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Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the world-white-web dept.

Businesses 645

An anonymous reader writes sends this excerpt from CNN: "The vast majority of top executives at the leading Silicon Valley tech firms are white men. Women and Asians have made some inroads, but African-American and Latino tech leaders remain a rarity. About 1% of entrepreneurs who received venture capital in the first half of last year are black, according to a study by research firm CB Insights. ... 'The tech industry is pretty clubby,' said Hank Williams, an African-American entrepreneur in the NewMe program who had success in the Internet boom of the 1990s. 'There are really no people of color in Silicon Valley.' Others say the issue could be rooted deep within the black community. The NewMe co-founders said African-American families don't typically encourage business leaders or programmers to pursue interests in tech."

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645 comments

observing a lack is not proof (5, Insightful)

wmeyer (17620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037534)

Observing an apparent deficiency in demographics is not proof of bias, it is merely an observation of what is.

Re:observing a lack is not proof (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037588)

Yeah, but you're a racist so what do you know?

Re:observing a lack is not proof (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037606)

There are almost no black tech entrepreneurs for the same reason there are almost no black hockey players - black children and teens don't do either, and in any activity, the very top people in that activity are almost always the people who got involved in it before they were early teens.

A black person who goes to college for computers is not going to compete with a white kid who has been plastered to his computer monitor since he was 11, anymore than a black kid who starts playing hockey when he turns 18 is going to make an NHL team (or any kid who starts playing/doing/learning anything is going to make the Pro level of it if there are other people who have already been doing it 10 years - that counts musical instruments, sports, etc.)

The problem is twofold: Lack of access to computers for black children/teens, and a culture that doesn't support "wasting time" messing with technology. (Not that white culture was greatly supportive of my nerdy endeavors but at least my parents didn't stop me beyond demanding I go outside more.)

Re:observing a lack is not proof (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037788)

If your theory is correct, then the current advent of masses of cheap-to-free computers is going to boost black presence in the tech field within the next 10 years. Machines in the P-IV / AMD XP 2.nn GHz range are very common in dumpsters. Occasionally you find an an AMD64 (754 socket and 939 socket) or even an early Core (2) Duo[1]

Add in the "real" and Free (as in liberty and money) operating system and you've got actually *less* obstacles for a good understanding of computers than the proprietary counterparts from either Redmond or Cupertino.

[1] Disclaimer, I live in a well-off country and I find those in my local recycling centre. I used to take them, but I simply cannot find anyone who wants them (!). Even lower income families can afford the 3nn€ laptops on sale everywhere. Heck, I'm typing this on a cheap Atom based nettop. It was 199€, sans OS and has a D525, 2GB RAM and 320GB HDD. Turned out to be a nice desktop for me that is much more silent than my other machines.

Re:observing a lack is not proof (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037810)

If your theory is correct, then the current advent of masses of cheap-to-free computers is going to boost black presence in the tech field within the next 10 years.

Not necessarily. You're correct that access to computers is a big part of the equation, but equally important is the culture the child is raised in. You'd need to be sure the family that owns the computer encourages using it as a learning tool (like an Erecter set) and not just as a portal to youtube and facebook.

Re:observing a lack is not proof (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38038020)

It's plausible, or it could be a continuation of the chronic lack of access to capital that exists elsewhere in Black America. Bill Gates would never have been able to found MS had he not had access to both connections and money to start things off.

Article submitter is racist. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037690)

Where I come from, BBC still means Brittish Broadcasting Channel whereas in California it means Big Black Cock. Some questions, like the article, shouldn't be answered because they don't give a right to answer them due to the illogical constructions. We see crap articles on Slashdot like this because it's fake multiculturalism being used to destroy or astroturf on professionals. Likewise, a demographics of Blacks has always been primitive to not need or know the purpose of computing because they never persued any security of property requiring more than violence and degredation; this is true because the only Blacks I've ever met and seen are in the "video game programming schools" where they use not a Programming Language but a precompiled pseudo-code "presentation" software that requires no math beyond a 5th Grader mentality.

That's proof alone that most Blacks only see computers as just a cheap way to get cheaper entertainment or porn and sell stolen property or drugs while using their anonymity to harass anyone. They are in a vicious downward cycle, and Los Angeles and Illinois and Michigan are proof of that.

Proof alone is the article submitter for this discussion.

It's like I walk into Tibet and complain that there are no Chinese Tibetans or Communist Budhists and so the mainland Chinese government instead of naturalizing marriage between Chinese and Tibetans just starts pushing Tibetans into the ocean and bulldozing thousand-year old Temples to pave the way for modern Chinese commercial constructions and habitations.

Thanks niggers and jews.

Re:Article submitter is racist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037926)

Blow it out your ass you racist twat.

