Mike Arrington, Race, And HTML5

Electronic Frontier Foundation founders Kapor,...Image via WikipediaTalking about race is not negativity any more than talking about HTML5 is positivity. It is just plain objectivity. Group dynamics is more cutting edge a thing than anything we have seen in tech so far. (My Web Diagram) And race and gender are some of the most cutting edge topics in group dynamics, gender even more so.

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Race, Gender, Tech (2)
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But right now the controversy is race. Months back it was gender, thanks to the same character Mike Arrington.

Mike Arrington: Idiot

Is Mike Arrington a racist? He is a character, that's for sure. As for if he is a racist, that question assumes the label racist is an easy one to pin. I don't think Mike Arrington is capable of hate crimes. But that does not mean he is not a racist. Racist behavior is a spectrum. Racist thinking is a spectrum. There is a relationship between the seemingly benign racist joke and hate crimes. And race is not a matter of individual opinion any more than medical research is a matter of individual opinion. Mitch Kapor touches upon that.

In this debate Mike Arrington comes across as clueless and defensive.

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And then there is this old media, new media tension in this debate, but there Mike Arrington is no holy cow. As a former blogger he has been guilty of all that he now accuses of: sensationalism, playing gotcha, etc.

Mike Arrington: Racism: The Game
the tweets, emails and other messages just keep rolling in, featuring some of the most hateful stuff I’ve ever read ..... And, screw it, we’re all just racists anyway, says white guy Mitch Kapor. “The operation of hidden bias in our cognitive apparatus is a well-documented phenomenon in neuroscience. We may think we are acting rationally and objectively, but our brains deceive us.” Statements like that, by the way, scare the hell out of me. They can be used to justify almost anything. Like how we’re all racists. I wonder if Kapor could argue that he himself is rational and objective, even though no one else is....... Feld. The guy who writes the crowd pleasing words, apparently, so that his venture firm can stay more…let’s say racially pure. And the list of mentors at his TechStars accelerator program – well let’s just say they did manage to get a token black man and a token black women on to that list of hundreds of mentors, but it sure doesn’t look like “take action” to me. ..... not every black entrepreneur deserves to be funded, or exceed. The vast majority of them should fail, and will fail ...... Many of Silicon Valley’s biggest success stories are from Asian entrepreneurs who came here with nothing, sometimes, illegally, and found a way to win. And back when the early pioneers were doing that, bias was definitely built in to Silicon Valley. They succeeded despite that. To ignore this is to throw away valuable data, and I don’t see any good reason to do that. ........ Feld will keep saying nice politically correct things but won’t be hiring any black people because there’s no pressure on him. ...... I, in contrast, don’t say politically correct things. But I have educated ideas about how to begin to fix the problem, and I’m willing to both speak my mind and listen to others (but only if they don’t scream at me, or throw me under the bus to write niceties about doing more while doing absolutely nothing). And in the meantime I’m funding, promoting, hiring and generally doing what I’ve always done to help out women and minority founders. ..... Many of us are taking solid strides forward in Silicon Valley. I wish that all the people up on their pedestals trying to get credit for saying the right things about race would just get down, get to work, and make things happen, too.
Mitch Kapor: Beyond Arrington and CNN, Let's Look at the Real Issues
Research should matter more than personalities, and anecdotes should not take the place of data....... (1) The dearth of African-Americans in Silicon Valley Valley is not just a supply problem. (2) Silicon Valley is not nearly the meritocracy it holds itself out as...... The participation of African-Americans in the Silicon Valley ecosystem as founders, engineers, CEO's, and venture capitalists is disproportionately low. Silicon Valley is dominated by white and Asian males. ....... there are practices in recruiting, promotion, and retention within the IT sector which are problematic for women and under-represented people of color, and reduce their participation. Specific experiences of exclusion, bullying, difficulty balancing work/family are reported at much higher rates by underrepresented groups -- i.e African Americans, Latina/o/s, and women of all backgrounds. Another vicious cycle at play. "If I’m not going to be valued or respected, then I’m outta here." ........ Silicon Valley likes to think it operates as a pure meritocracy, e.g., it's the best teams and ideas which get funded. In practice, as luminaries from John Doerr to Ron Conway acknowledge, key decisions are often guided by a combination of pattern-matching based on superficial characteristics and the network of people you already know. ........ If "young, white, geeky, and Stanford/Harvard/MIT dropout", then "invest", is a kind of mental shortcut that is anything but objective. This is mirror-tocracy not meritocracy. ....... Being meritocratic is a really worthy aspiration, but will require active mitigation of individual and organizational bias. The operation of hidden bias in our cognitive apparatus is a well-documented phenomenon in neuroscience. We may think we are acting rationally and objectively, but our brains deceive us.
VentureBeat: The three biggest myths about women in tech
Myth 1: IT environments are true meritocracies. Myth 2: Technical skills and productivity are all that matters; diversity is not important. Myth 3: The lack of women and underrepresented people of color is only a pipeline problem.
