By now most people are aware of the the post World War II confessional “First They Came For”

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It has struck many people that the police can lawfully (I use that word ironically) break into a home, kill Breonna Taylor and have no charges levied against them. They came for a Black Body and left with one.

However they came for Black and Brown People when Prop 184 (Three Strikes) was passed in California in 1994, relegating thousands of people of color to a life behind bars for even the most minor of offenses.

And they came Black and Brown people with the passage of Prop 209 in California in 1996 and once again, people of color were disenfranchised and denied access to quality education due to white fragility. …


White people of america, take a moment to reflect on the reality that many of you have and continue to witness black people brutalized and killed for the better part of a the last decade. A decade of Black People being brutalized and your indifference to it. #YouAreComplicit

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As I started my day, I became aware of unrest in Minneapolis, Memphis, Los Angeles. Many in news outlets are characterizing these as ‘riots’. This characterization is wrong. This is unrest. These are communities that have borne the brunt of your collective inaction and indifference on racial, income and social inequality. We did not create the conditions that resulted in this unrest. However you, white america, have and continue to benefit from these conditions. …


My father died this past week after suffering injuries in a fire at his home. His death is as tragic as his life. Yet it has afforded me time and space to reflect on his influence and impact over the course of my life. Like life, it is complicated, full of contradictions and ultimately cannot be easily described.

He was born in the 1940s, in the segregated south. The 2nd youngest of 13. He spoke fondly of growing up a country boy. Of dogs and hunting, of nights spent outside and the amazing cooking of his mother.

I recall his stories of working in hotel kitchens, going to segregated schools, being a lifeguard at the segregated beach where he was not allowed to be after nightfall. This was life under jim crow. …


Every year, for the past 4 years, Silicon Valley goes on their penance tour of carefully selected media outlets to tell their diversity and inclusion stories. The reports are carefully crafted to avoid apples to apples comparison with EE-01s and other tech companies. And when pressed on this, their well-oiled PR departments manage the messaging in such a way that it’s all but impossible to get the ground truth.

One potential reason why ratios have remained static is that inequality is in plain site at many tech companies.

A short walk around any tech campus illustrates that while these diversity initiatives are being planned and checks are being written to diversity consultants, the tech elite enjoy the gourmet fare prepared and served by contract workers being paid minimum wage, they are escorted to their Tesla’s by contract security personnel, (often African American) who have to live 100 miles away because they cannot afford to live near work. And when they return the next day, their workplace will have been cleaned and manicured by a contract landscaping company that is staffed by mostly LatinX individuals being paid minimum wage. …


I created the Product Safety and Security Team at Twitter. At different points in time I was responsible for the engineering of tools to mitigate Abuse, Compromised Accounts and the Login Infrastructure up to and including 2 Factor Authentication and Password Reset. I saw first hand the beginnings of the types of actions that are now being discussed in the US Senate at the #TechHearings.

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The tepid response by senior management to the millions of accounts created by bad actors and how they were using the platform discovered in our research, is one of the reasons these hearings are happening today. It was the growth at all cost mentality that blinded many at Twitter to how the platform was being weaponized by the alt-right and as we are finding out, by Russia as well. …


Silicon Valley is coming to terms with courageous women sharing their painful and disturbing experiences of sexist, misogynistic behavior and unwanted advances of Venture Capitalists like Justin Caldbeck, Marc Canter, and Dave McClure. We should thank them all for showing courage, and strength that is sadly lacking in the leadership many organizations that call Silicon Valley home.

Countless other stories will no doubt emerge that paint many people, some of whom are highly respected, in an unflattering light. But don’t act like you don’t know because many VCs and leaders in tech companies have acted in this manner for years. Partly because with money, power and influence, mixed with the relative immaturity of people in tech, reprehensible behavior is almost certainly going to happen, and also because the companies they worked at or founded never held them accountable. As founders, they have enjoyed a very similar power dynamic to the one they now enjoy at their VC firms. These women pitched to investors where the odds of them getting hit on, harassed, and assaulted were higher than the odds of getting funded. …


I read that there is a petition circulating at Uber to bring Travis back. For for those petitioning for it, I have a small piece of advice: Take your heads out of your collective asses.

Travis is not and was never a leader. I won’t bore you with what I believe leadership is, but I will submit that creating a company and culture that has allowed, enabled, and encouraged potentially illegal, immoral and unethical behavior for several years is not leadership. I would also invite you to reflect upon how people who thrived in this environment were rewarded and promoted.

Many of you took who took the time and effort to create and circulate a petition say, Travis is changing. You point out that he just lost his mother and should be granted some compassion, empathy, and understanding. I wonder if many of you extended the same empathy, compassion and public offerings of support for your current and former co-workers who went public with their concerns. …


On May 8th, 2017, at precisely 11:41am, I walked on stage at the San Francisco CTO Summit to give a talk.

At $995 for the session, and with over 200 attendees, the event is billed as senior engineering leaders from startups (75%+ are CTO/VPE/Dir Eng) with previous presenters being the CTOs/VPEs of Stripe, Coinbase, MongoDB, Zenefits, Warby Parker, Squarespace, Shopify, Birchbox, Tumblr, CustomInk.

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As I took my place on the stage, I looked out at the crowd and posed the question, who identifies as an African American. No one responded. …


On May 8th, 2017, at precisely 11:41am, I walked on stage at the San Francisco CTO Summit to give a talk.

At $995 for the session, and with over 200 attendees, the event is billed as senior engineering leaders from startups (75%+ are CTO/VPE/Dir Eng) with previous presenters being the CTOs/VPEs of Stripe, Coinbase, MongoDB, Zenefits, Warby Parker, Squarespace, Shopify, Birchbox, Tumblr, CustomInk.

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As I took my place on the stage, I looked out at the crowd and posed the question, who identifies as an African American. No one responded. …


I woke up at 4:30 am this morning from a nightmare. In this nightmare, I was pulled over by the police, handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail. No reason for the arrest was given. While in jail, I was subjected to invasive searches and told I would be given an injection but not told what it was for. At this point, I ‘escaped’ from jail with the police in pursuit. I was able to escape but knew I was always going to be pursued until I was caught or killed.

Most nightmares are loosely based on lived experiences, memories, and events. This nightmare is all too real for me and many African-Americans. I have been pulled over for no reason, handcuffed and arrested for being African American. These real life nightmares happen all too often when you are a person of color. …

About

@Shaft

The Complicated Man Who Risks His Neck for His Brotha Man. Obama Foundation, SlackHQ, Twitter, Apple, Google. Can Ya Dig It!

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