Re:Article submitter is racist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38038050)

Where I come from, BBC still means Brittish Broadcasting Channel whereas in California it means Big Black Cock

And the beat goes on... [youtube.com]

Re:observing a lack is not proof (2, Interesting)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037996)

I'd tend to agree, with the caveat that I suspect that there likely is a historical bias that we haven't quite caught up with yet. I strongly doubt that you're going to see any racial bigotry in today's market... but it takes a generation or two for people that were discriminated against to catch up. The 1960s weren't so long ago, and even the 90s were profoundly racist. A child requires an upbringing where they are free to explore. It takes time before you start to see a statistically significant number of the children of an oppressed people begin to innovate in hi-tech fields previously unavailable to them.

Re:observing a lack is not proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38038032)

Proof of bias in industry.... NBA, NFL

What about me (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037542)

About 0% of entrepreneurs who received venture capital in the first half of this year are white with my ethnic background.

I'm tired of being lumped together with "rich white men" just because I'm white.

Re:What about me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037666)

Doesn't matter. At the end of the day, unless you do something to physically alter it, you're given advantages simply because you look like rich white men.

Re:What about me (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037688)

maybe in the past, there are literally hundreds of different grants that you can get if you are "insert anything other than white male here" i for one am sick and tired of being told that i have an advantage because i was born white, if anything it seems the government is trying to keep me down instead of bringing them up.

Re:What about me (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037970)

Humans are a social species. Advancement is 90% talking the talk. If you're black, you may sound like you talk the talk of the Token Ethnic Minority if you're lucky, otherwise you just sound like you're not talking the talk at all. No matter how well you can walk the walk.

Grants get you some education but they're not likely to get you a job. Or a promotion. For example, there have been several studies done where CVs of various qualities were sent to random firms with stereotypical names from various races (and genders and ages). Guess which races were least likely to be called for interview? And this is already the least likely cause of differing opportunities, because over half the jobs (and a much greater proportion than half of good jobs) are obtained through networking. And, guess what? Tyrone and Sheneequa probably didn't mingle with Steven and Susan.

Re:What about me (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037724)

you're given advantages simply because you look like rich white men.

That's an assumption, and may not be true.

No. (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037546)

There are 100 times as many white teenagers plastered to their monitor messing around with their computer as there are black teenagers. Since successful tech entrepreneurs tend to be the kids who spent thousands of hours in front of their computer when they were kids, and the kids spending thousands of hours in front of their computer are almost all white (or asian), then of course almost all the tech entrepreneurs will be white.

It's got nothing to do with silicon valley. It's due to the comparative lack of computer availability to young black teens, and a cultural difference where American black culture has a much lower opinion on average of nerdy endeavors as opposed to American white culture.

Re:No. (2, Insightful)

ibib (464750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037578)

There are 100 times as many white teenagers plastered to their monitor messing around with their computer as there are black teenagers. Since successful tech entrepreneurs tend to be the kids who spent thousands of hours in front of their computer when they were kids, and the kids spending thousands of hours in front of their computer are almost all white (or asian), then of course almost all the tech entrepreneurs will be white.

It's got nothing to do with silicon valley. It's due to the comparative lack of computer availability to young black teens, and a cultural difference where American black culture has a much lower opinion on average of nerdy endeavors as opposed to American white culture.

In regard to an issue as important as this (why a certain sector is not reflecting society), it would be a lot easier to accept someone's opinion if they could refer to some kind of research or statistics instead of just offering blunt statements and/or rants.

Re:No. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037600)

In regard to an issue as important as this (why a certain sector is not reflecting society), it would be a lot easier to accept someone's opinion if they could refer to some kind of research or statistics instead of just offering blunt statements and/or rants.

Why isn't the NBA reflecting society?

Re:No. (2, Insightful)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037902)

In regard to an issue as important as this (why a certain sector is not reflecting society), it would be a lot easier to accept someone's opinion if they could refer to some kind of research or statistics instead of just offering blunt statements and/or rants.

Why isn't the NBA reflecting society?

Have you got evidence that the NBA in fact doesn't reflect society? Yes, we can all think of why there might be more black 7 foot tall guys in the NBA that in society, but there's no excuse for not having the evidence to hand. The assumption that evidence will turn out as expected, especially for things that seem obvious, will make people not bother to check reality against what they're saying. This goes for all sorts of issues, such as the cause of ulcers, whether lower taxes increase government revenue, whether people act rationally, and so on.

Re:No. (2)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037636)

a cultural difference where American black culture has a much lower opinion on average of nerdy endeavors as opposed to American white culture.

Do you have a citation (preferably multiple citations) to back this up? Certainly there's Ogbu's oppositional culture hypothesis, but there is also a whole body of work (most recently this [amazon.com] but I can point you several other works with consistent findings) that indicate a low opinion of nerds isn't isn't anymore prevalent among blacks than in American culture in general.

Yeah, I do. (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037744)

Comic Con.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037936)

Black culture (and not just in the US - my experience is in the UK) is going to be more negative about education/qualifications because of the much higher exclusion rate in schools and the far lower achievement levels. This is probably almost exclusively due to the higher rate of single families raising black children, with the knock-on effect of a lack of a male role model etc etc blah blah. So to me this is not surprising and unlikely to change anytime soon.

