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Google Is Culturally Racist

Google is (culturally) racist (in 4 parts):

https://www.tiktok.com/@realabril/video/6934884610606124293

https://www.tiktok.com/@realabril/video/6934884839103499525

https://www.tiktok.com/@realabril/video/6934885054053158149

https://www.tiktok.com/@realabril/video/6934885271318105349

And a Twitter thread (same author, Real Abril, similar info):

https://twitter.com/realabril/status/1341135819487100928

On TikTok she said 526 hires in 6 years, which is around 1.7 per week, but Twitter said over 300 engineering hires, so let's focus only on that. Around one hire per week. From my understanding, that's really good. This may surprise people, but I think each hire might be worth $10,000+.

I've seen tech companies offer 10k just for a referral of someone to interview there who ends up getting hired, and that was years ago. And in her job, she would do more work than just referring people. And tech recruiters can charge amounts like 10% of first year of salary (paid by company not employee) for getting someone hired, which will be over 10k for tech positions at google.

So she did a great job but got fired instead of promoted. And I believe her about a lot of the specific ways Google was (not very) covertly discriminating and resisted her improvements.

I think maybe Google actually wanted her to find black and brown programmers who think and act like white graduates of Ivy League universities, so they are an easy cultural fit or "Googley".

Google is not (very) racist against skin color. They are cultural racists against black and brown culture. Why? Because they are elitist snobs (not just that). It's not about merit; it's about bigotry against the Other, which makes it essentially similar to racism, especially when it correlates with race.

I think Google is full of atheist former-WASPs who are partially rebelling against being a WASP (particularly by becoming an atheist). They're similar to WASPs in lots of ways. (WASP = white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, which is the kind of person you'd imagine being at country clubs, expensive private high schools, or Ivy universities.)

What about the many asians at Google? Some asians have learned to get into and fit in at top tier universities. They're better at acting WASPy than black or brown people are.

Google also brings in a bunch of H1B visa coders, e.g. Indians. I bet those people are treated differently and worse, but Google likes underpaying them. (H1B visas are a government subsidy to Google and other tech companies. US visas or citizenship are worth money and Google gets to give them out without paying the US government for that privilege. People accept lower salary offers to get into the US and then put up with worse treatment and not getting promotions or raises for five years or however long it takes before they can stay in the country without staying at that job. The system incentivizes and causes some abuse and exploitation of foreigners.)

Anyway, you don't have to look like a WASP anymore to be hired (though physical appearance, including skin color and hair, still matter to how you're treated), but Google prefers people who are thoroughly immersed in WASPy culture.

Google's atheism is actually an issue. Black and brown people believe in God at higher rates than Googley people, which increases culture-clash. Similarly, I think black people value family more on average (and in somewhat different ways than e.g. asians, it's not just an amount), so might be more interested in going home for dinner instead of working late. (I don't think that particular issue means they are worse workers overall. I don't think it means they're getting less work done. I think the culture of 10 hour work days is stupid and that programmers rarely get more than 5 productive hours of coding done in a day. People can't focus and think effectively all day long. Google likes to exploit people that it can trick into staying extra hours without extra pay – often expecting rewards that never materialize. But I don't think Google actually gains much from exploiting the naivety of some of its primarily younger workers because those extra hours aren't very productive.)

There are actual flaws in all cultures which can be criticized, and not all cultures are equal. But I think Google's approach qualifies as bigotry because it's not about merit. It's about who fits into your social group and who doesn't. It's about preferring people like you over people who are different. In other words, if you discriminate more by accent than by skin color, and the accents you favor are rare among black and brown people, then you're still basically a racist.


Elliot Temple on March 2, 2021

Messages (8)

I wonder if Google dislikes Gen Z and has compatibility issues with them.


curi at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2021 | #1 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/patio11/status/1366467022993809409

> "The tech job funnel filters for class" is one of the most critical realizations about it, and one that I try to tell people about, particularly if they'll be selected against by that filter.

> Most people who are participants in the funnel would not agree that they, themselves, are filtering for class.

> This is a list of universities we have a high hit rate with, not a class membership check.

> That candidate didn't reply to an email correctly; not a class issue.

> We want our candidates to feel comfortable interviewing with us so we reimburse their airfare; how could that present a problem. Everyone in tech can float a plane ticket an indefinite amount of time, right.

patio11 has written good stuff about social-class-based discrimination in the past, too.


curi at 11:59 AM on March 2, 2021 | #2 | reply | quote

https://metro.co.uk/2017/07/13/racist-soap-dispensers-dont-work-for-black-people-6775909/

Allegedly some automatic soap dispensers at sinks don't detect black hands.