Brad Feld: Racism in tech
On Thursday, I got a call from a CEO of company I'm on the board of. He was very upset as he relayed a story to me. He had just heard from one of his employees who had been at a customer site for the past three days with another employee. The first person (person A) is white; the second is Indian (person B). The customer site is a government-owned military installation. ...... Upon arrival, the customer would not shake hands with B. The customer would not acknowledge B's presence directly. Over the course of the three days, the customer made endless racial and ethnic slurs directed at B. While it was extremely uncomfortable, A and B did their work, put up with the nonsense and were professional....... While the CEO was relaying this to me, I was pacing outside a room that I was about to give a talk in. I was furious at the customer. I was sad that A and B hadn't called the CEO immediately – I know he would have told them to pack it up and come home right away and he'd deal with the customer directly. The notion that B, and A, had to put up with racist behavior for three days was appalling to me. Especially at a government facility. In the United States. In 2011. In the tech business.
Soledad O'Brien: Michael Arrington is right (about one thing)
As the conversation heated up, Arrington wrote a blog post -- titled "Oh sh*t, I'm a racist" -- in which he accuses me of bullying him in our 30 minute interview. ...... But the reality is very different. Our interview was pleasant, not the light-in-the-eyes third degree Arrington is now recounting in his blog. We were at an AOL office with the publicists who negotiated the interview...... Ron Conway, a major investor in startups like Foursquare and Twitter, listened in on the interview. Afterward, Arrington introduced us and encouraged me to interview Conway, which I did. Parts of that interview are featured in the documentary as well. Then Arrington invited me to a party. ..... I didn't ambush Arrington ...... Fewer than 1% of funded tech startups are run by African-Americans. ....... The NewMe accelerator is partially sponsored by Mitch Kapor, a white entrepreneur who created Lotus 1-2-3. He believes that Silicon Valley is not a meritocracy. His views are included in our documentary, as are the views of Duke professor Vivek Wadhwa, a mentor to the black tech entrepreneurs in the NewMe accelerator, who encourages them to find a white man to front their companies.
Hank Williams: Arrington's not a racist (who's said that anyway?)... he's just being dishonest
Michael Arrington has been running around like a wounded dove claiming people are calling him racist. ...... Let's get something straight. No one credible or substantive has said that. ...... The fact that Mike can't discern the complex and important arguments about this from "people are calling me a racist" is incredible. The other thing he is doing is accusing Soledad O'Brien and CNN of sandbagging and tricking him and accusing them of starting a "race war". ...... what Arrington is doing now is deflecting a hugely important issue and discussion by trying to generate sympathy based on non-existant racism accusations. He is diminishing and minimizing the life experiences of all of us who are arguing with him who, to be honest, have far more experience with this issue than he does (i.e. apparently almost none). ....... one of my housemates in the documentary, and the co-organizer of the NewMe accelerator, Wayne Sutton, was stopped this summer by the Mountain View police at night and checked for warrants for doing nothing more than walking down the street and being black. The police's after-the-fact excuse for the stop was "they didn't recognize him" and it was a "voluntary" stop. For those of you who may not realize, this is *very* common. ....... some of the specifics he uses to defend himself are flat out lies. ...... there is no proof that Arrington goes out of his way to cover black founders as he had claimed. ...... I sure as hell am not going to let him claim credit for somehow being some kind of bend-over-backwards-to-cover-African-American-entrepreneurs kind of guy. Let's get real. ...... No one imagines him sitting around spewing racial epithets or purposefully discriminating, or even thinking bad racial thoughts, but that is not a very high bar.
VentureBeat: How the tech industry can remedy its race problem
The U.S. tech industry has a race problem. ..... Anyone who’s worked in Silicon Valley for any length of time will have noticed the alarmingly large number of white guys occupying positions of power. There are good-sized groups of Asian entrepreneurs among the entrepreneurial and venture capital classes. But there are not many women and there are almost no black or Hispanic entrepreneurs or VCs. ...... Despite the incredible diversity of the Bay Area, the people at the top of the Silicon Valley power pyramid have a depressing sameness. ...... women hold just 20 percent of the computer software engineering and programming jobs nationwide. Meanwhile, African-Americans have just 7 percent, and Latinos only 5 percent of those jobs. ....... If you’re black, Hispanic or female, you’re going to need an extra dose of moxie, persistence and determination to make it in tech. You will probably want to connect with others through business networks aimed at supporting people like you. Some people have taken more drastic measures, as Vivek Wadhwa did when he hired a white man to be the public face of his company. ....... As a white guy who has worked in Silicon Valley for almost two decades, I ...... First, educate yourself. .... Second, make an effort to connect with people who are different from you. ...... Third, when you’re recruiting, widen the circle of candidates. ........ Finally, be willing to talk about race.
Mike Arrington: Oh Shit, I'm A Racist

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