This is why black culture is generally anti nerd, because being intelligent/educated isn't cool. To be fair, this is hardly purely a black-only thing; there are plenty of white kids in exactly the same situation, but the figures are out there.

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/44768-race-divide-on-single-parents [metro.co.uk]
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-3497925-move-to-boost-black-pupils-exam-results.do [thisislondon.co.uk]
etc

Re:No. (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38038016)

Your first link talks about blacks living in single-parent homes, the second link talks about an achievement gap. Neither link supports the claim of blacks being "anti nerd".

Shifting back to the USA for a second, a literature review [alabamapolicy.org] found that the primary negative effect of being in a single-parent household is the loss of the second income, and that when income is controlled for: "the association between negative outcomes and living in a single-parent home is often substantially reduced."

In terms urging "parents of under-achieving ethnic minority pupils to get more involved in their children's education" (your 2nd link), if you have the time, take a listen to this [whyy.org] (again, US-centric) where Prof Harris mentions that there isn't much of a difference between the involvement of whites and blacks in their children's education, the problem is that blacks tend to be more punitive in their involvement rather than being helpful when children underachieve (e.g. "you got a 'C' so you're grounded" vs "you got a 'C', what do we have to do to help you perform better?")

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037650)

> It's due to the comparative lack of computer availability to young black teens.

Oh bullshit. A computer exponentially more powerful than the ones that we learned on can be found sitting on the curb on garbage day if you're willing to look.

Re:No. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037704)

A computer that can do more calculations per second, yes. Hell, my phone has more processing power than the computers I grew up using.

A computer a kid can have in his home and connect to the internet and mess around with the guts of, no.

Re:No. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037734)

Sounds like the fault of the parents, not Silicon Valley. Then again, I _am_ white. Perhaps black people are subjected to additional testing and requirements when buying electronics that I am not aware of?

better question: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037590)

is there an institutional reason for the source forge spam box on the front page?

Re:better question: (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037770)

yes thinkgeek owns both slashdot and sourceforge, the three of which together are the most frequented geek sites. thus thinkgeek management is simply trying to tie them together more tightly that is why we had an article on bullet proof clipboard that is oddly enough available on thinkgeek a couple days ago.

Access to a Computer (3, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037592)

Anyone with $50 - $150 and a library card can pretty much obtain a PC and learn how to use it. Craigslist special. Cable companies are offering dirt cheap broadband, as well as various other gimmicks to get cheap net access. An individual so motivated to p0wn da webz only needs to make the time and effort. There has to be 10,000 other occupations with a higher barrier to entry.

My 2 cents.

Re:Access to a Computer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037614)

Yeah, until your drug addict parent pawns it for crack money.

Re:Access to a Computer (0)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037658)

Im fairly confident having a drug addict / alcoholic parent f's up everyones life, regardless of skin color / race / religion.

Re:Access to a Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037742)

racist as fuck!

Re:Access to a Computer (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037746)

Yes, having a drug addict parent is a disadvantage. That's not a bias against blacks, though; that's a bias against losers.

Re:Access to a Computer (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037932)

Yes, having a drug addict parent is a disadvantage.

But how many character points do you get for them? Do the get listed as a dependent, or are they patrons or allies with a negative point value? Sorry. Been in GURPS mode all day.

Re:Access to a Computer (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037776)

Due to Moore's law, most pawnshops won't accept PC's. They become obsolete too quickly to make a profit on the second hand market.

Re:Access to a Computer (5, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037716)

That doesn't matter. The computer has to be in the child's home already. A kid who doesn't have a computer doesn't know that he wants to mess around with his computer. He has to have a computer, then be one of the few kids who would rather mess around with it than just play on it or do something else.

Re:Access to a Computer (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037866)

The parent can get the kid a computer. It's not rocket science.

Re:Access to a Computer (1)

lpp (115405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037934)

But if the culture the parent was raised in did not emphasize computing (and/or the culture the parent is currently part of) then they will not provide this for their kids.

Re:Access to a Computer (5, Interesting)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037870)

When I was a kid the computer "wasn't there" already. (Of course that way about 1980.) There wasn't any in school either.

My parents basically bought me a VIC-20 to make me stop taking apart the household electrical appliances I found in the house or in the garbage. Someone who likes to tinker with technology can't be stopped by not having a ready-made computer around.

I also volunteer in a youth / children centre. There is a HUGE gap between kids that DO stuff and are INTERESTED in stuff, and a large group of "Me, I don't care about anything, do something for me, entertain me...." kids.

An *entrepreneur* can only come from the first group. The others might still be able to get well-paying jobs somewhere, even in programming and/or IT, but the will almost never really *start* something like a company themselves.

Re:Access to a Computer (4, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037930)

This is a very important point that you make. Everyone I know who is into tech had a computer in the home from a very young age. Most black people I know aren't into the inner workings of technology. I know one black guy who's a bit of a computer geek and he's had a computer in his home since a very young age. When I was a kid - the 80s/90s - having a computer wasn't exactly common unless your family had money.

