaders, be they in technology or politics or Hollywood, don’t actually seem to care. Focusing solely on Silicon Valley, one of the most progressive places in the world, powerful companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter all have stood up for LGBTQ rights, immigration reform, and most recently awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), all of which is respectful and very welcome. I have not seen a single technology leader (edit: besides @jack) acknowledge the crisis in Ferguson. And why would they bother?”
Edmund was also interviewed on USA today.
Edmund’s concern reminds us that what a company chooses not to respond to can be just as important as what it chooses to focus on. Although, the larger issue is the lack of racial diversity in the industry. Tech companies should consider racial inclusivity part of CSR. Good CSR programs benefit employees, customers, and the larger community.