Facebook, Public/Government Education and Diversity

Audrey Watters:

On July 14, Facebook released its latest “diversity report,” claiming that it has “shown progress” in hiring a more diverse staff. Roughly 90% of its US employees are white or Asian; 83% of those in technical positions at the company are men. (That’s about a 1% improvement from last year’s stats.) Black people still make up just 2% of the workforce at Facebook, and 1% of the technical staff. Those are the same percentages as 2015, when Facebook boasted that it had hired 7 Black people. “Progress.”

In this year’s report, Facebook blamed the public education system its inability to hire more people of color. I mean, whose fault could it be?! Surely not Facebook’s! To address its diversity problems, Facebook said it would give $15 million to Code.org in order to expand CS education, news that was dutifully reported by the ed-tech press without any skepticism about Facebook’s claims about its hiring practices or about the availability of diverse tech talent.

The “pipeline” problem, writes Dare Obasanjo, is a “big lie.” “The reality is that tech companies shape the ethnic make up of their employees based on what schools & cities they choose to hire from and where they locate engineering offices.” There is diverse technical talent, ready to be hired; the tech sector, blinded by white, male privilege, does not recognize it, does not see it. See the hashtag #FBNoExcuses which features more smart POC in tech than work at Facebook and Twitter combined, I bet.

Related: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.