I'm not going to bother to look up the statistics b/c everyone knows it's true: black families in America tend to live in poverty. It's a result of how they got here in the first place and the fact that they haven't had legal equality until the 1960s. I would be willing to bet that tech entrepreneurs by and large were raised in middle class or upper class families - that they tend to have parents who went to college. It's not black or white, it's rich or poor. Thus it looks black/white because a disproportionate amount of blacks are poor. I'm sure somebody can find an example of some rag-to-riches tech entrepreneur, but that's the exception, not the rule. And why does tech have anything to do with it? There aren't many black entrepreneurs in general (no, I don't consider LeBron James an entrepreneur, no matter how many companies he starts up).

Re:Access to a Computer (4, Insightful)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037874)

Anyone with $50 - $150 and a library card can pretty much obtain a PC and learn how to use it. Craigslist special. Cable companies are offering dirt cheap broadband, as well as various other gimmicks to get cheap net access.

That's true right now. It wasn't true 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, which is what is impacting the current market for entrepreneurs.

Re:Access to a Computer (3, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037910)

So it's a non-issue, since, no amount of "solution" will cause 400 successful (insert skin color of choice here) entrepreneurs to show up over night, short of a big fat check stolen from tax payers. Maybe thats how the Solyndra people were so successful. ;)

Re:Access to a Computer (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037964)

Five years ago, someone with $150 could have pieced together a usable new machine that would still be functional today. Someone with $300 (or who could pay in installments) could have paid a high school kid to build it for them.

Not just blacks, what about other minorities? (5, Interesting)

Faizdog (243703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037598)

So this story is based off the CNN documentary "Black in America: Silicon Valley." I haven't seen the actual show, but CNN has been pushing it a lot the past week and showing clips from it.

One really interesting clip that I saw had an Indian who had experience with VCs and start-ups and was also a professor somewhere giving a talk to the African American entrepreneurs.

Now Asians in general, and Indians specifically I don't think are as rare in Silicon Valley and are found amongst high level executives. Additionally, this particular individual was well spoken and articulate, capable of creative thinking, didn't have a strong accent, and in other ways didn't fit the stereotype of an Indian caricature.

However the ONE thing that he said was to get a good looking white guy to be your front man when going to VCs. He said that when we wanted to get funding, he got a (admittedly very capable and accomplished) white guy to be his partner. He said that's just how things work in the Valley. The African American audience he was speaking to was very shocked by this.

The point made was that VCs look for what works. And if they see a bunch of "successful" start-up companies run by young white guys, that's what they look to fund. Plus add in the inherent bias towards good looking white guys in business who fit the common archetype (with as Dilbert says good hair).

While we're on the topic, what about women (white or otherwise)? Are VCs more likely to discount a company being led by women as they're not thought to be "techy"?

So, any thoughts form people with experience here, either for or against this argument. Do all races (not just African Americans) need Caucasian male partners to improve their chances for success.

I don't buy it. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037738)

Even if that's true for some people, some other people are going to look past those issues to find good things to invest in.

I'd have no trouble investing in a company led by a woman, but I wouldn't invest in a company led by a mom with children in the home (and probably not a dad either).

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037778)

Wow. So parents need not apply. You know most business leaders throughout history (and most successful people of any sort) have been parents, right?

Re:Not just blacks, what about other minorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037752)

one of my white friends was hired to be the ceo frontman for a tech company in the valley that had mostly indian employees. when he was hired he was told they needed a white guy to pitch to the VCs.

Re:Not just blacks, what about other minorities? (2)

durdur (252098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037968)

That is not my experience. I know several Indian CEOs and they had no more than the usual amount of trouble raising venture capital.

No people of color my ass (4, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037604)

Ever heard of Vinod Khosla? How about legions of Asian programmers? Oh, no people of *his* color. Yeah, just another conspiracy by The Man to keep the bruthas down.

Seriously, when will this victim mentality shit ever end?

Re:No people of color my ass (5, Funny)

fragfoo (2018548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037630)

Ever heard of Vinod Khosla? How about legions of Asian programmers? Oh, no people of *his* color. Yeah, just another conspiracy by The Man to keep the bruthas down.

Seriously, when will this victim mentality shit ever end?

It will only end the day a black president is elected.

Re:No people of color my ass (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037670)

as a middle aged USA born white guy, I find myself VERY MUCH in the minority in the engineering areas of silicon valley.

I have no idea what this guy is talking about, but if you want to complain, complain about being passed over for a job because you are *not* desi. or even if you are desi but from the wrong part of india.

silicon valley may be white at the top, but its not in the worker classes. and the top is the 1% guys; who the fuck cares about which 1-percenter gets this or that.

Re:No people of color my ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037680)

The problem is that most people in Silicon Valley are racists like this guy. Worth nothing that the other closeted racists in here posting about how lack of access to computers is to blame only think that because all of their internet social networks are white as snow. Unacknowledged privilege and denial of how racism affects opportunities are going to rule the day here though.

