The first time I was sexually harassed was in the hallway in 8th grade. My classmate put his arm over my shoulder and extended it to grope my right breast. Terrified, I instinctively smacked him. The hall monitor asked if everything was okay. “Yup!” We laughed. His was playful. Mine was a nervous laugh of shock and confusion. Those interactions became less and less funny as I grew older. In an office, I couldn’t smack a colleague. I had to be careful not to offend.
“Diversity” has been a popular buzzword these days when it comes to hiring engineers. We often hear about the need and desire to hire more women, more people of color, more people with “non-traditional” backgrounds who can help think creatively and give new insight to the industry. Here are two example candidates for you:
Earlier today Wall Street Journal posted a piece titled “Facebook Blames Lack of Available Talent for Diversity Problem”. Facebook has come to the conclusion that their diversity problem is due to there being too few underrepresented people who have the necessary tech skills to work for them. So instead of looking to find this talent, they are passing off the issue to the public education system.
I am a Black woman who will graduate with a computer science degree from Dartmouth College in less than a year. There are thousands of other Black and Latinx who graduate every year with computer science Bachelor degrees. Most of us don’t get hired into the tech industry. So instead of putting in the effort to look for us, Facebook is ignoring the fact that we even exist.
When I saw this article I had to fight back tears. I thought about all the work I’ve put into to get to where I am today and wondered will it even matter when I start my job search in a few months. According to most tech companies, if I can’t pass an algorithmic challenge or if I’m not a “culture fit” I don’t belong. I haven’t even started my first full-time job yet and I’m already so tired of feeling erased and mistreated by the tech industry. I’ve worked so hard to make myself visible over the last few years so it hurt me to see Facebook make such false statements. What more must students of color do to make it clear that we are qualified to be in this industry?