Allegations of Race Discrimination at Tech Companies
April 9, 2012. The web site titled "Online IT Degree" published a short piece titled "Is Tech Racist" last July. It is a short collection of graphics, with little text. It states that "It's one of the world's most rapidly growing industries, and yet from where it starts in Silicon Valley to where it ends in the hands of consumers, technology presents an irreconcilable flaw: It seems to be racist."
This piece states that the Silicon Valley "employment population" is 1.5% black and 4.7% hispanic, while the overall U.S. population is 12.8% black and 15.4% hispanic.
This piece also refers to HP's "face tracking" technology. It also states that "Microsoft patented an app dubbed ``avoid ghetto.´´". This piece states that the "app's purpose" is "Helping pedestrians navigate around black neighborhoods".
This piece also quotes briefly from a self published article by Andrew Wilson titled "Workers Leaving the Googleplex" that states that Google has a class of workers, with its own badge color and restricted set of privileges, that is "mostly people of color".
Also, the Minority Media & Telecom Council's (MMTC) Tiffany Bain wrote an article titled "Is the Tech Industry Biased Against Minorities?" which the MMTC published in its web site on April 8, 2012. This article discusses, among other things, Wilson's article.
Wilson stated in his July 2011 article that he previously worked jointly for Google and Transvideo Studios, which had a contract to do video production for Google at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.
He related that Google has white badges for full time employees, red badges for contractors, and green badges for interns. He then wrote that "a fourth class exists at Google that involves strictly data-entry labor, or more appropriately, the labor of digitizing. These workers are identifiable by their yellow badges, and they go by the team name ScanOps. They scan books, page by page, for Google Book Search".
"Most of them are people of color and are supposedly involved in the labor of digitizing information. I’m interested in issues of class, race, and labor". He continued that he "found it interesting that these workers, who perform labor similar to that of many red-badge contractors, such as software engineers, custodians, security guards, etc., are mostly people of color and cannot eat Google meals, take the shuttle, ride a bike, or step foot anywhere else on campus."
He relates that he also attempted to interview some of these workers, but was stopped, and that he twice videotaped them leaving work at the end of their shift.
He stated also that he was terminated after he videotaped these workers.
He did not disclose that Google also had a non-race related reason for
blocking his access to these workers, and for separating the books program from
other Google activities. There is major ongoing copyright infringement
litigation against Google arising out of its books program.