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February 2013

Silicon Valley likes to think that it exists as some paradigm for equality, rewarding intelligence and hard work over class, race, sex, and pedigree. But that’s not quite true. Rich kids had no problem infiltrating the culture with people like the Mall of America heir and David Tisch buying their way into the club, as chronicled in The New York Times last year. Money and an important (Stanford) education can buy access. Also, think about all the Harvard people Mark Zuckerberg hired to work at Facebook and then think about what it takes to get in to Harvard. Meanwhile, the notable lack of female and Black faces out there suggests that other barriers — not hard work and smarts — have limited entry of minorities and women.


Rebecca Greenfield, The Atlantic Wire

This is from an essay called How White Male Tech Writers Feed the Silicon Valley Myth of Meritocracy. This essay includes some tweets from White male bloggers who insist that tech writing and Silicon Valley are “post-racial.” Bless their hearts. So…we’re just making up White privilege, class privilege and male privilege. Institutionalized racism creating structural barriers, the likelihood of networks being built on same-race relationships and higher socioeconomics creating exclusivity are just figments of our imagination, apparently.

Anyway, the writer also references an original post that got the conversation started in the first place, An implicit network, not overt racism, keeps tech writing dominated by white men by a Black male writer, Jamelle Bouie. He wrote about structural barriers, the privilege one needs to really be able to take on extended unpaid internships to get a foot in the door of these places, not having network connections and more.

All of this makes me think about Christopher Hayes’ book called Twilight of The Elites - America After Meritocracy. Excellent read on this MYTH.

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