US Information Technology
If we let raw numbers tell the story, minority under
representation and racism appears to be
especially prevalent in Information Technology, lurking just under
the covers, hidden and well-disguised behind rigorous education
requirements and institutional barriers. I recently visited
Silicon Valley, the bastion of the white Anglo Saxon computer nerd,
and the higher you go in the high-tech ranks, the whiter it seems to get.
I've been a database administrator for 25 years and I've rarely
met an African-American DBA and even fewer Oracle DBA's like me, with Native
This UCLA document
High-Tech Industries in California:
Panacea or Problem? notes
the institutional racism with minorities in Information Systems in
"If we look at ethnic breakdown of employment, we see in
figure 3a that Hispanics were underrepresented in the top ten
high-tech industries in 1984, and the disparity grew in 1999
when only 5 percent of Hispanics were employed in high-tech
industries . . .
The bad news is that the top ten high-tech industries hire
fewer than 11 percent of California workers, and only 6 percent
of California workers are scientists, engineers or technicians."
This study notes that many high-tech industries require a college
degree, leaving-out those minorities without the resources to pursue
an advanced education at a high-quality university:
"Furthermore high-tech industries do not create many jobs for
workers with no college: only 20 percent of workers in high-tech
industries have a high school degree (or less), while 50 percent
of them have college and advanced degrees.
Blacks and Latinos
are relatively under-represented at high-tech jobs."
But it's not just prejudice against the under-educated, the
quality of the degree also acts as a barrier to entry by minorities
into the high-tech Information Technology industries. Isn't
White Colleges Preferred?
For example, most of the top
note that they hire their software developers from the "top"
universities, difficult challenging institutions which have notorious barriers to
notes choices of schools for "top candidates" are often limited
to schools with comparatively tiny minority enrollment percentages:
"According to the e-mail, Oracle recruits "top candidates"
for product development from MIT, Stanford, CMU (likely Carnegie
Mellon University), Princeton, Wisconsin, Yale, Dartmouth,
Brown, Caltech, Berkeley, Harvard and Cornell.
In addition, the e-mail continues, Oracle will consider "top
candidates" from the University of Texas Austin, Duke, Penn,
Georgia Institute of Technology (grad students) and "any top
international schools," it reads."
The two-tiered University system
But it's not like large software companies like Oracle and
recruit from universities with high minority enrollments, like
DeVry, a university which claims to be one of the top producers of
engineers in the USA.
The numbers speak for themselves,
racism is alive and well in the US Information Systems industry.
I work in a minority-owned company, and Burleson Consulting is
proud of our collection of Oracle experts of many races and creeds.