March 20, 2014
Jesse Jackson has just realized something: Silcon Valley technology companies do not have very many blacks or Latinos on their staff.
The only possible reason for this is racism. Nevermind that about a third of these staffs tend to be Asian – no one is racist against Asians, even though they look completely different than Whites (which is allegedly the basis of racism), because of… well, it’s a mystery why no one is racist against Asians, but clearly, the fact that Asians are successful and blacks and Latinos aren’t means they aren’t suffering from discrimination, because the only reason that blacks and Latinos aren’t successful is because Whites hate them because they look different.
From San Jose Mercury News:
Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to lead a delegation to the Hewlett Packard annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday to bring attention to Silicon Valley’s poor record of including blacks and Latinos in hiring, board appointments and startup funding.
Jackson’s strategy borrows from the traditional civil rights era playbook of shaming companies to prod them into transformation. Now he is bringing it to the age of social media and a booming tech industry known for its disruptive innovation.
“We’re talking about a sector that responds to future trends,” says Ronald C. Parker, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, a group of current and former African-American Fortune 500 executives who work to increase diversity at the top levels of American business. “He’s speaking at one organization. I’m sure the people at Hewlett Packard have and will continue to put some focus on it. Whether it will accelerate is to be seen. But it’s a start.”
Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise magazine, says Jackson is shining a light on the fact that technology companies don’t come close to hiring or spending what is commensurate with the demographics of their customers.
“Hopefully, what Rev. Jackson is doing will bring attention to the 800-pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It’s high time that gets addressed,” Graves says.
It’s widely recognized that the tech industry lacks diversity: 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.
“Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day,” wrote Jackson in a letter released Monday to Apple, Twitter, Facebook, HP, Google and others.
Jackson said Tuesday that he isn’t singling HP out, he’s just using the company’s annual meeting to highlight the broader issue.
“This is not exclusive to Hewlett Packard,” he said.
As recently as 2011, Allstate, in alliance with Jackson’s RainbowPUSH organization, recognized HP for its commitment to diversity.
“While we certainly agree that diversity is an important issue in corporate America, we’re puzzled by Rev. Jackson’s sudden interest in HP,” said HP executive vice president Henry Gomez in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “Today, HP is the largest company in the world with both a female CEO and CFO and nearly half of our leadership team and Board of Directors are women and minorities. Additionally, nearly 50 years ago, HP established the first Minority Business Program in the United States.”
Gomez also points out that in 2013, HP spent nearly $1 billion with almost 500 minority business enterprises in the U.S. and an additional $500 million with businesses owned by women.
“We look forward to seeing Rev. Jackson at our shareholder meeting,” Gomez says.
Apple and Google declined to comment on Jackson’s grievances. Hewlett-Packard, Facebook and Twitter didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
It is clear that the only way to make this situation equal is to lower standards so that blacks and Latinos can compete with Whites and Asians. If the product quality goes down, or things just completely stop working, that is a small price to pay for stopping racist Whites and Asians from oppressing the black and Latino people by not letting them invent things.