Joe Nocera in a NY Times editorial (here) claims that Silicon Valley companies are not meritocracies because they are mostly male and mostly white and Asian. Leave aside the gender issue for a moment. Nocera doesn’t give the breakdown between whites and Asians, but presumably there are plenty of Asians employed there. That means that racism is not involved, no matter what leftists might think. Do we have to assume, as some on the right assume, that blacks and Latinos can’t do the programming required at these companies? Not at all. All we have to do is to look at what leftists have been emphasizing for these two groups over the last forty years. It is not studying hard and learning as much as possible, but focusing on grievances and whining. For example, the suggestion at this link, that no blacks should be failing a class at Oberlin College this semester due to the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner decisions, is typical of the left’s attitude. It wants blacks to get college degrees by demand and not by achievement. The world of work prefers achievements and not demands, and so blacks and Latinos find themselves ill prepared for such a culture. That is all we need to explain the lack of blacks and Latinos in those companies.
As for gender, the fact is that women seldom write articles for Wikipedia, too. My wife, when a colleague pointed this out, responded that that was self-selection. It’s not as though anyone is preventing women from writing for Wikipedia; they are just choosing not to. And if they aren’t choosing to write for Wikipedia, it is entirely possible that they aren’t choosing to become programmers in Silicon Valley.
There. Fixed it for you, Mr. Nocera.
But let me make a couple more comments. Art history is mostly female these days, but no one assumes this is because of discrimination against men. It is because of men’s choices. Nocera also pointed out that plenty of black programmers come out of Clemson University, but Silicon Valley prefers to hire from places like Stanford. Now this is the sort of argument that resonates with me, but at the same time, the NY Times is not exactly known for its outreach to places like Clemson, either. In fact, the people who write editorials for them fall into two categories: those who went to elite schools and those who went to Eastern schools. Nocera himself falls into the latter category. Ok, there is one person who went to Grambling (Charles M. Blow), and he started in 2008. Before that, it was almost all elite or Eastern schools, preferably both. Even places like Stanford are not represented. So, Mr. Nocera, spare me the complaining about elitism in Silicon Valley.