This week we are exploring ways to make our company more inclusive and how to ensure we create a staff that is diverse and representative of our city. Here are a few articles we’ll be using to prompt our conversations:
- — Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult. via Medium
- — Has ‘Diversity’ Lost Its Meaning? via New York Times Magazine
- — You Want A Diverse Theatre? Prove it. via HowlRound
The first article from Medium, written by former Twitter Engineering Manager Leslie Miley, is an interesting case study. Although his essay gives insight into workplace diversity issues in the tech world and not in an arts context, a lot of the problems at Twitter are present in workplaces of all kinds. In the piece, Miley details some of the problematic approaches to diversity he witnessed at Twitter:
Personally, a particularly low moment was having my question about what specific steps Twitter engineering was taking to increase diversity answered by the Sr. VP of Eng at the quarterly Engineering Leadership meeting. When he responded with “diversity is important, but we can’t lower the bar.” I then realized I was the only African-American in Eng leadership.
Why wouldn’t there be a concerted effort to invite the few African American employees to these events? Is it because, as one colleague told me, “they forgot that you were black?” Is a prerequisite to working in tech as a minority that one is expected to, in the eyes of the majority, sublimate your racial identity to ensure a cultural fit? In attempting to achieve the appropriate level of blackness that makes me palatable to tech, had I unwittingly erased the importance of maintaining my blackness in a sea of white faces?