White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male.

When top technology venture capitalist John Doerr decides which startup company to invest in, he consciously and deliberately chooses white males over women and racial minorities:

“That correlates more with any other success factor that I’ve seen in the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. If you look at Bezos, or [Netscape Communications Corp. founder Marc] Andreessen, [Yahoo Inc. co-founder] David Filo, the founders of Google, they all seem to be white, male, nerds who’ve dropped out of Harvard or Stanford and they absolutely have no social life. So when I see that pattern coming in — which was true of Google — it was very easy to decide to invest.”

However, Sharon Vosmek believes that this is not an “overt” bias, but rather a “hidden” one. It is just how venture capitals work:

Sharon Vosmek, CEO of venture accelerator Astia doesn’t think that VCs have an overt bias against women. Instead, it’s the way the venture-capital industry operates.  Vosmek says that these “systematic or hidden biases” include:

  1. that VCs hold clear stereotypes of successful CEOs (they call it pattern recognition, but in other industries they call it profiling or stereotyping.)  John Doerr publicly stated that his most successful investments – and the no-brainer pattern for future investments – were in founders who were white, male, under 30, nerds, with no social life who dropped out of Harvard or Stanford (2009 NVCA conference).

In other industries—and if uttered by someone without a university education—people would call it “sexism”, “racism”, and “ageism”, but not in the technology venture-capital industry. Doerr sees a racial, gender, age “pattern” in which startups are successful, but such “pattern recognition” is misleading when startups led by women, racial minorities, and people over thirty may be unsuccessful because they are discriminated against and denied funding. The pattern may be systemic bias, instead of the inherent superiority of white men (under thirty).

Statistics show that women-led high-tech startups have lower failure rates than those led by men, and that venture-backed companies run by a woman had higher annual revenues than the norm but used less committed capital. However, counterintuitive, abstract statistics are less convincing than intuitive, concrete anecdotes for white men who believe in the unique cleverness and hard-working character of white men.

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58 Responses to “White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male.”

  1. urbia Says:

    “In other industries—and if uttered by someone without a university education—people would call it “sexism”, “racism”, and “ageism”, but not in the technology venture-capital industry.”

    The myth of meritocracy in the IT industry is what allows it to exist in this parallel universe of white male privilege. The sooner it is debunked, the better. Thanks for covering this topic once again.

    Reading the comments under the thread posted, I find it interesting that some people blame the fact that women don’t pursue Computer Science degrees in the same large numbers as men. Obviously, these white male drop-outs aren’t held to the same standard… they didn’t even graduate. So basically, doesn’t that imply that if you’re white and male, nobody will ever believe in your competence as a self-taught programmer? This double standard, if left unexamined, may also put a quota on the number of women that can even enter IT, as universities admit and graduate a limited number of CS students.

    I personally know someone from high school that didn’t graduate from university. He was given the benefit of the doubt and hired as a programmer in Canada, gained experience over the years, and has worked as a manger in IT companies.

    As a woman with a university degree in IT and programming experience, I was asked what my typing speed was when I applied for a job at an Ottawa game company (dubbed Silicon Valley of the North). The manager’s intent was to slot me into a secretarial position.

  2. Restructure! Says:

    One male acquaintance (let’s call him ‘A’) was starting to learn programming, and another male acquaintance (let’s call him ‘B’) didn’t finish his computer science degree. I already graduated and had years of Java experience, and B knew that I graduated and took higher CS courses than he did.

    At a general social event, A and B were wondering something basic about Java and talking amongst themselves, and since I knew the answer, I told them. However, B replied, “We’re talking about Java programming,” as if that invalidated what I said, because I wouldn’t know anything about Java. They heard what I said, but they didn’t believe me, probably because it was a general social event and a “girl” happened to overhear a conversation about Java programming and provided input. I didn’t bother with correcting their misconceptions about me (and B probably forgot that I knew more CS than he did), as it’s typical male geek sexism, so I just walked away and vowed not to attend any more social events with this network of people.

    Ironically, B also exhibited Nice GuyTM behaviour to me, not knowing that I thought of him as a sexist, patronizing asshole.

  3. urbia Says:

    “So basically, doesn’t that imply that if you’re white and male”

    Sorry, I just realized that this should have been read as…

    So basically, doesn’t that imply that if you’re NOT white and male…

  4. urbia Says:

    That pattern of sexism is worrisome because I can just imagine A and B networking with other white male geeks and eventually finding a job, gaining experience, and eventually being placed in a managerial position where they’re interviewing intelligent, qualified women of colour like yourself, and begin invalidating her educational background and experience.

