Angel Onuoha an associate product manager at Google was allegedly stopped by a security guard after someone at the mega tech company reported him. Two security guards took his ID badge then held him for 30 minutes while they verified his employment. They eventually escorted him off of Google’s campus.
Onuoha was riding his bike around campus when the incident took place. He took to Twitter to express his frustrations with the incident. His tweets went viral which sparked further questions from his Twitter followers.
After Forbes ran his story, a Google spokesperson told the publication that the company takes Onuoha’s concerns very seriously and has contacted him about the incident.
Google also told Forbes, “Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace and that we create a stronger sense of belonging for all employees.”
Onuoha, who works at Google’s Mountain View, California office is one of many black employees at google who claim they have faced discrimination.
In September, Leslie Miley an engineering manager at Google’s San Francisco offices was physically stopped by a google employee who demanded to see Miley’s badge. But Miley told USA today that this was a reoccurring theme, so much so he gave it a name, bias in badging. The term is used to explain how some tech companies use ID badges as a way to discriminate against people of color.
“Bias in badging, sends a message to people of color that you don’t belong here in an industry mostly staffed by white people and men,” said Miley.
Since their existence, tech companies have been majority white and majority male. In 2018, google employed 1,793 black people, 2.6% of its U.S. workforce. According to data from the U.S. government, Black people make up just 3% of all jobs in the top 75 tech firms in Silicon Valley as opposed to 24% of jobs in non-tech firms. For black women, the numbers are even more discouraging. 741 black women work at Google, which is 1% of their U.S. workforce.
Goggle has pledged to try to fix its diversity issues. Since 2018 they’ve poured millions of dollars into diversity initiatives, but will it help? Understanding people of color starts with having them at the table.
How can you truly understand people of color if you are in a room with no people of color? This question may never get the answer we deserve.