by Ray Hayes
Barbershops and hair salons provide a much needed haven for many minorities. It has for years been a place of social gathering where you can speak about the opposite sex, sports, politics and everyday life. This is where you can open up about to a bunch of strangers for an hour or longer and talk about almost anything.
Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia understands this idea and is connecting with minority communities to help promote diversity in the tech world. Instead of waiting for young minorities to seek out technology, Kenney wants to meet them “on their own turf” including basketball courts, football fields, malls, and more.
Jumoke Dada, founder of Tech Women Network, points to a flaw with meeting young people in these places, that is, what if the teens do not understand “the direct or revolutionary connections between technology and their lives?” Dada’s point is valid due to the fact that many minority youths usually see people from their communities achieving in areas outside of tech.
But if this is the case, how can diversity and tech connect for the future?
Nia Dickens from the Technical.ly, says that a real and honest conversation, “about the realistic ways to intersect these industries (preferably the legal ones) with technology — before the mayor’s office sets a date for the North Star Conference.” Practical solutions will be needed to diversify tech to help Mayor Kenney fix the problem, I agree that theoretical solutions will not solve that problem but only provide more dialogue without resolution. Honest dialogue and the humanized approach Damien Hooper-Campbell, eBay’s Chief Diversity Officer, talks about needed to further develop a solution.