Why Diversity is garbage (as an ex-Google tech lead)

– Hey, welcome back, TechLead here. Now, first of all, I wanna say I did not really want to make this video about anti-diversity because I believe that the intentions behind there are good. However, I feel that we have gone too far and I wanted to do a follow up video on the manifesto video that I did a few days ago about how tech has become hostile to certain types of people. See after I posted that video, I started getting some
tweets from other people and I did some more research into this and I realized that there’s a lot more discrimination in this field than I had thought. And that’s really disturbing to me. And I know some people will say, I’m one of the privileged people. When you’re privileged, then equality feels like oppression. No, this isn’t really about me anymore. This is about future generations. My son, for example, I would like him to get into tech as well. And I’m just imagining this field that can be very hostile to him and other people like him as well. So let me show you what I found and I want you to keep
an open mind about this. Diversity, it’s a very
delicate subject to talk about. It triggers a lot of people immediately and I feel that if we can not even discuss whether the approach is right without somebody blowing up in your face, then I think that’s going to lead us down a tenuous path. And I want to preface this by saying I support everybody get into tech. I think that we can all learn the skill but it should be a meritocracy. So let’s get into the first piece here. So somebody sent me this screenshot for an Oracle summer internship that lists a bunch of
eligibility requirements like a GPA, computer science degree. And then this says explicitly that you must be African American, Latino, Native American and/or a woman. And that just seems pretty
racist and sexist to me. It excludes so many
different types of people. Not to mention it’s also requiring you to be a sophomore. To me that sounds like age discrimination. Now, regardless of moralities, if you’re to take a look at the Civil rights Code
Section 703 it says, “It shall be unlawful employment practice “for any employer to fail or refuse “to hire any individual “because of such individuals race, color, “religion, sex or national origin”. So here’s my problem with this. The way I had to understood
diversity programs was that they would be for students for underrepresented minorities and they will not be in
any employment capacity, no internships, no full time jobs. Because I believe that
this is illegal by the way. But if you wanna teach
high school students how to code, if you wanna engage with elementary school students and get them more
interested in STEM topics, then that sounds perfectly good to me. Just widen up that funnel. But as soon as we started
talking about internships, internships, especially tech internships, as say Facebook, Google, Oracle, any of these tech companies, they are so valuable. Having an internship on your resume is essentially a key into a full time position. And an opportunity like that, especially if it is paid. And offers you real-world work experience. I don’t believe that we should be discriminated on that. I believe it excludes too many people. It’s not fair. It is not meritocracy, and it may be illegal as well, where the public and society have deemed that this type of discrimination on key opportunities simply
should not be acceptable. Now thinking in a little bit more, I also noticed that we’ve
got Facebook University and Google STEP, which is student training in the engineering program. But if you read the descriptions, both of these programs, they explicitly say that they are internships,
paid internships. And so I find myself wondering, well, why don’t we just have internships where we explicitly list certain races and genders in which we’ll accept and which we won’t accept. And, I have the suspicion that perhaps that these programs, these diversity programs are thinly veiled internships just to skirt around the law of employment. To me, it’s kind of a loophole. So when I posted about this on Twitter, I got a bunch of responses, but some of the responses
really shocked me. One of the responses was from the leaders of BlackTechTwitter and she said, “I’m happy those are the
eligibility requirements “and all of you are mad about it “well I don’t care lol”. Someone else replies, “Please find more of these, “I would like to post them to my friends “and colleagues so that they can apply”. And they justified this by saying that, “It’s illegal because up
until now institutions “were discriminating
on gender and ethnicity “and they wanted to change that”. So now, it’s essentially
reverse discrimination and that was not what this movement I thought was going to be about. I thought it was about
that firstly equality and creating a better world for all of us. Me and my children included, not at our expense. And then someone sent me
this link to WomenHack where they offer invite
only events focused on connecting top female engineers, designers and product managers with opportunities at
diversity first companies, you have to apply for an invitation and you can meet a bunch of companies, top tier tech companies like Facebook, Oracle, Google, Lyft, Square, Asana. And honestly once you
allow discrimination, the sword really cuts both ways. I found this other internship which only allows Indians, H-1B visa Indians, and they’re only looking for these types of people for iOS engineering roles. And so when I think about our children, let’s imagine someone has a white male son and then they adopt a black daughter and they’re raising these two kids at the same time in parallel, these kids are not going to have equal opportunities and it’s going to be strange. The white male son won’t be excluded from virtually every coding curriculum, bootcamp, internship, job
fair training program, events, conferences, parties, everything. This white male son won’t be excluded and they may just make
tech feel unwelcoming and hostile to him, especially when it is so unbalanced in terms of the programs
that were offered. There’s virtually no program out there for any other type of person. And of course there are so many different types of people out there in the world. What about the underprivileged,
poor, white and Asian males, the Canadians, the Indonesians, Philippines, Brazilians, Italians. And if we’re looking
for diversity of thought because we believe that
