Today’s post is Leslie Miley’s post

4 Nov

Who is Leslie Miley?

Picture who comes to mind. (This is relevant.)

Leslie was an Engineering Leader Specializing in Mobile and Web Development at Twitter. As such, he was the company’s only African-American leader in engineering. He was also committed to being “a leader in eliminating environments where I am the only African American in engineering leadership.”

Leslie just quit and explains why in this blog post, which is the blog post I urge you to read today: https://medium.com/@shaft/thought-on-diversity-part-2-why-diversity-is-difficult-3dfd552fa1f7.

The question for any organization that claims to value diversity and claims to be striving to increase the diversity of its community at all levels is: How are you currently taking care of the people whom you already have? And more specifically, how are you taking care of people who identify with groups that are currently and historically under-represented in your organization and field? What does it take for people who don’t identify (in Twitter’s case) as white and male not just to survive but to thrive as employees, colleagues and leaders?

When Leslie writes about a colleague’s remark that “they forgot that you were black,” Leslie wonders:

Is a prerequisite to working in tech as a minority that one is expected to, in the eyes of the majority, sublimate your racial identity to ensure a cultural fit? In attempting to achieve the appropriate level of blackness that makes me palatable to tech, had I unwittingly erased the importance of maintaining my blackness in a sea of white faces?

Which leaves Twitter with a helpful starting point, if they actually mean that they’re “committing to a  more diverse Twitter” (https://blog.twitter.com/2015/we-re-committing-to-a-more-diverse-twitter):

What is the “appropriate level of blackness” or womanness for a Twitter leader?

Because it’s not enough to shoot for more racial and ethnic minorities and women at the bottom of your organization. Real change means shooting for transformation at the top.

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