As we’re approaching nearly week three of public protests against racism and police violence in America, companies are searching for ways they can show their support for the Black community.
The racial divide amongst Americans in our institutions is more clear than it’s ever been and people are demanding to know what brands and companies are doing to take action during this time.
According to Tech Crunch, these public outcries for change leave out Silicon Valley’s role in how they can help combat systematic racism in the tech industry.
Tech Inclusion stated, “the great promise of inclusion in tech is that companies will benefit from a more innovative workforce and the competitive advantages that come with it.”
Notorious for their lack of diversity, big-name tech companies are scrambling to offer support beyond donations and public statements. What’s needed is structural change and with the right plan of action, Silicon Valley has the power to help diversify the industry by taking a stand for Black-owned businesses.
Tech Crunch reports that much of the structural racial disparity in the U.S. is economic, largely affecting Black businesses and entrepreneurs who already experience inequality in funding and assistance, but especially now in light of the current health crisis.
To Tech Crunch’s point, while it’s necessary to vote the correct leaders into local government, support for Black-owned businesses is equally needed. However, that fact is still getting glossed over.
Currently, there are many grassroots campaigns on social media advocating for Black businesses and encouraging everyone to circulate Black dollars back into the community.
Mobile apps like WeBuyBlack and EatOkra have compiled businesses and restaurants into one centralized place, while organizations like Bank Black are encouraging people to invest in Black-owned funds or businesses, Tech Crunch reports.
Now that the world is finally catching on to what Black people have been preaching for decades, the biggest worry is now how long will these “woke” campaigns last once the hashtags cease.
Social media activism is a large part of our culture right now, but Black people want to see results after the protests and the trending stories stop.
Social responsibilities are starting to fall more on consumers than these companies, including a change in their spending and consumption habits, but the real change begins with big tech.
Tech Crunch proposed the idea that instead of erasing bias from algorithms in tech companies, big tech should implement an algorithm that uplifts Black businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors so they have a bigger voice.
This includes increasing the proportion of Black-made products or businesses on landing pages of widely-accessed websites like Amazon, changing SEO language to better suit racial and regional differences among users, repurposing algorithm systems to encourage the consumption of Black-created content, and allowing Black voices and businesses to get equal attention from all consumers.
Allowing Black businesses a small advantage in these circumstances could greatly improve the economy and reverse some of the damage done by the coronavirus.
The many innocent Black lives lost to police brutality and senseless, racist acts of violence in America cannot be brought back. However, as a community, we can take this as an opportunity to make real change in this country to move toward a better future that includes the betterment of Black people.
Big tech’s role in this can produce thoughtful online platforms modified to give Black entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field –something that has yet to exist.