    In IT, it being a rapidly-changing field, there are just countless of sneaky ways in which they could do so. They could even challenge your degree and say that what you learned in school is now obsolete. They could pass you over for someone with more ‘hands-on’ experience even if they only have a high school education, or turn around and reverse this if you’re female and self-taught. “No university degree? Uh… sorry, you’re too much a risk to us and we have no time to train you.” I’ve lurked on forums where people debated degrees vs. self-taught, and there are just countless contradicting justifications for hiring one person over another… and it’s just astounding how subjective the hiring process can be in a field held up to be completely objective.

  5. Restructure! Says:

    A and B are men of colour, though. [some info removed by author]

    They could pass you over for someone with more ‘hands-on’ experience even if they only have a high school education, or turn around and reverse this if you’re female and self-taught. “No university degree? Uh… sorry, you’re too much a risk to us and we have no time to train you.”

    LOL, it’s hard for me to imagine someone not being skeptical of self-taught female programmer. (“You taught yourself programming? You’re sure you know what “computer programming” is?”)

    When I was being interviewed, they made sure to get me to write sample code on the fly to make sure I could program, which is reasonable in itself, since many programmers can’t program. However, after I was hired, but later on, they interviewed a man (also Asian), and they didn’t ask him to write sample code. After he joined the team, it turned out he couldn’t program if his life depended on it.

    I feel that many males go into CS not because they actually like it or are good at it, but because it’s supposed to make money, and our culture says that people like them (male nerds, maybe Asian male nerds) shouldn’t have a problem working with computers. If there wasn’t so much sexist stereotyping, we would have more qualified programmers, instead of unqualified males who are assumed to be better programmers because they are male.

  6. urbia Says:

    Hahaha, it sounds like ‘positive’ stereotyping got this poor chap through the door, only to put him into a position where he was revealed as incompetent. It kind of makes me wonder how he expected to wing it… but who knows, maybe he just really wanted to work in the game industry. (I’ve heard of stories where people actually sent in demo reels that weren’t their own because they were so desperate to get in.)

    To force oneself into a field just for money or to fit a stereotype doesn’t seem to me as a sustainable plan of action… the industry already suffers from a lot of burn-out. Personally, I actually like coding and have coded for eight hours in ‘the zone’ without noticing the passage of time. It’s just unfortunate that sexism is such an obstacle and distraction, not really something you can just ignore – I mean, it scams people in the sum of thousands of dollars per year. And it wastes talent. It’s 2010 now, and hopefully some solution will be found.

  7. Restructure! Says:

    He actually had a CS degree, but from an inferior university (because I’m elitist like that), and I think he took a long time completing it, and he was probably only barely passing.

    I think I totally destroyed his self-esteem with my female presence and obvious programming superiority. He ended up figuring out himself that he was an epic fail and left … I suspect that his daily confrontation with the fact that “even a girl” made what he found impossibly difficult look super easy made him realize that he didn’t belong in IT.

    (Now I don’t think I’m some kind of guru or anything, but it’s just that many programmers seriously suck at programming, and aren’t truly interested in it, but somehow just fell into it … because of cultural programming.)

  8. Restructure! Says:

    Also note that in Doerr’s examples of white males, he purposely mentioned Yahoo! cofounder David Filo, who is white, and not the other cofounder, Jerry Yang, who is Asian. When the data doesn’t fit the theory, throw out the data!

  9. urbia Says:

    Yeah, receiving VC money and being a highlighted demographic at the expense of others doesn’t seem to be like being ‘low status’ at all, to refer back to your earlier post. I also wonder if this low-status mentality is being used as leverage to excuse sexism/racism.

    Also, it crossed my mind the other day, when people were talking about the definition of a geek in that other post, that we might really be dealing with ‘geekdom’ as a subculture-turned-corporate-culture rather than individual geeks. While people might exist that fit the geek stereotype exactly, white males also have the privilege of being otherwise ‘normal’ and just have the educational background in Computer Science. So in my opinion, to place the focus on the mythical geek might be flawed and a little dangerous, as they can turn around, act the victim, and go, “Quit stereotyping me!” or simply go, “I’m not really a geek, I also play basketball in my time off and I have a girlfriend, so I can’t be that Nice Guy Sexist stereotype.”

    Rather, I think the pseudo-meritocratic IT culture, which allows sexism and racism to go nearly unchallenged, should be the object of scrutiny. This is where CS-literate but not-quite geeks can go and enjoy their white male privilege, sheltered in a sort of time capsule… and in fact, geeks might be actually scapegoats in a way. They might be sexist and racist, but are they the hiring manager in every scenario or just the guys writing the code? What if the guy in the suit is just similar to the guy in the suit in another industry, but he’s allowed to be sexist and racist because the corporate culture in the IT industry protects him?

