Wayne Sutton has been asking venture-capital investors and Silicon Valley executives a question that’s not often broached here in the epicenter of the technology industry:
“Why aren’t there more black people in tech?”
The vast majority of top executives at the leading Silicon Valley tech firms are white men. Women and Asians have made some inroads, but African-American and Latino tech leaders remain a rarity. About 1% of entrepreneurs who received venture capital in the first half of last year are black, according to a study by research firm CB Insights.
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This lack of diversity in Silicon Valley made headlines last month when influential tech blogger Michael Arrington, in an interview for CNN’s upcoming documentary “Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley,” said, “I don’t know a single black entrepreneur.” Arrington later recanted the statement, saying he was caught off guard by the question, but the sensitive issue sparked a public dispute between the newly minted venture capitalist and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.