Re:No people of color my ass (1)

brainproxy (654715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037692)

Ever heard of Vinod Khosla? How about legions of Asian programmers? Oh, no people of *his* color. Yeah, just another conspiracy by The Man to keep the bruthas down.

Seriously, when will this victim mentality shit ever end?

When it stops being advantageous to be white.

Re:No people of color my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037806)

>> Seriously, when will this victim mentality shit ever end?

> When it stops being advantageous to be white.

I'm white and I have a black boss. Am I being oppressed somehow? Is there a number that I can call to report this?

Re:No people of color my ass (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037698)

Of all the racist stuff I've seen in my time as a programmer, the vast majority of it was directed at Indians. All you have to do is read Slashdot for a bit and you'll hear someone complain about what lousy programmers Indians are, and getting modded up.

On top of that, I've seen racism against Asians, and on occasion even Whites. But I don't recall hearing any racism against blacks. Or for that matter Latinos.

Re:No people of color my ass (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037858)

Depends whether you are talking about indians in america or indians in india. There are quite a few places in india that hire rock bottom horrible coders, with little education, and then set them up for hire for american companies looking for the cheapest labor possible, that isn't racism, that is around a system where people are putting themselves into a job that they don't have the qualifications or experience for (Note not every company that can be outsourced in india do this, but there are enough out there to draw attention). Now an indian person living in america with legitimate schooling and experience I doubt there would be a significant level of racism towards.

Re:No people of color my ass (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38038028)

If you make a negative comment about someone based solely on their race, then you are being racist. East Indians are perfectly capable of being top coders, and more than a few white people are lousy at programming.

Re:No people of color my ass (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037796)

Seriously, when will this victim mentality shit ever end?
as long as babies are born victim mentality will continue, despite race. despite programs to help. hell i have victim mindset over here, despite many people trying to get in my way of getting on disability. despite having money to access computers i tinkered with. as long as people go 'poor pitiful ___' for victim mentality it will thrive.

Aha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037612)

This is why people have given Derek Smart such a hard time for all these years. Clubby bastards!

anonymous reader? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037644)

Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?

Herman Cain - is that you? Sorry, but I don't think most people would consider Dominos a "tech enterprise".

Re:anonymous reader? (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037784)

No. Because Cain believes that a person stands on their merits, not their skin colour. Being half-asian, I do the same. Institutional bias to 'create' groups of people and segregating them does more damage than anything, and the left are very happy to use those all the time.

Useful tip: You might want to actually look into his "computer related" background experience.

Re:anonymous reader? (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037872)

No. Because Cain believes that a person stands on their merits

... only if they're male. And 100% of the women who have come forward to complain about him have been white ... is Cain a racist sexist, like OJ Simpson?

Not exactly (-1, Troll)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037656)

Our whole society is biased against black people. They are denied education, and the people in power prefer their own kind. Most people who make more than maybe $60,000 a year aren't used to interacting with black people, are afraid of them, and assume they are stupid and shouldn't be trusted. However, I have observed that some of them do like to give black people menial jobs so they can congratulate themselves though.

Re:Not exactly (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037754)

Our whole society is biased against black people. They are denied education, and the people in power prefer their own kind

I don't think it is as simple as that. I think there is a strong bias against poor people and black people are far more likely to be poor. I suspect that white trailer trash are almost as likely to suffer the same problems as poor black people..

I think that there is also an element of racism involved against black people, but a lot of their problems stem from the money available to them when young.

Re:Not exactly (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037794)

Our whole society is biased against black people. They are denied education, and the people in power prefer their own kind. Most people who make more than maybe $60,000 a year aren't used to interacting with black people, are afraid of them, and assume they are stupid and shouldn't be trusted.

None of that is true, or only true in very exceptional cases. There's absolutely no discriminatory laws in place (except perhaps to advantage minorities, and very few racist individuals. Of those who are racist, the majority would never admit it.

The under-representation of particular races in particular fields have little to do with racism, and nothing to do with innate capability. It is purely a social artifact of history.

Re:Not exactly (2)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037982)

There may be no laws in place, but the system is set up in a way (possibly, but not necessarily unintentionally) that is biased. Poor people are disproportionally black, and tend to live with areas with shitty schools and no jobs. Bam! They aren't getting out of it!

We have the same shit with the Romas here, and nobody likes to talk about it. They're often sent to substandard schools or schools for "special" children, and then everyone is surprised that they generally don't perform well and some turn out to be fuckups.

No that's not it at all (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037974)

First off, whoever modded you Troll - I think they're wrong. I think you're asking a serious question. So I'll give you my serious answer.

The problem is cultural. The culture that a great many black children grow up in is simply broken. Are you familiar with the term "Uncle Tom"? It's an insult that black people aim at other black people that used to mean "sucks up to white people" but these days means "act too white", i.e. speaking proper English and getting good grades. It's actually frowned upon.

