I'm at that point in my career where I've taken a job that isn't anywhere near software development, because after almost 2 years of trying to get back into the game, I've been hearing the exact same thing from the exact same types of white people.
So now comes the critical juncture: I can either bust my ass harder than ever to get back into the industry (which is gonna require little to no sleep and potentially jeopardizing my health): or, stay in Menial Job Limbo and accept the fact that white people dont want blacks in their industry.
Im obviously not the first black person to come up against this wall; nor will i be the last (because let's face it: black lives *dont matter* here. and probably never will).
But i think i owe it to myself, and everyone else, to not live a life going from 'bullshit job' to 'bullshit job'.
Make no mistake: Im not being passed over because I suck; or dont know what im doing; or cant interview to save my life.
Which in my case is totally true, depending on who you ask.
I have over 2 years worth of nice words from white people about "how they've learned a lot from reading my code", or how my "thoughtful approach to software development [really] resonated" with them.
The problem is, is white people have a problem working with black people. I dunno why, you'll have to ask them -- or yourself -- why that's the case.
If you asked me for a theory it'd be something along the lines of: white people dont wanna look shitty next to minority groups.
I havent met a person of color in my age range (or older) that hasnt had the "twice as good to get half as much" talk; it's gotta come around somewhere near "the birds and the bees".
On average, we tend to want to work harder than our white colleges in order to "prove our worth".
And hey, the harder you work, the better you look towards your superiors, right?!
@somarasu yeah, software isn't magically less racist than the rest of industry, my dude. (lord knows you know it better than i ever could!) the sitch sucks. i'm currently contracting Big N and new Black coworkers seem to roll into my team more-or-less similarly to anyone else, and i've (even recently) had the "pleasure" of talking to a couple astoundingly racist people in other places and companies and the astoundingly racist stuff they'd freely chat about. late capitalism makes these company and team effects a crapshoot for anyone, and the racism isn't inseparable from that
i guess this means that you can then still benefit from the rest of the strategies for finding good teams that anyone could: lean on your connections, ask good questions about people's experiences where you apply, research, bias your search to more-lefty areas,.... hopefully those kinds of strategies could help you focus more on your health while you reroll the dice
@somarasu We work a lot with people from India, half of my colegues are born there. I'm white and work in Sweden. But yeah I worked with one black guy only during my life, he was nothing special, not particularly good or bad.
I also have problems finding a new job right now, and where I work they have problems finding new projects for us, so right now it might just be a difficult time for everyone.
But I feel you, hearing nice words but then no follow up on them can be infuriating.
@somarasu It sounds like you feel like blacks *can* get into the industry, but that the bar for acceptance has been placed much higher than for whites, right?
My heart really goes out to you. I believe you can do this, and get an incredible job along the way, if that's what you seek.
Most of the reason I'm where I'm at was because of the people that supported me. You deserve the same, and I hope that for you.
Best of luck; fuck the man etc etc
@Lambdanaut I dunno why you axed the bit where you mentioned that you dont know whether or not the bar is higher for black people. You're more than welcome to feel that's not the case, or is. I dunno how long you've been black, so maybe you can enlighten me.
@somarasu Thanks! And yes, it's not that I feel that it's not the case, it's that it's something I don't know. I removed it because, barring closer familiarity, I didn't want to risk giving the perception of challenging your experiences while you're dealing with these struggles.
@Lambdanaut I can tell you from my own experience, and those of other black folk, that there is a higher bar set for us by white people. And it doesnt stop at *just* getting the job.
@somarasu thanks for sharing your experience. I didn't know this problem was so real or how it affected people.
I've generally worked in environments where the employees races are pretty closely mixed, and at my current place of employment we vocally make a concerted effort to increase ethnic and gender diversity in the workplace, though I've interviewed at places where it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine this sort of discrimination. Perhaps it exists at a lower vibe where I work.
@somarasu I have quite a few black co-workers, some who I work closely with. I'm glad to be able to work in a place where racial discrimination isn't as blatant, and I'd like to see others take on this mindset as well.
Edit: sent after your last response
@Lambdanaut Maybe educate them on the fact that workplace racism and racist hiring practices are a real thing, and that you're lucky to have or so good where y'all are
@somarasu maybe. I'll keep it in mind when I'm in positions that could affect the outcome for the better.
@Lambdanaut I mean you don't have to wait until then; I'd say given the social climate there's no "opportune" time.
@somarasu Do you have any suggestions? I'm at a loss for what immediate action I could take as an individual. I like that you mentioned we should pay black educators in another post, and would be happy to help with that sort of thing.
@Lambdanaut Start by doing some research. You seemed pretty surprised at the fact that I or other black people face discrimination re: tech hiring (because like you said, you're already in a fairly diverse envrionment).
The software industry is a fuck. The only gigs I have ever gotten have been through meetup groups. Which is a dynamic that only furthers what you are talking about.
But all the meetups are online, which is less of a time commitment, so if you wanted to try your luck https://js.la/ has something next week where it's a virtual hangout of frontend devs. I don't do frontend so my network is only strong for that in LA.