Thursday, July 22, 2021

Diversity and Inclusion in Silicon Valley

Diversity is our strength, or something like that. Surely, if you were ever to suggest otherwise the keepers of the sacred flame in Silicon Valley would quickly cancel you.

The truth, as everyone with an ounce of sense knows, is that Silicon Valley is run by Asians, with a few white people sprinkled in for taste. This is especially true when it comes to technologically sophisticated jobs. 

Kenny Xu explains in a Quillette article:

Silicon Valley runs on Asians. This is a well-known aspect of the tech world in general, but it’s especially apparent in elite sub-sectors. Even by 2010, Asian Americans already had become a majority (50.1 percent) of all tech workers in the Bay Area: software engineers, data engineers, programmers, systems analysts, admins, and developers. Census Bureau statistics from the same year put white tech workers at 40.1 percent. Other races made up, in total, slightly less than 10 percent.

Leon is a 24-year-old Facebook product manager fresh out of the University of Virginia. He interacts daily with teams of software engineers at Facebook, coordinating and leading projects and getting them in line. Among the four teams of five or so software engineers he works with on a daily basis, Leon told me, 15 out of the 20 are Chinese. “I don’t mean Chinese-American,” he clarified. “I mean Chinese-Chinese, like from China.” These Chinese engineers largely speak Mandarin during work, making the company billions as they write code with machine-gun efficiency. Or, as Leon puts it: “We’re at an American social media company surrounded by Chinese [speaking people].” (In case you were wondering about the other five out of the 20, they were Asian American. “I think I might see one or two white software engineers here and there,” Leon added. “Not a single black or Hispanic [engineer].”)

If you wanted to judge the greatness of the American educational system, especially its ability to train tech savvy workers, these numbers offer a telling rebuke. And we are now hellbent on replacing STEM subjects with a heavy dose of anti-racism training. Of course, we have been doing this for quite some time already. As Xu relates, the results bespeak a systemic failure to educate.

He continues:

According to publicly available 2020 data from Facebook itself, Asians make up 44.5 percent of the company’s total positions and 53.4 percent of what Facebook calls “technical roles.” (Technical roles include both the hardcore “software engineer” roles that are almost exclusively Asian-staffed, and the soft-core “data scientist” roles that tend to attract more white people.) But Asians make up just 25.4 percent of what Facebook calls “leadership” positions. That represents a nearly 50 percent cut in terms of Asian employees who start in the company and move up to leadership.

No other race exhibits the same low ratio. Black workers represent 3.9 percent of all roles at Facebook and 3.4 of leadership positions. Hispanic workers represent 6.3 percent of all roles and 4.3 of leadership. White people? Forty-one percent of all roles, and 63 percent of leadership.

When we measure whether a company has an “inclusive” climate, what are the statistics we really should be measuring? The percentage of people of various races who come in and start working for the company? Or the percentage who actually advance, who become leaders, and who drive the company’s focus and culture? Surely, the latter is more revealing.

Of course, we do not know why it happens that white people are more often promoted to leadership positions. Could it be that the Asian engineers do not speak English very well, and therefore are not very good at managing?

Whatever the case, Silicon Valley is not a hotbed for diversity. And yet, the social media platforms strictly enforce a woke ideology that they themselves fail to live up to. Go figure.


urbane legend said...

The left never lives by its rules.
Rule 1. If not for double standards, the left would have no standards.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between, "Silicon Valley is run by Asians," and "Silicon Valley runs on Asians."

Asians aren't making it to top management positions because they're too valuable where they are.

markedup2 said...

There are a number of reasons this is concerning. "Diversity" is not among them.

No, Sam, one really doesn't. Chinese Chinese on H1Bs, not with green cards.

I started working from home in 2018 after spending months in the office not talking with anyone. (Almost) everyone in the office speaks Russian amongst themselves (we have offices in Eastern Europe, not Asia). 2020 was a small change for me - I used go in _occasionally_.

I went in a month ago to make sure nothing was on my desk (I'm moving out of the city) and I had forgotten what floor the office was on. Security told me that the last time my pass had been used was two years prior.

370H55V said...

Check out US Today on Tuesday, with another headline article about how white Silicon Valley is.

If you missed it, don't worry. Just wait a month or two and they'll run the same article again.

autothreads said...

This is similar to how the insurance industry treated Jews. Jews could sell insurance and they could work as actuaries but they'd never be in positions of power.

nishdoogedacht said...


Yes, that's true. I am reminded of Alex Portnoy's father in Philip Roth's novel, who sold insurance but always resented the big boss of his firm "Everett Lindabury".

But if it will make you feel better, times have changed: