A Few Musings on Racial Diversity in Tech
People often talk about affirmative action as strictly a benefit to the minority student. But it is equally a benefit to the majority student. It puts that student in intellectual contact with people who come to college with very different experiences and viewpoints and expectations from life. Dealing with that contact is one of the ways people learn how to think. Discussing “Huckleberry Finn” in an all-white or all-non-white classroom is completely different from discussing it in a mixed-race classroom. So is discussing race-conscious admissions policies.
I really don’t like this particular argument for affirmative action or diversity. No student of color should be burdened with the expectation of being the “race representative” or singlehandedly bringing a multicultural experience to the classroom. Yet that’s what this line of thinking often leads to. Fortunately, I didn’t experience this much, but I do remember a couple of instances in college where I was looked to in order to provide the “black” perspective on a piece of literature, and I hated it.
"Ideally, we would like to see a professional base that reflects the entrepreneurs in which we invest, one that is robust and diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, nationality and age."
Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, on the typical demographic profile of venture capitalists
Given the discussion around minorities and women in tech, I suspect one reaction to this quote might be the following: