Black people who choose to start their own tech companies have a drastically more difficult time achieving success than White people. Numerous studies have shown that a tiny percentage of tech workers are Black, and an even lesser percentage are women.
The racial disparities in the tech industry have been an issue for decades. Black women are stigmatized as incapable of achieving greatness in the tech industry and experiencing microaggressions at work. Overall don’t have the necessary fulfillment to believe in their dreams.
And although the world has slowly begun to change with more focus on addressing the disparities and providing Black specialists and entrepreneurs the resources they need to pursue their dreams, we still haven’t gotten to a spot that sees all races and genders as equal.
Because of this, curating spaces for Black mentorship programs that aim to bring awareness to racial injustice, help excited and ambitious Black people reach their goals, and make connections between Black company owners, workers, and investors is essential.
Why is Black Mentorship Important?
The predominant issue with fighting racial inequality is that there isn’t enough uproar, and the sentiments toward Black people haven’t changed much. Many still view Black people as liabilities.
Currently, the only way to go against the grain is to get in touch with other Black people and fight the good fight together. Those with high-ranking connections in the tech world can provide opportunities to Black tech students or those looking for a fresh start.
Without such connections, even passing the hiring process is a hurdle too high for most. The current state of affairs sees Black people turned away because of the color of their skin. It’s even worse for Black women since women have been shunned aside throughout history.
The mission and primary goal of Black mentorship is to incentivize Black people who have thought of giving up their future in the tech industry and carve an easier path to success for those who wish to reach the top. Experienced Black business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and workers from all industries can help inexperienced individuals understand how to make their tech career a reality ideally.
How Black Mentorship Helps Black Tech Specialists Overcome Racial and Gender Obstacles
Some of the biggest problems and injustices that Black tech specialists face before and during their tech careers are as follows:
- Racial bias (incorrectly thinking that Black people are not as competent as others)
- Gender bias (the idea that women are less skilled and sometimes incapable of working specific jobs)
- Microaggressions (benign intentions disguised as ‘pinchy’ comments toward Black men and women, i.e. ‘Do you speak African?’, ‘You speak English very well,’ etc.)
- Educational bias (the idea that Black children will perform worse than their White counterparts on tests and that their career aspirations are minimal, i.e. ‘they do not belong in tech’)
Black mentorship tackles all these issues. Mentors provide background information and solutions for said issues while teaching their students as much as they know about their chosen career path and job. Here are the four main benefits that come with Black mentorship.
Visibility and Connections
Black people who have made it in their respective industries use the gained experience and overall job expertise to connect people and companies that matter. This enables young up-and-coming Black tech specialists to be seen and heard, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise due to their everyday constraints.
Mentors also attempt to provide a long-term platform of connections that even more Black tech specialists can use down the line.
Knowledge and Information
Black entrepreneurs who have brought their startups from nothing to global popularity and success have gone through the gauntlet and know the ins and outs of how the tech world functions.
They use this experience and knowledge gained through many years of difficulty and adaptability to share what they’ve learned and hopefully help others succeed. There’s no better teaching moment than learning something firsthand from those whose grit and determination allowed them to pierce the racial veil and make their mark in the present.
Skills and experience
All tech jobs require the relevant skills and experience to be done efficiently. Many people of color may give up immediately after seeing how they’re treated or ignored, no matter how well they fit the job.
It’s important to understand that the current position of Black people is still under constant scrutiny and prejudice, so those that have chosen such a career need to be drastically better than White people even to be considered for the open job position.
Black mentors make this process more accessible since the skills they’ve learned are passed down to the Black community. Black tech specialists can hone their skills quicker and retain valuable information that should give them an edge in the job market.
Future societal change
If we are to achieve complete equality with White people and acceptance of people of color, the fight mustn’t stop. The future will only change for the better if the next generation of Black tech workers also chooses to engage in Black mentorship programs.
Black mentors do their best to convey their experiences and feelings to their students, an activity that might motivate them to do the same in the future. Society needs to change, which can be achieved with Black people coming together and working together toward a common goal – eliminating racial and gender inequality and prejudice.