As part of his nationwide tour, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited the historically black North Carolina A&T State University on Monday, where he fielded questions from students about technology, politics, media, and, of course, diversity.
Who could be more qualified to talk about diversity than a white CEO of a company that has only 1% black employees?
He should’ve expected questions about diversity, reported Gizmodo, but he still gave an embarrassingly long-winded, rambling non-answer riddled with misinformation. During the Q&A, a PhD student addressed the overwhelming whiteness of the Silicon Valley and business communities, asking, “What do you intend to do about that and what advice would you give to us as minorities to strategically navigate the entrepreneurial world so that we can be included?”
“Frankly, I think that that’s our problem to figure out,” Zuckerberg began, before talking about why diversity is important. A shaky start—why wouldn’t black students know about the importance of diversity? He then explained that Facebook “has had to build specific teams” to focus on diversity and that he’s particularly invested in unconscious bias training for his hiring mangers.
“We do this really rigorous training for every manager on Facebook,” he said, “because a lot of people who think they care about diversity actually have a lot of these biases that hold them back.”
Zuckerberg can talk about unconscious bias training and focusing on diverse recruitment, but the reality is Facebook is less than two percent black.
In 2015, Facebook listed only 145 black employees out of 8,446 in total. That makes it the least black technology company among its peers, falling behind Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple. So for Mark to get up in front of a room of black students and speak favorably about his personal stance on diversity is both absurd and insulting. He can espouse a commitment to inclusion all he wants, but his company’s demographics don’t reflect it.
Zuckerberg continued to emphasize why unconscious bias training is so important, telling the students, “it’s often the people who think they’re doing the best who are doing the worst,” which clearly applies to Zuckererg and his company, if he actually believes he is doing good.
He then continued to crash and burn as he talked about the workforce.
“There’s a very clear dynamic in the world right now where there’s way more demand for engineers than there are engineers,” Zuckerberg said.
Research suggests the opposite: that there’s not a shortage of engineers or STEM field workers in general. That’s doubly true for black college graduates. Although black students reportedly earn 4.5 percent of all computer science and engineering degrees, they make up only 2 percent of the Silicon Valley workforce. Yet Zuckerberg told these students that there are more than enough jobs for them, reported Gizmodo.
Zuckerberg tried to seem like an informed, likable guy, but the Facebook CEO sounded more like an uninformed politician spreading alternative facts about diversity.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)