diversity brings value into the workplace. What’s to say that you can
imagine some Chinese boy who gets adopted into some black family, he grows up with the culture and he may have a better understanding of the black culture and what it can bring
to modern tech society than even say a black person who grows up in just suburban white Kansas. So my concern is not about whether diversity is good or bad. It’s great, it would be great to see more different types of people, but it is about the approach in which we are taking that leaves out a lot of people, not to mention in this day and age where identity is so fluid, you may have many women
self identifying as males and then they would automatically
disqualify themselves from such programs. You may have people who have only an ounce of native American blood
identifying themselves as native American. There may even be half races where it’s not really even clear anymore and perhaps over time, everybody’s going to just
get all mixed up anyways. And I know some people will say that I’m just another
privileged Asian male and I can’t recognize that, but I’m not really sure what privilege you’re talking about. I grinded for 10 years applying to Google every single year, getting denied each time
until I finally got in. I sat in front of a computer for hours by myself learning how to code and then once I got into
Google I hustled understanding to code better than anybody else until I earned the role of Technical Lead. I was not just handed any of this stuff. And as far as privilege goes, research actually shows the opposite where there’s systemic bias in favor of underrepresented minorities. And so I think the issue we have here as far as gender goes at least is that the gender gap begins
far before people even get into these companies before
they’re applying to the jobs. Even in high school, only 27% of all students taking the computer science exam were females and then by the time they get to college, only 18% of computer
science degrees go to women. Now this doesn’t actually have anything to do with ability. According to research, The Gender-Equality Paradox, “Girls performed about as well “or better than boys on
science in most countries, “and in almost all countries, “girls would have been capable
of college level science “and math if they had enrolled in them”. So the researchers actually assert that when women are empowered, they actually go towards non-STEM degrees because they feel they’re
even better in that than computer science, they claimed that, “Some would say that the
gender STEM gap occurs “not because girls can’t do science, “but because they have
other alternatives based “on their strengths and verbal skills”. “In wealthy nations, “they believe they have the freedom “to pursue those alternatives “and not worry so much
that they pay less”. So as I see it, if we really want to tackle this issue, we need to be looking earlier in the pipeline like at junior high and high school students and not so much at
creating more internships, creating more hiring programs and tech conferences. Because at that rate, the graduation rate for
women in computer science is only 18% and if you’re trying to push
it any higher than that, then you probably do
not have a meritocracy. And that’s not to mention, I find that somewhat contradictory that once women actually get into tech, I’ve seen multiple female
colleagues at Facebook and Google, they cry and they have to quit in tears because they plan to become a mother and none that these companies
offer chances for remote work. These women, they wanna spend
more time with their children. There’s just no way to do that and so they find that they have to give up their careers anyway after all of that struggle. So let’s talk about some of the solutions that I would recommend if we want to pump these diversity numbers. First of all, I would say that, anything that is based
on say your identity, the way you are born should be excluded. That’s what I would like to see. I would like to see this
based on scale meritocracy. If you’re interested in
boosting diversity numbers because you think that diversity
is a great skill to have, then there should be a test for this such that if you have seen Chinese Asian male who is born into a black family, if he can understand black culture, black history better than a black person then he should get the
role for a diversity job because he can bring more of
these diversity perspectives, underrepresented minority viewpoints into a company and help represent them, there should be a test
that anybody can pass. Secondly, personally, I would like to see these gray zone
summer internship programs to remove the entire funding redirected into public coding bootcamps that are aimed at high school students and junior high students available to anybody who is willing and able to code anyone who has the interest. There’s no need to
discriminate on any sort of identity politics here and it’s clear that we need
more role models as well from underrepresented and
minority groups of people. So I will launch a marketing campaign, put the posters, YouTube videos, showing all the types of different people that are working in tech. And then lastly I will look into stronger maternity
and paternity programs that offer remote work, part time work to help mothers and fathers continue
to raise their children as they’re continuing to do work. The U.S is so far behind
the other countries in terms of this. Other countries are
offering one to two years of paid leave, remote work, part time work and then the U.S is only offering three
months worth of leave. It’s just not enough. And at this rate, women who are also very
interested in becoming mothers, they may just abandon the tech field and opt be a dentist or a doctor where they have the ability
to do part time work, maybe hire a babysitter occasionally and still be there for their children. And then lastly, a bit of friendly advice. If you’re already in the system and you believe that it
is treating you unfair, it’s unwelcoming hostile to you. (swallows) I might recommend just self identifying as a Native American black lesbian female, and that should open
up other doors for you. Sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire. So that’ll do from me. Hope you enjoyed the episode. Let me know your thoughts on this topic. If you liked the video, give it a like and subscribe and I’ll see you next time. Thanks. Bye.