The tech world has never been known for its open door policy towards people of color. Its one of the few industries that has managed to legally keep their number of ethnic employees to a comfortable minimum and there is no indication that things are going to improve anytime soon.
So it is not surprising that recently an employee at Google who happens to be a Black woman decided to give an honest account of what she has encountered working for company that has done very little to make her feel like her contribution is valuable or appreciated.
Under the pen name EricaJoy, Erica delivers a first-person expose for Medium where she elaborates on certain instances that left her frustrated and often times helpless. It is a glaring realization that being a minority in a workplace populated with self-serving white males can be a detriment not just for your career trajectory but also your mental health.
Erica details instances of being harassed isolated and even denied opportunities for promotion, which ultimately has forced her to relinquish the responsibilities that come with fully embodying her identity.
Back in 2006 when she first walked through the doors of the Google office, she was immediately sprayed with racial insults – courtesy of her white male colleagues. When she dared to complain to her manager, instead of conducting a fair investigation he recommended her transfer to the New York office.
Her stay in New York was short-lived and she ended up being shipped to the main offices in Mountain View. While there, things didn’t improve as she is still wrestling with the stigma that comes with having a double whammy – being a woman and black.
So far she has been mistaken for an administrative assistant and a security guard.
But the worst part of the scenario is watching them hire an outside contractor that actually has to be trained for a role that she is obviously qualified for because she is not visible enough for management to recognize.
Her current plight has taken its toll on Erica, who has to contend with heart palpitations and acne brought on by stress.
It is hard to fathom that we are still living in a time when Black women can’t be seen as equals and rewarded accordingly for their hard work and brilliance. But kudos to Erica for being brave enough to share her personal struggle, hopefully her testimony will set off a chain reaction and propel companies like Google to take the matter of racial strife in their environment more seriously.