“Minority”, “Diverse”, “Under Represented” Technologists
when I am asked to speak on a panel for a more general audience, it is about my experience as a person of color in tech. The strange thing is that no matter what I do or say, you will always get it through the lens of a person of color in tech… which should be apparent to the audience
Saw this article last week and I was surprised by the title, the content and really the question…
3 tips from DC leaders to bring minority technologists to the table - Technical.ly DC
When you think about diversity and inclusion in tech, what comes to mind? Maybe it's having more women in power, or…
How about just asking them, inviting them as technologist… not “minority” technologist. Reaching out to get a diverse set of speakers, panelist, go to contacts when stories/opinions and perspectives are needed on tech in general, not just “minority” tech.
As for here in Washington DC, it is also about a consistent commitment from the community to support all of DC, including east of the river (look it up if you don’t know) and not always expecting individuals to go to the “in spot” or cool hip space, but to meet people where they are to build trust which then leads to the “community” that everyone says that they want…
I have been part of DC tech, for over 15 years, started my own company Clearly Innovative Inc which just had its 10 year anniversary and I am 2 years into Inclusive Innovation Incubator (IN3). When I am asked to speak on a panel from an organization focused on diversity and inclusion, I speak about my accomplishments, my work and my opinion on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship; but when I am asked to speak on a panel for a more general audience, it is about my experience as a person of color in tech. The strange thing is that no matter what I do or say, you will always get it through the lens of a person of color in tech… which should be apparent to the audience
So my tip is, when you are looking for someone to speak on being a “technologist”
1) In most cases you should look beyond your network because you probably have asked those people many times already.
2) That go to woman or person of color that you see on all the other panels that you think you be great on your panel, ask them to suggest a few people, lets gets some diversity within the diverse speakers
3) Just remember change in hard, we are in this situation because of a lot of things that happened long before you got on the scene so accept the challenges, the possibility that you will make mistakes, but listen and don’t get defensive when someone makes an observation that you are still in the “minority technologist” trap