Departing Employee Writes Memo Breaking The Silence On Being Black At Google

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Written by Ann Brown
Google

Apparently, it ain’t easy being Black and an employee at Google. At least that is what one employee is saying and he’s spilling it all in a memo he wrote and released before leaving the tech giant.

“Over the last five years I’ve heard co-workers spew hateful words about immigrants, boast unabashedly about gentrifying neighborhoods, mockingly imitate people who speak different languages, reject candidates of color without evidence because of ‘fit,’” he wrote.

The former employee wrote about how he routinely encountered racism at the company.

The memo, titled “The Weight of Silence,” was obtained by Motherboard and points directly at Google’s lack of diversity.

“So, just as I’m doing with this essay, I ultimately resolved to break my silence. And though I eventually grew more comfortable using challenging moments to educate my co-workers, I never stopped feeling the burden of being Black at Google. And the more insensitive comments weighed on me, the less safe I felt here — and the less capable I was of being my best self at work, or myself at all,” the memo stated.

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The employee worked at the company for several years before leaving and he sent the memo internally. 

”The memo highlights once more how several employees at Google are unhappy with how the company treats its employees. In the summer of 2017, an anti-diversity memo written by a now former employee caused an uproar within the company. Last week, a new mother shared a memo complaining that the company discriminated and retaliated against her for being pregnant. This memo is the latest public manifestation of the internal tensions within the company, which were recently detailed extensively in a Wired feature,” Vice reported.

The memo didn’t just complain about the environment at Google, he also often solutions to the company’s diversity problem.

He listed three steps Google could take to work on its diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Those steps included restructuring the company’s referral program (which, they said, perpetuated the diversity gap), use virtual reality more prominently in diversity training to build empathy and curtail biases, and offer more mental health support for employees of color,” Business Insider reported. 

Diversity in tech has long been an issue and Silicon Valley has promised to work on it. But not much has changed over the years.

“Google, along with other Silicon Valley giants, has struggled to hire a more diverse workforce. In 2018, Black employees only accounted for 2.8 percent of Google’s technical roles and 3.6 percent of its leadership roles. Overall, Black employees accounted for 4.8 percent of Google’s total workforce,” Business Insider reported.