Up through, roughly, Barack Obama’s re-election, Silicon Valley and Hollywood assumed that all this talk about diversity only applied to old-fashioned conservative companies, like oil, but not to them because they were liberal and cool and couldn’t possibly be racist. But after the 2012 Obama campaign cashed its last checks from California, diversity locusts began to descend unimpeded upon Silicon Valley.
The vastly wealthy tech firms responded by throwing money at the problem, but they remain reluctant to actually put blacks in positions of authority over technical matters.
For example, in 2014 Google hired April Christina Curley, a black lesbian with an MA from Johns Hopkins (in secondary school teaching), to recruit engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), but finally fired her in 2020. Of course, she’s suing and dishing dirt on Google. From her twitter thread:
In 2014 when I started, the very first thing Google gave me was their “Project Bison Proposal”, which explained in no uncertain terms how they assessed talent at HBCUs. The following quotes are directly parsed from this document..
Google’s stance was that “our interview feedback case studies and curricula analysis demonstrate that current HBCU CS Departments are not graduating strong technical talent. HBCU CS students struggle with the most basic of coding, algorithms and data structures.”
“The first step is to help Howard students meet the Google bar — it’s also the right thing to do for the future of diversity in technology. With this huge percentage of the pool currently not hirable, we need to look at ways to impact change in the HBCU system.”
“Banned interview questions and feedback, as asked through mock interviews at Howard University by Google Software Engineers. Howard CS students severely struggled with basic coding, algorithms and data structures.”
“We interviewed CandidateA, a graduating CS Senior, in May 2013. CandidateA was a faculty referral and allegedly one of the best CS students at Howard. Interview score of 1.1;”
“Strong No Move Forward. Couldn’t handle basic algorithms. Couldn’t handle working with java collections beyond absolute surface level. Does not understand code in any depth.”
TO BE CLEAR THESE ARE THE WORDS OF GOOGLE. The time I spent recruiting at HBCUs says otherwise by the way. The kids at Howard and every other school I worked with are simply BRILLIANT. Period.
Well, they are probably BRILLIANT compared to April.
Anyway, Google poured a lot of money into revamping the Howard U. computer science program, but apparently to not much avail, at least so far. Here’s a graph from the Washington Post:
So Google has successfully fought the plague of White Supremacy by reducing the white share of their technical workers from a disgraceful 62% in 2014 (and what did Google ever accomplish up through 2014?) to 48% in 2020, but mostly through the expedient of boosting its share of white-adjacent Asians from 35% to 48%.
The problem for HBCUs is that non-HBCU colleges are so hungry for black talent—e.g., Robert Covington is the only basketball player from any HBCU in the NBA—that HBCUs are stuck with mediocrities like Ibram X. Kendi and Kamala Harris.