Last paragraph of article mentions other issues:

> The soap dispenser is another example of technology not recognising different body types, in 2010 Gadgetwise reported that the Xbox Kinect did not recognize the faces of dark-skinned gamers, Hewlett-Packard’s uneven facial recognition software also had problems and Google Photos’ auto-labeling system misidentified two black friends as ‘gorillas’.


curi at 12:05 PM on March 2, 2021 | #3 | reply | quote

Are Google's self-driving cars going to be better at stopping before hitting white pedestrians than black pedestrians? Serious concern.

And it's not just Google. Also Apple, Tesla, Amazon (who'd like to automate delivery vehicles rather than passenger cars), etc.


curi at 12:07 PM on March 2, 2021 | #4 | reply | quote

Lots of things have biased designs in ways most people don't acknowledge or talk about.

Airbags were designed for men, not women or children. Car manufacturers have figured this out. Some cars will disable the passenger side airbags when they detect a child in the seat.

Kitchen counters are designed for women. They're at a better height for women than men.


curi at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2021 | #5 | reply | quote

Another Twitter thread by the same author. Has some quotes from Googlers who interviewed HBCU students.

https://twitter.com/realabril/status/1354922395811811331 :

> Google’s stance was that “our interview feedback case studies and curricula analysis demonstrate that current HBCU CS Departments are not graduating strong technical talent. HBCU CS students struggle with the most basic of coding,

> The first step is to help Howard students meet the Google bar -- it’s also the right thing to do for the future of diversity in technology. With this huge percentage of the pool currently not hirable, we need to look at ways to impact change in the HBCU system.”

> “Banned interview questions and feedback, as asked through mock interviews at Howard University by Google Software Engineers. Howard CS students severely struggled with basic coding, algorithms and data structures.”

I don’t get the reference to “Banned” interview questions. I think it refers to an interview question your not supposed to ask, but I don’t understand how that fits in to the quote. Is it saying Google asked banned questions when interviewing HBCU students?

> “We interviewed CandidateA, a graduating CS Senior, in May 2013. CandidateA was a faculty referral and allegedly one of the best CS students at Howard. Interview score of 1.1;"

>


Anonymous at 1:08 PM on March 2, 2021 | #6 | reply | quote

#6 continued...

> "Strong No Move Forward. Couldn't handle basic algorithms. Couldn't handle working with java collections beyond absolute surface level. Does not understand code in any depth."

> TO BE CLEAR THESE ARE THE WORDS OF GOOGLE. The time I spent recruiting at HBCUs says otherwise by the way. The kids at Howard and every other school I worked with are simply BRILLIANT. Period.


Anonymous at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2021 | #7 | reply | quote

My 2c about my own experiences:

> I've seen tech companies offer 10k just for a referral of someone to interview there who ends up getting hired, and that was years ago. And in her job, she would do more work than just referring people. And tech recruiters can charge amounts like 10% of first year of salary (paid by company not employee) for getting someone hired, which will be over 10k for tech positions at google.

In 2014 Google Australia paid a $10k AUD bonus (IIRC) for successful referrals. I was referred and did a phone interview but didn't want to take it further. At the time I wasn't that interested (I wanted to do blockchain stuff); I'm glad in hindsight that I pulled out. Also, the interviewer knew I didn't complete my degree and wanted to continue the interview process. mb being referred helped, but I suspect hiring for 'googlyness' was a bigger factor. I had friends there, was referred by someone reasonably senior, and could have fit in if I wanted to (again, glad I didn't go down that path).

Based on talking with recruiters a few years ago (from the hiring side), rates are anywhere from 7-20%. Depending on the set-up that can come out of the staff members paycheck, tho (IDK if that's Aus specific or what). When I got my first job with Sydney Uni via their internal recruiting service, the fee was 25% I think and that came out of my paycheck (so moving to a diff job in the uni ended up being a *big* increase in pay; sorta perverse incentives there).

> Google also brings in a bunch of H1B visa coders, e.g. Indians. I bet those people are treated differently and worse, but Google likes underpaying them.

Same thing happens in Aus from my experience (not from Google, but other places). They are treated worse AFAICT. There's high variance on their skills too; sometimes they're totally incompetent and hired above their station, other times they're stuck doing shitty work even tho they're more capable than their manager or team mates. Part of the variances seems to be due to high demand for coders. Mb one major difference from the US is salaries; although market rates are suppressed somewhat in Aus compared to the US, ppl on 457 visas (our version of H1B I think, not super sure) can be paid decent amounts AFAIK. That said, there's pretty high variance in ppl's salaries anyway. Like two Aussies with similar skill in the same team doing the same job might have a 100% diff in pay depending on when and how they were hired (e.g. 110k vs 220k).


Max at 7:50 PM on March 11, 2021 | #8 | reply | quote

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