'Time to be brutally honest': Tech's reckoning on race and power has arrived

Kevin William David
Director of Community @angellist. No 1 Hunter on @product-hunt .
'Time to be brutally honest': Tech's reckoning on race and power has arrived

From big banks to big-box retailers, tech companies are far from alone in issuing carefully worded calls for reform and social healing. But Silicon Valley occupies a unique, uneasy and perhaps critical role in the conflict because of its dual power as both a growing lobbying force and the architect of online platforms that allow protestors and law enforcement to alternately organize, broadcast and surveil the conflict unfolding on streets across the country.

The tension within tech over its role in the country's social divides is heightened by its notorious lack of diversity in hiring and a growing unrest among its own ranks, which are composed of both left-leaning advocates of social equality and conservative free marketeers who have opposed diversity programs at companies including Google.

Just 1% of venture-backed startup founders are black, and about 3% of technical employees at the industry's eight biggest companies are black.