I'm not making this up. Here is an example. [thegrio.com] The one person is "less black" and an Uncle Tom because they grew up not poor, in a middle class area with both parents married. Less black. Think about that one for a bit.

And the submitter is wondering why you don't get a lot of scholastic achievement from this culture.

Black people are NOT denied education. My university has a list of grants and help as long as my arm for anyone who isn't Caucasian. The problem is that black people (in this area anyways, YMMV) are taught from birth that you are "less black" and something of a traitor to your people if you get good grades and act "too white". There is your real reason.

Think I'm kidding? Watch this bit from Chris Rock (nsfw). [youtube.com] Why is everyone laughing? Because it *hits home*.

The culture itself is broken. Fix the culture and allow success to be defined as "gets good grades" and the numbers will change as if by magic.

Answer is realy simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037662)

The answer is really simple actually. The tech industry unlike the more traditional ones demand that you actually for for success. Nothing is handed down, there are no unions to ensure you kept your job. Everything has to be earned. You are not entitled to any free rides. You can forget any type of stereo types. The answer is it just requires smart people with the will and drive to move forward. We had a black VP in our company. But we ended up firing him.

I'm not saying black people are bad. They just come with too much baggage and the competition out there keeps them well below the 1%. I mean this article already says a lot about the subject.

hehehehe (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037780)

indeed. bill gates pulled him self up by his boot straps, worked 5 jobs through his public school education, went to a land grand university, and was lucky enough to sell enough copies of BASIC out of the back of computer magazines, before he and his friend Steve Ballmer were able to create the first IBM computer, running Windows. Then Steve Jobs, with his liberal hippie turtleneck, got poor Bill to smoke a "joint" and then stole his ideas while Bill was passed out on the couch. Then President Clinton forced Microsoft to sell Apple products and sell subprime mortgages. This really pisses me off, that people think the government was involved in creating computers and the internet. It was all Bill, and his creations were stolen by the same kind of latte sipping, unemployed lazy hippies who are Occupying Wallstreet or whatever it is they call it.

Cause/Effect (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037672)

Let's look at the fundamental facts here. Well, fact, since there's only one inarguable thing:

African-Americans and Latinos are underrepresented in tech-firm leadership.

That's a correlation - executives in the tech industry tend to be white males (who are significantly overrepresented). Asians and white females are more or less as common as expected. Probably a bit less, but not as significantly.

Now, as we all know, correlation does not imply causation. But it does hint pretty heavily that there is something involved. Since I don't have access to many studies, and can't do my own, all I can do is list every possibility I can imagine, and informally think about it.

Possibility 1: There is a specific bias in technology against blacks and latinos. I find that a bit hard to believe - the tech industry trends liberal, and I'm sure plenty of techies would rather have Geordi La Forge for a boss than Gates or Ellison. It's still a possibility, and I'm not saying no techies are racist, but overall, I don't think this is the best explanation.

Possibility 2: There is a specific bias among business executives against blacks and latinos. That I can definitely believe, but I don't have any statistics to support or refute it, and I'm not sure it would explain it fully.

Possibility 3: There is a specific bias amongst blacks and latinos against entering technology. I suspect this may be a contributing factor, perhaps even the main one. It's only anecdotal evidence, but when I was in high school, there were very few african-american students in the tech program, and no hispanics at all. The ones who were there were fine (one of them remains a good friend, and one of the brightest people I've met), but you'd see a lot more in the art or music programs.

Possibility 4: There is a specific bias amongst blacks and latinos against becoming business executives. This probably isn't a major factor, but it may be a small one. At the very least, racial minorities tend to be less wealthy, which would naturally make them less likely to become major business leaders.

Going off gut instinct, I would say it's a combination of business leaders being biased against blacks/latinos, and blacks/latinos not being encouraged by their parents to enter the tech field. That would be my hypothesis. The best way to check would be to look at the independent factors - you should see a bias against blacks/latinos at all levels of technology, and a bias against black/latino business leadership in other industries, but neither bias should be alone as significant as that seen in tech business leadership. I'd look myself, but I haven't even RTFA yet.

Option 5: Victim Mathematics (3, Insightful)

Atypical Geek (1466627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037766)

Using the same logic as proponents of institutional bias, one could argue a pattern of discrimination against males because they do not make up half of all maternity ward patients despite being half of the population.

Re:Cause/Effect (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037854)

"Gender and Ethnicity

Hackerdom is still predominantly male. However, the percentage of women is clearly higher than the low-single-digit range typical for technical professions, and female hackers are generally respected and dealt with as equals.

In the U.S., hackerdom is predominantly Caucasian with strong minorities of Jews (East Coast) and Orientals (West Coast). The Jewish contingent has exerted a particularly pervasive cultural influence (see Food, above, and note that several common jargon terms are obviously mutated Yiddish).

