In politics, as consumers, as employees and decision makers, black women are often ignored and taken for granted. But those who continue to discount black women do so at their peril.
Imagine crafting an ad only for white people. Maybe you narrow down the targeting to a certain location and slice out certain ages for good measure. That might make sense if you’re trying to sell a cream-colored foundation in your Manhattan boutique, but you’d be ill-advised to try it for advertising housing or jobs — because it’s against the law.
A familiar voice booms in the background in a commercial extolling the virtues of artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology. The voice’s slight accent and cadence suggest, without even looking up that it’s the voice of a Black man. “It’s possibility. It’s adaptability. It’s capability.” The voice spitting the spoken word on the value of technology and Microsoft A.I. belongs to Common.
Last week, members of the Congressional Black Caucus visited Silicon Valley, on a trip largely dedicated to pushing major tech companies to increase the racial diversity of their workforces. That is an important goal, but it’s not enough for the Apples, Twitters and PayPals of the world to employ a particular number of members of racial minority groups.
By Leah Wright Rigueur and Bärí A. Williams, Columnists
Last week, while in West Virginia for a roundtable discussion, President Donald Trump made a sharp detour from his scheduled remarks on taxes to rail against alleged voter fraud in elections. “In many places, like California, the same person votes many times,” he told his audience. “They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people.”
OAKLAND, Calif. — Last month I spoke at a gathering of African-American technology professionals. I’m a transactional lawyer at a tech company and my husband is an engineer, so the industry is at the center of our lives. We have careers that allow us to help create products and tools our grandparents would never have thought were possible and to provide the kind of life for our family that they couldn’t have imagined. And it’s important to us to ensure that other people of color have a chance to contribute to the field and reap its benefits. With all those things on my mind, I left the conference energized and inspired by the ways in which tech is changing the world and the possibilities it holds for our community.
Discussing her work at Apple at an event last week about fighting racial injustice, Denise Young Smith, the company’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, said, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse, too, because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”