Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's stop with the Silicon Valley diversity BS

I just felt compelled to respond to the ridiculous use of data by some of the recent articles arguing about diversity in Silicon Valley. The problem of racial diversity in tech companies is systemic American problem, not a Silicon Valley specific one. We need to address the root cause of the problem, which is that not enough non-Asian minorities are going into Engineering related fields.

This chart on the left is from a CNNFN/Forbes article by Julie Pepitone. It accuses Silicon Valley of trying to hide a diversity secret.

It makes the workforce imbalance seem terrible skewed and that there's some type of severe discrimination problem going on in the valley.

Well, how about we compare this data to how specific racial demographics go into engineering according to 2008 NSF data?

% Engineers Enrolling in Undergraduate Programs (Data here)

Wait, so in Silicon Valley, a engineering centric business center has the exact same percentages of Whites, Blacks and Hispanics who go into the Engineering fields? And while Asians have double representation, California has 2.5x more Asians on percentage basis than the rest of the country.

Can we please stop wasting our time with this debate, and focus on building systems that get underrepresented minorities into math, science and engineering careers? Creating a false maelstrom over SV hiring practices is just going to help the problem.