California falls behind in employing black technologists

SAN FRANCISCO- Despite receiving more federal research and development funding than any other state, the Golden State ranks sixth in the number of African-Americans in computer and mathematics occupations, based on 2012 data cited in Silicon Ceiling 13:Equal Opportunity and High Technology.
Author John William Templeton calls on the U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice and EEOC to step up compliance reviews, particularly of new companies and the state’s universities, because there is no rational explanation for the disparities, which have the effect of heightening income inequality nationally.
California had an estimated 17,307 African-Americans in computer and mathematics occupations, half the total of the leading state, Maryland, which had 35,324, according to detailed occupation data from the Current Population Survey, used in Silicon Ceiling’s annual analysis.
The top five states, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Texas and New York, had an estimated 120,000 workers in those advanced specialties.
Since class action civil rights suits against Apple in 1991 and Microsoft in 2001, African-American employment in the hottest West Coast technology clusters has steadily declined.
The three California counties considered part of Silicon Valley–Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo–home to the most valuable and highest paying global tech firms, rank 40th, 44th and 61st among American counties for African-American computer and mathematics employment.
Yet, those counties have the highest salaries for African American technology workers, which should attract more of them, by conventional economic theory.
The data points to a regional hostile climate to African-Americans, as noted in a Feb. 1 column by San Francisco Chronicle editorial writer Caille Millner, who actively discourages “smart, ambitious” African Americans from moving to the area.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, celebrating its 50th anniversary in June, requires employers with more than 100 workers to file annual reports on the equal opportunity performance. It prohibits individual and systemic discrimination in hiring. Federal contractors are also required by executive order to complete and carry out affirmative action plans.

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