The ethnic distribution of hackers is understood by them to be a function of which ethnic groups tend to seek and value education. Racial and ethnic prejudice is notably uncommon and tends to be met with freezing contempt.

When asked, hackers often ascribe their culture's gender- and color-blindness to a positive effect of text-only network channels, and this is doubtless a powerful influence. Also, the ties many hackers have to AI research and SF literature may have helped them to develop an idea of personhood that is inclusive rather than exclusive — after all, if one's imagination readily grants full human rights to future AI programs, robots, dolphins, and extraterrestrial aliens, mere color and gender can't seem very important any more."

jargon file v4.4.8 appendix B section 10 gender and ethnicity

i think that about sums it up

Re:Cause/Effect (3, Interesting)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037988)

On your points 3 and 4:

What is common in both technology and business executives is that there is a lot of "discussion" and "argument", even stuff bordering on "fighting" going on. That's pretty normal when people favouring different technical / economical solutions try to push their solutions.

Perhaps minorities then tend to think "Oh, gosh, they shoot down all my proposals, they must be racist / sexist / etc ..." and leave. Basically some "self-fulfilling, self-inflicted racism"

[GROAN!!} Next article, please! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037674)

nt

Affirmative action (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037702)

Affirmative action has been used and found to have positive results when applied to other walks of life. So why isn't it being done here? Geeks should support affirmative action for the best reason of all: "it just works". For problem-solvers, this is like using Windows XP for a solution, you might not like it, but if it works then it gets chosen.

What would affirmative action in the Valley look like? And how can it be implemented while we have a sympathetic African-American president?

Re:Affirmative action (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037838)

Affirmative action has been used and found to have positive results when applied to other walks of life.

It's also been found to have detrimental effects when applied to other walks of life. The cure for racism is not to enshrine it into law, as affirmative action does. The important thing is to make race an irrelevant factor in success in a field... and I believe it is, in the tech industry.

I think it's very rare in Silicon Valley that an otherwise deserving businessman loses out because they're black. Rather, the deficiency is in the lack of deserving minority businessman in the first place. That's a social and cultural issue, and may not even be a problem. Not every culture needs to have equal representation in all fields; that's one of the ways in which cultures are different.

You don't think it has more to do with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037710)

a higher percentage of White and Asian people have access to tech then do most Latino and Black people?

absolutely not. (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037718)

"some of my best friends are black. or.. i mean. indians are black right? "

-- Johnny V., CEO Status Quo Capital

No (2)

Reelin (2447528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037726)

...but there is a socioeconomic one in the United States...

Note: Correlation does not imply causality.

There is racism and there are bigger problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037750)

There is clubbiness, nepotism, elitism, Black culture, a bunch of Asian cultures, inertia and who know what other immigrants. Whites may now be a minority in Silicon Valley but their culture is still the culture of industry and innovation. I suspect it is a vital ingiredient yet is willing to embrace changes. I've been here for two months and my most memorable interaction with blacks would be with the enticingly dressed young ladies in front of cheap motels asking me if I was lonely. I did not think much of the black guys keeping an eye out for them around the corner. Fixing this is going to take an effort by all of us.

Just a sec (1)

zegota (1105649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037800)

"Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black..." I'm going to go ahead and stop you there. Yes.

There's certainly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037822)

An institutional bias in favor of dumb as bricks Indians, rather than actually finding an American who is more qualified.

Yes (5, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037842)

I worked at a Fortune 100 company in a large IT department in a major coastal city. We had some choice in where we worked. I first worked in a group alongside a black guy, who told me he worked in his group because he didn't get along with someone in another group, he was vague about who. I then went to work for that group. I got along with my manager, but he had it in for this black guy from the other group. In fact I would socialize with the manager and co-workers. At the bar, he would sometimes speak disparagingly on Arabs, Muslims, blacks, Mexicans and the like. When there were layoffs, the black guy was let go. He didn't have direct influence over the group, but having one of the managers there against you was certainly not a help. There didn't seem to be a logical reason for the antipathy either. Honestly, I still get along with this former manager, although I don't agree with his thinking in this respect.

I worked at another company, Fortune 1000. I worked alongside a black co-worker, with whom I had a common manager - white, from the Midwest, late 20s. Again, the manager had a lot of antipathy and made life hard for this co-worker, for no reason I could see. I think it's difficult to work in conditions when your manager is against you and is waiting to jump on any error you make (it happened to me once when a new manager wanted to push me out and get his friend in my position, which is a long story itself). Eventually my co-worker left, or was pushed out, or whatever - the co-worker never wanted to talk about it when I spoke with him after.

So from my experience, the racism is usually not from co-workers, or from upper management and HR, who would probably be happy with some functional, if token, black faces. It's usually from lower management types, who in my experience are often a bundle of neuroses and incompetence to begin with.

