Huddled around the tip of the massive iceberg that is our struggle with diversity in tech is a disproportionately small group of coders of color, whose education is commensurate with that of their white peers, but whose road to employment is twice as hard. Elsewhere in the ecosystem is a cadre of progressive companies that are aware of this disparity, and looking to bridge the gap.
They’ve got the “what,” acknowledging that the disparity exists. They’re actively working to figure out the “how,” experimenting with inclusive hiring practices, and training. And that’s good and important work. But really, the next step for progressive tech companies will be a candid exploration of the “why” — one that finally allows us to break away from the overly simplistic narrative that the critical moment of discrimination takes place on the recruiter’s desk.
We owe it to ourselves and to our diverse communities to accept this as a data point, but not as the complete answer. We need to keep ourselves from architecting solutions that place this as the central problem from which the others stem because it’s not. It’s the tip of the iceberg. And while we’re shoveling away at the tip of the iceberg, we run the risk of losing sight of the 10-ton mass lurking beneath the surface.
About David Delmar
David Delmar, Founder of Resilient Coders, is an award-winning designer and interface developer with experience working with startups and established brands. He most recently built and led an exceptional creative group at PayPal’s Boston office, uniting design and development efforts into a single team. Together, they were responsible for designing and building first-to-market digital advertising concepts for big brands. He believes in knowledge-sharing, and so helped launch the PayPal Incubator (fka Start Tank), and served as its User Experience subject matter expert, advising startups on product design. He sits on the Boston University College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Board. David believes in technology as an opportunity for real meritocracy. And in the idea that anyone with a bit of time, patience, and resilience can become great. He invites other technologists who share this vision to join him in being resilient in our communities.