Jamelle Bouie posted an article for The Magazine (issue 7) headlined: “An implicit network, not overt racism, keeps tech writing dominated by white men.” His point is that few (that is, there are a few, but not many) people of color are staff and regular contributors to technology magazines, websites, or blogs. Even his own The Magazine, he says, has “issues” with diversity: of the 26 people who contributed to the first six issues, 22 were white men.
Moreover, he notes that everyone uses gadgets, with African Americans and Latinos, for example, using Twitter and Facebook at higher rates than whites. (Bouie’s reference to color does not mean, of course, South Asians and Southeast Asians.)
He partly chalks up the problem for African Americans and Latinos to internships—and the economic issue of who can afford to take an unpaid internship. The same social-economic issue MAY be connected to who enjoys the social status or networks needed (or at least convenient) to breaking into technology journalism.
I don’t think internships are the major issue, since our research indicates that with many such issues (and certainly the relative lack of women throughout STEM fields) begins WAAAY before college and the question of internships. Such notions about what one can or cannot do, what one is likely to be successful or a failure at, begin in childhood. Early childhood. Certainly the internships would not explain why so few white women are writing about technology.
But he is correct, and totally on point, that the technology community is large and diverse: “We should want the community of people who write about it to mirror that diversity. We have nothing to lose, and a huge wealth of perspectives and experiences to gain.”
Thus the need for early education programs to give kids early confidence that they can develop and use online skills, and contribute their knowledge. And we really hope that Wikid GRRLS will attract African American and Latinas girls.