On another topic, to quote George Jefferson, with enough green you can always get people to forget the black. When the dot-com boom happened years ago, money flowed into the web properties of Vibe magazine, UBO, BET, Black Planet etc. Plenty of companies were interested in reaching the "urban" market. There is even cross-over - plenty of white teens listen to not only Eminem, but black hip-hop artists. I just read a piece in Adweek on how Android had captured the African-American demographic in the US. Of course, this still is a ghettoization of sorts - it really opens up when blacks get venture capital for new chip designs, or software products or the like, not just web and social media properties geared toward the urban market.

Take the global view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037920)

Anybody noticed how easy it is for whites to get venture capital funding in the India and Pakistan, and in Africa? That's why there's all those white multibillionares there. Talk about double standards! In India foreigners can't even buy property, never mind own companies. In Africa - well, ask the Zimbabwe farmers how they're doing. When Americans stop being so ignorant and insular and start looking at conditions in the whole world rather than just in Silicon Valley, they will realise that whites are just as discriminated against, globally, as anyone else.

I'll go with 1 part in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037960)

As I QUITE RECENTLY saw this, 1st hand, as a landlord:

"African-American families don't typically encourage business leaders or programmers to pursue interests in tech" - Posted by Soulskill on Saturday November 12, @06:21PM from the world-white-web dept.

One of my tenant families was black. They had a son, bigtime f'up in school, but he DID show interest in computing!

(Gaming & the like: Yes, it IS a 'start', & same start I had ALMOST, because I did have interest in doing more than just gaming (probably same with others here too as their "starting point" or near to it...)).

His mother told me:

"I don't want him spending all his time on a computer & that's all he'd end up doing or knowing"

I told her "That's how a LOT of computer freaks that end up making a living of these machines start - with an interest in gaming, & in fact, it is how I got 'into them' & enough to be paid for doing it..."

She wasn't hearing any of it!

She "removed his abilities" shall we say, to mess around on the system, not a bad system either (Pentium 4 512mb RAM etc.)

In the end? Well... the kid got booted back to live with his father (screwed up bigtime in school, some sort of trouble there), & that, was that... afaik @ least.

* Too bad too - See, the kid was genuinely interested in these machines, & that is HOW it starts OR CAN... even with gaming!

Interest is nearly everything, because it spurs the need to learn more, etc. (imo & experience, & not just with computers... heck, take women for example - & most men KNOW what they're about there because they're "interested & motivated" to "do better/more" in that, ahem, area, lol... poor example? Oh, I dunno about THAT, lol!)

I state that & it's obvious!

It can lead one to start thinking (@ least for me way, Way, WAY back when) "How can I make this hunk of junk I run move faster to game better"...

That train of though later led to knowing how to "tune" my operating system...

That in turn, led to networking interests!

Which eventually led to coding & doing fairly well @ it professionally for coming up on 2 decades of time in it as a pro...

Enough for me to go back & pursue computer science degrees & eventually work in the field professionally (first as a techie during school, then a network engineer, then coding, & into systems/business analysis etc./et al).

You CAN make ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE happen if you are lucky and you try...

However - I think that once you"get there"? You find out it's NOT all "daisies & balloons" either... problems still present themselves, no matter what kind of job or money you make. There's no perfect world in other words...

APK

P.S.=> SO - Is what I saw the 'definitive' end all/be all/all there is to it?

Well, probably not, but... it IS what I saw, this year no less, before that family moved out... from my own personal experience, and yes, that of what I have literally SEEN in a black family I had as tenants last year into this year.

(Also - Anyone can go down to the local "Mom & Pop" computer stores in smallville USA and pickup a starter machine for about $50-$100, & one that's NOT TOO DAMN SHABBY either, & certainly enough to get online & get started on, so... saying it's "economically oriented" is complete bullshit too! After all - you do NOT need a "state-of-the-art" system to learn & start on... heck, the 1st degree I went to for CSC in 1993 or so had 8088's we learned on, & this WAS in the era of the 486 66mhz system too!).

Everything, & I MEAN everything, starts @ home... & life IS what you make it, but sometimes, you have to demonstrate you're using your time wisely (especially to parents & gaming WON'T CUT IT... not w/ parents who aren't "in the know" themselves & can't say "Hey kiddo, want to make your games run FASTER & BETTER? Learn to 'tune up' your machine, & here's some material on that..." etc.)

... apk"

Another Log (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037980)

How black entrepreneurs can succeed in Silicon Valley http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/12/black-entrepreneurs-silicon-valley/#disqus_thread

Black People Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037984)

Black people suck at writing code. What more do you need to know?

Stupid argumentation (4, Insightful)

meburke (736645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38038006)

This is the kind of stupid argumentation that drives me crazy! (Disclaimer: It is not really a drive, but more like a short putt.)

Somebody notices a glitch in the distribution where the data has been sorted by a hot political topic, and immediately everyone starts expressing an opinion. They are jumping to conclusions which, by definition, means they have not done any meaningful research, analysis, or other investigation. The whole discussion becomes a time-waster or political agenda.

This is an opportunity for some sociology team, anthropology team, or maybe economics team to FIND OUT WHY, by researching the issue and discovering what actually influences the situation.

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