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What It’s Like to Be Black or Female in Silicon Valley

By: Sarah Frier and Peter Burrows –

Ana Medina says there’s an unwritten code in Silicon Valley. She was introduced to it after her first Google Inc. (GOOG) developer conference, where a guy in her row asked if she’d scored a free ticket because she’s a girl. Someone posted a photo of her from the event and it drew a raft of comments, about her cleavage.

Her instinct was to broadcast her astonishment on Twitter, but friends talked her out of it. “‘It’s not going to be worth it,’” Medina, a 20-year-old computer sciences major, says they told her. “It was a kind of ‘shake it off, let it go’ thing.”

That can be part of the bargain for high-tech minorities, the female, black and Hispanic engineers in a business that’s been one of the greatest wealth-creation machines ever for white and Asian males. Medina got the advice Lloyd Carney always gives to newcomers. “I tell women and people of color directly, ‘Don’t you dare advocate for diversity,” says Carney, who’s 52, black and chief executive officer of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. “‘Your career would be over.’”

The diversity issue is being dissected and debated as never before, and industry leaders have been broadcasting their dedication to making pluralism a priority. Tim Cook was Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s CEO for three years before coming out as gay two weeks ago. Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella fanned the discussion last month when he suggested women not ask for raises.

The men and women solving the problem — by getting hired and promoted — can be the least comfortable talking about it.

To read this article in its entirety visit: Bloomberg

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Sharon Sanders

Sharon Sanders is Co-Founder, Co-owner of the The MinorityEye. She is also a Digital Engagement Strategist and a Curator of information at The Minorityeye and the President of Clairvoyant, LLC which specializes in strategic communications and multimedia services. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Argosy University and she specializes in “Online Consumer Psychology.” Sharon provides companies with research and insight into the processes underlying consumer behavior in online environments…

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