This Week in Tech Racism: Dec. 12, 2016

When racism and technology intersect; week of Dec. 12, 2016

Tech Racism

This week in tech racism looks at a shocking class-action lawsuit brought against mainstream media company CNN; while there is an ongoing push to educate young people in STEM skills, government funding and other factors are making that goal harder; and more news on racial issues and the world of technology.

Black employees file discrimination suit against CNN, TurnerRawstory 

A number of black people working for CNN filed a class-action lawsuit against the network and its parent company, Time Warner. The employees allege that there is a pattern of racial discrimination exhibited by the company. The lead plaintiff, DeWayne Walker, said that during his 13 years with CNN, he was regularly passed over for promotions. When he went to complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he was subjected to retaliation.

Michigan Tech defends expulsion for controversial post to ‘shoot’ blacksMichigan Live 

In an utterly bizarre story, a white, male student at Michigan Technological University thought it was a good idea to post on the social media app YikYak, “Gonna shoot all black people….a smile tomorrow (smiley face emoji).” The student removed the post a few minutes later, but someone had already grabbed a screenshot of it and shared it with his school. The student was initially arrested and kicked out of the university and is now suing the school, claiming his original post was not racist.

Tech Racism (Former Michigan Technological University student Matthew Schultz was expelled after posting this comment on YikYak in Nov. 2015)


Tech Companies Delay Diversity Reports to Rethink GoalsThe Washington Post

In case you were wondering where all of the tech companies’ diversity reports for 2016 are, they are being released later than they were last year. As the Washington Post reports, Twitter and Pinterest are releasing their reports later this month to focus more on hiring goals rather than just racial and gender breakdowns.

Funding Cuts and Ending Affirmative Action Policies are Hindering STEM Skills for Young People of ColorPRI

An article from PRI makes the case for why it’s so important for science and tech to have black leaders. However, it also goes into myriad challenges that are inhibiting the education of young people of color in STEM, such as the ending of affirmative action at many colleges, including the University of Michigan, and inadequate funding in urban school districts including Detroit and Chicago.



  • Cornflour

    You know full well that you’ve published an edited version of Matthew Schultz’s post to Yik Yak. His post was not racist. It was, in fact, supportive of black students at his school, Michigan Tech. The post was edited, by another student, to look as if it were racist. The university was aware of this when they expelled Matthew Schultz, and that’s why he’s now suing the university.

    This is all a matter of public record and has been published in several newspapers online. There’s no excuse for your race-baiting. In my opinion, Matthew Schultz should also file a libel suit against your publication.