First let me say how much i enjoy Facebook. It's awesome, right? One can use this platform in any way one sees fit; be it political, religious or (one of my favs) just all out trolling. It is a space where one can post whatever they may be thinking at the moment; be it funny or morose or malicious. Facebook, the website, is part of that vast anonymity that encompasses the internet. Facebook HQ is not.
By now, most of the world has seen the internal message you posted to your employees. In the message, you reprimand your staff for crossing out Black Lives Matter to replace it with All Lives Matter on your company's signature wall. The tone of the message would suggest that this is an issue that has come up more than once. This was such an issue, you even saw fit to bring it up during Q&A at the company meeting. You took a stance that boldly said diversity and inclusion was expected at Facebook.
I was reminded of my own struggles of being a black woman in the tech industry; trying to take a seat at a mainly male, mainly white table. it got me to wondering what exactly diversity is when it is being defined by those same mainly male, mainly white counterparts? my former employer touted itself for being one of the most diverse places to work at in 2015 and not once did I feel the diversity. At the time of my employment, I was the only black woman in an office of over 200 employees.
Should you be applauded for you efforts? The part of me who WISHED my former CEO spoke more on social injustices and workplace inclusion across the board thinks so. The part of me who walked by board rooms named exclusively after white males thinks so. The part of me who is forced to work with those subtle and not so subtle hints of racism and discrimination think so. But it is not that simple.
In 2013, Facebook hired a black woman named Maxine Williams to head its global diversity initiative; a commendable move. Two years later in June 2015 though, Facebook's diversity stats were still dismal and the data showed a 69% male and 53% white staff. It's also noteworthy to add that the overall percentage of women employees increased by just 1% from the previous year. So what does diversity look like at Facebook?
When I saw your message to your staff, I was undoubtedly impressed. Here is a public figure letting his employees know that discriminatory behavior, the silencing of other voices is not tolerated. In the back of my mind, though, I couldn't help but think that perhaps if Facebook was more diverse in terms of it employees, this would hardly be a discussion.
There are plenty of talented and qualified candidates out here; probably even more so in Silicon Valley! Hire those people. Invite them to the conversation and gain an understanding of what diversity really is. Saying you're a diverse company means nothing if it isn't reflected through your actual employees. Reprimanding your mainly male, mainly white staff (repeatedly) accomplishes little if you are not having open discussions about diversity amongst a DIVERSE crowd.