Twitter’s only black lead engineer quits over ‘diversity issues’

“You need to be aware that race does matter and that there are people in front of you who have a different experience based on their backgrounds and ethnicity”.

Twitter embraces this privilege and responsibility, including painting massive #Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter hashtags up on the wall of the cafeteria, a spot reserved for Twitter hashtags and topics that are making a large impact on the world. If the tech workforce wants to embrace diversity, there should be a few variance with where it searches for those to reflect that diversity.

“Twitter already has an appallingly low number and percentage of African Americans and Latinos working at the company, around 60 total in the workforce and zero in your boardroom and c-suite leadership”, Jackson reportedly wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In his post, he says his reasons for leaving have everything to do with the way Twitter is addressing diversity and inclusion.

Miley’s criticism of Twitter’s track record on diversity struck a national nerve, generating headlines and drawing renewed scrutiny of the social media service.

“It is my belief that Jack understands the use case of Twitter better than anyone else, understands how diversity can be additive to growth, and is committed to making that happen”, Miley said.

Before joining Twitter, Miley spent time at tech giants like Apple, Google and Yahoo. “I want to be a leader in eliminating environments where I am the only African-American in engineering leadership”.

Along with his apology, Alex Roetter, Twitter’s senior vice president of engineering, announced a number of new practices Twitter will implement to more effectively move toward the inclusion and retention of women, Hispanics and African-Americans.

In his post, Miley quotes Roetter as, at one point, saying, “Diversity is important, but we won’t lower the bar”. “Needless to say, the majority of them performed well”, he writes. However, classifying ethnicity’s by name is problematic as evidenced by my name (Leslie Miley) What I also found disconcerting is this otherwise highly sophisticated thinker could posit that an issue this complex could be addressed by name analysis.

That assertion is offensive, and the idea that companies would have to “lower the bar”, in order to improve diversity or that there aren’t enough qualified candidates in the pipeline is factually false. What’s more, he wrote that “candidates are pooled from the same universities”. In contrast, 27 percent of African-Americans, 25 percent of Hispanic Americans and 21 percent of women use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center. The company, however, did not comment anything on what Miley said. “Because she is in front of you despite the obstacles that have been put in front of her”.

“Some people call it ‘Black Twitter’ because we over-index so much, but they still don’t hire more black people”. “Anecdotally you start correlating that with, ‘Hey this is a diverse candidate, or this is a woman”, he said. Miley was the only black engineer in a leadership position at Twitter. But a black engineering manager who left Twitter last week is speaking up about how that might be hard.

Twitter is now under increased scrutiny about its diversity efforts.

Twitter said it is also creating specific actions related to diversity that managers at all levels of the company’s engineering team will be expected to implement. The spokeswoman would not comment on Dorsey’s vision or plans to diversify the company. He doesn’t think Twitter has done anything wrong, except acted like every other Silicon Valley tech company when it comes to diversity.

Twitter Engineering Manager Leslie Miley leaves company due to diversity issue

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