Tag Archives: employment

Jim Crow in Silicon Valley – Worth a Read!

Great article by blksista! Here is the intro -you will have to visit her site to read it all. Those of you who are “tekkies” might want to add this, along with Subrealism to your list of black engineer’s blogs to check in on.

Dr. Frank Greene, who died suddenly December 26, and Dr. Roy Clay were feted in early January 2009 as two of the 50 most influential black technologists in Silicon Valley (Courtesy: San Francisco BayView)

There’s Jim Crow in Silicon Valley

A couple of decades back, in the late Seventies and mid Eighties when I was living in Silicon Valley, there had been a couple of discrimination suits involving tech companies that I had been following. The black engineers involved also claimed they had the perception that blacks (or Latinos) entering or employed in this industry would be horning into what I would call the last bailiwick of white male endeavor in the United States. Therefore, the atmosphere or environment there could be stiffly hospitable to hostile. (During one economic downturn, one company had decided to let go of more white senior and intermediate, than minority, newly-trained junior engineers so as not to piss off the Feds; when this leaked out it caused even more division and animosity among hard-pressed employees.)

I do not recall off-hand the names involved and the dates or whether these suits had concluded in favor of the black engineers or the companies or a whether it resulted in a split decision; that is, a settlement for the engineers instead of rehire. I recall more the engineers’ contention of a hostile environment with white engineers who were jealously trying to hold on their jobs, seniority–and privilege.

I don’t think that this has changed in some twenty years.

Silicon Valley isn’t exactly becoming whiter – but it is becoming less black and Hispanic. Part of it has to do with Prop 209 limiting, and largely eliminating homegrown talent who might stay in the area to work. The second has to do with the environment, blacks are actively fleeing the San Francisco and Bay area as the established black communities are destroyed. Another is the penchant of some of the companies to hire cheap foreign labor under worker Visas, instead of developing the American native pool, or paying American Engineers of which there is no shortage. The VC community also hasn’t been overly friendly to black owned start ups, meaning there isn’t much of a base of black owned companies to coalesce and develop talent. Lastly for outside talent from other places –  with traffic, the astronomical cost of housing, and the less than warm educational environment for your children – a job in the Sun Belt looks a lot more attractive to black Engineers and scientists.


Posted by on March 15, 2010 in The New Jim Crow, The Post-Racial Life


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At Last! A Sane Program for Small Business!

Small business is the heartbeat of America. You’d have never known it the last 9 years, as first the Bushit Administration did their damnedest to crush emerging technology companies, and over the last year the Obama Administration has been consumed by the Big Banks and Health Care. Finally, in an effort to clean up the Bushit disaster, President Obama has come up with the first lucid plan to support small business growth in over 40 years!

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Posted by on February 7, 2010 in News, The Post-Racial Life


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About Those Black Names

One of the bittersweet legacies of slavery in the black community is the giving of names to children. Social psychologists believe it started as a way to at least assert some control over slaves lives in a era when slaves didn’t normally have last names. A gifting of a small “uniqueness”, in a world where black people were seen as chattel.

Along the way, black mothers have created a number of distinct, and sometimes unique “black” names.

Is Your Name Limiting Your Career?

Is Your Name Limiting Your Career?

Folks my age remember way too much employment discrimination during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s to feel quite comfortable with the new job hunting techniques such as visual resumes and social networking. Potential employers, through medical databases, background checks, and credit bureaus have way too much power and ability to potentially discriminate as it is.

The prospect of giving them even more information opens the door  to some truly frightening abuses.

Youth unemployment today is at it’s highest level since the Great Depression, 52%. Unemployment in some cities is pushing 20%. White Collar unemployment, for people with College Degrees and demonstrated skills is over 7%.

Many companies now use search engines and sophisticated software to parse through potential candidates. The simplest of these programs search for “keywords” such as accreditations sponsored by outside companies or organizations. These might include for instance a network certification for someone looking for an IT job or a finance certification from someone looking for a job in the financial services industry. The negative trade off of this is that these tools discount real on-the-job experience in favor of certifications. But these are gatekeeper hurdles faced by all job seekers. There are “special” hurdles for black job seekers…

Hat Tip to The Grio on this one – Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in The Post-Racial Life


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