Silicon Valley’s racism problem is bigger than Facebook

When former Facebook manager Mark Luckie published a Facebook post earlier this week asserting the social network has a “black people problem,” he rocked the public’s already shaky perception of Facebook. But as unfortunate as Luckie’s allegations are, racial bias in the tech industry is not isolated to Facebook, according to diversity statistics and a recent Pew Survey.

‘No one is doing the hard work’

Many big tech companies like to crow about their diversity and inclusion efforts, which include hiring chief diversity officers, disclosing diversity goals, using diversity-recruitment tools and offering courses that reduce bias. Indeed, executives including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff have all emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace for marginalized communities. 

“It obviously starts by having a workforce that is diverse, but inclusion is a cultural piece that we all have to work on everyday,” the India-born Nadella told students at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and the Stern School of Business in 2017, adding that inclusion “shows up in every meeting, starting with me.”

The numbers paint a grim picture, though. In general, 83% of tech executives are white, with the overwhelming majority of those white executives being male, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. African Americans and Hispanic employees each account for fewer than 6% of all employees at companies including Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter (TWTR). And in Uber’s case, the percentage of African Americans in its workforce actually declined from 8.8% to 8.1% year-over-year.  

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