Skill Deficiency? Google Faces ‘Blacklash’ Over Plans To Train 100,000 Black Women In Digital Skills

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Black Women
Skill Deficiency? Google Faces ‘Blacklash’ Over Plans To Train 100,000 Black Women In Digital Skills. Photo: AD – Bus Tour – Spelman College 105. Photo: AD – Bus Tour – Spelman College 105

Google recently launched a new initiative to provide digital skills training to 100,000 Black women by 2022. It was announced by the tech giant’s Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker on Friday, Feb. 12 in a blog post.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of other Black women,” Parker wrote. “That’s why today, as a part of this work, I’m focused on helping our employees build connections and uplift each other, and ensuring that everyone has the resources and support they need to thrive at Google. … Today, we’re proud to further that mission by announcing Grow with Google: Black Women Lead, an initiative to train 100,000 Black women in digital skills by 2022.”

According to Parker, the company will partner with six Black women-led organizations including the four sororities included in the Black Panhellenic Council’s ‘Divine Nine’ – Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta; as well as The Links and Dress For Success.

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Alpha Kappa Alpha president Glenda Glover told Black Enterprise her organization was happy to be a part of Grow With Google.

“In partnering with Google, Alpha Kappa Alpha will narrow the digital divide, one further revealed by this pandemic. By mobilizing our membership of 1,026 chapters, we are helping prepare them for new educational opportunities, otherwise not easily available,” Glover said.

Though the program is lauded as a way to bridge the digital divide and support Black women who have become disproportionately unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic, not everyone is celebrating the news.

Some critics took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with some of its components. “This is an insult,” user @byst tweeted along with a screenshot from an article about the program that highlighted the resume building, interview training and online marketing aspects of the program.

https://twitter.com/byst/status/1361787802866835456

“So true! How about teaching hard skills that lead to the jobs(IT, Forsenic Accounting/Finance, Healthcare Data Analysis, etc)of the future,” added user @Sharedcubicle_.

User @PotatoOf Destiny chimed in noting, “google notably does not announce initiative to hire 100,000 black women in anything at all” then added it was “also worth noting that the only reason they do stuff like this it to try and drive down industry wages, since they figure they can away with paying black women less than white men.”

Others pointed out the very initiative itself still showed the company struggles with discrimination.

“Stop this sh*t. The way you mentioned “Black women” still shows discrimination. There are lot of other ways to show respect,”tweeted ARupakSaiDHFM.

“Google: “We see people’s skill, not color of their skin!” Google: “We won’t make differences between M/F, we are all equal!” Google: “Black Women Lead” So far so good, Google!” added user @I_Tlucek_l.