Friday’s are the foreground to our discoveries.
The first thing you’ll learn about me, with very little investigation, is that I am black and I am female.
Within the context of an industry that has grossly underrepresented and underfunded both aspects of innovators ascribed identities like mine in this country, I am attempting to develop and adapt language that accurately conveys the work of people of color within the technology and adjacent industries.
As a journalist, a future graduate student, and an entrepreneur, I bare witness to the myriad ways in which we’ve neglected to develop a diligent and rigorous approach to how we report and correlate startups and people of color in innovation.
Our stories have been deduced to patronizing show-pieces; fluffy “diversity” features in place of investigative journalism.These practices, conducted at even the most well-respected news outlets, pose a threat to the tech community at large.
In lieu of bringing attention to the work, dumbed-down storylines placate the people behind companies building technologies and brands with tremendous sacrifice and very little recognition.
“More important, our lack of rigor in our reporting threatens the quality of the data we derive from keeping track of the technology industry’s budding talent and emerging startup communities.”
Without this data being covered at length in the same publications diligently providing context for the work of Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, or Bill Gates, the feedback loop on where the industry is moving within non-normative white male frames grows excessively nonexistent.
The regurgitated stories of disadvantage, disproportionality, and underserved narratives do very little to document where progress is happening. There’s no collection of the outliers.
“In our neglect, we are to assume where the gaps are. And with very little empirical data to hang our hats on, our claims become superficial in nature; our “diversity” campaigns wasteful, at best.”
But what if our reporting analyzed the efficacy of the programs, panels, and million-dollar training initiatives meant to assuage our concerns?
What if our approach to our reporting was a reflection of the influence of work by language leaders like Joey Womack of Goodie Nation who’s recent debut of The State of Black Tech Atlanta proffers a collective database building strategy to map assets within this space?
How would our analysis fit into the confines of present-day technology coverage if we followed the work of Fabian Elliot of Black Tech Mecca who’s impetus is to document black talent and ecosystems across the nation?
“When story lines regurgitate the same profiled characters chartering waters, we tokenize their accomplishments while blindly overlooking the emerging datasets that will help us navigate trends, challenges, and opportunities in tech.”
Our journalism isn’t pointing itself in the direction of asking deep questions of how diverse founders, investors, and entrepreneurs are showing up.
I boldly submit that it is the time things change. It is time for more than just a handful of journalists pursuing investigative stories beyond the usual cast of characters.
Charlotte’s only interactive tech meetup connecting black technologists, local innovators, and entrepreneurs returns on June 1st! Meet us at #BLKTechCLT. Reserve your spot today, tix will sell out!
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