  10. Restructure! Says:

    I define a geek as (basically) someone who self-identifies as a geek, and when I suspect that someone is a geek, I’m actually suspecting that they self-identify as a geek. … There’s a bit more to it, in that I do think that some people who self-identify as geeks are not really geeks, such as people who think using Twitter makes them a geek. However, I don’t think it’s just about computer-related things, but related to obsessing over things. I think this guy is a Britney Spears geek (it starts off stupid, but it becomes pretty geeky).

    In any case, I don’t think Doerr is a geek (unless he self-identifies as one), but I consider those who defend the discrimination in the TC comments to be geeks, because I suspect them to self-identify as geeks.

    I think geekiness is something more “real” than race and gender roles. I have multiple identities, but I think of my “geek” identity as having to do with the real me, and my race and gender as having to do with how society treats me and constructs me. I’m INTP, though.

  11. urbia Says:

    “I think geekiness is something more “real” than race and gender roles. I have multiple identities, but I think of my “geek” identity as having to do with the real me, and my race and gender as having to do with how society treats me and constructs me.”

    I definitely agree to and can relate with this part. Geekiness to me is more ‘real’ because it reflect’s someone’s authentic passion toward something. It comes from personal choice and taste. Race and gender, in contrast, are things that other people force upon you against your will.

    I’m ENTP first and foremost, but the race and gender roles kind of twist that around and people will treat me like I’m an INTP. One aspect of ENTPness, actually, is being interested in (being a total geek about) a lot of various different things, so one thing I’m vulnerable to is spreading myself too thin. So I’m a geek that ‘goes off into different directions,’ which is contrary to what I believed was the definition of a geek (being obsessed about one thing to the point of two-dimensionality). I kind of like your definition of being a self-identified geek, though. It’s less judgemental and oppressive.

    A while ago, I mulled around with the idea of extroversion versus introversion… and realized that an extroverted person who is ‘quiet’ can be mistaken as being introverted if their environment lacks the people they WANT to communicate with. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an I. From there, I wondered how many Asian-Americans are really E but mistaken for I because they’re surrounded by people that offend them on some level, and thus they keep to themselves. So this where race, or even gender in some cases, can keep someone from expressing their true ‘real’ self.

    I also extrapolated and wondered if people though to have ‘good social skills’ are simply lucky enough to be surrounded by people that corresponds best with their personality. They talk because there are more of their type present. Not because they are any better at being social.

    I know I went off-track from your original posted topic, but your statements were interesting and got me started. :)

  12. Restructure! Says:

    That’s all right! I don’t mind people going “off topic” on my blog, because I think conversations naturally flow like that, and it’s how you usually learn new things.

    I’m actually not just a programming geek, but a geek in other things I don’t want to mention right now. On INTP:

    Mathematics is a system where many INTPs love to play, similarly languages, computer systems–potentially any complex system. INTPs thrive on systems. Understanding, exploring, mastering, and manipulating systems can overtake the INTP’s conscious thought. This fascination for logical wholes and their inner workings is often expressed in a detachment from the environment, a concentration where time is forgotten and extraneous stimuli are held at bay. Accomplishing a task or goal with this knowledge is secondary.

    I think I’m systems-geek in general, and I only developed an interest in systems of oppression a few years ago, but they seem quite deep and complex. When I started this blog, I actually planned to geek about every random subject, but I just had to get a few “race” things off my chest first, and then I would get to what I was really interested in. But then I found that I had a lot of “race” things to get off my chest, and I found that blogging about race and racism made me become more entrenched into the anti-racist blogosphere. I’m not entirely happy with how my blog is now, because I think people think of my blog as a race blog, and I don’t like the idea of my blog being defined by race, which is like in real life, where people think of me only in racial terms. But the tag cloud is what it is, and I made it like that. On the other hand, maybe it was inevitable, because I did want my blog to be about bridging geekiness and issues of social justice, so owning my privilege means writing about the ways in which I experience the kyriarchy, rather than writing extensively about things like sexual orientation, when I’m heterosexual and would not really understand how heterosexism works except in limited ways.

    I tend to write about race in general more than gender in general, because I think that there are more feminists in North America than anti-racists, so subtle racism is less understood than subtle sexism. However, sexism in geek communities or IT is different from sexism in general (in terms of prevalence), because the sexism is really overt. (“Ridiculous! There is no sexism stopping women from going into computer science. It’s just that women’s brains have evolved to be less adept in spatial reasoning, and thus they would be worse at math and computer programming. Men’s brains evolved to be superior in math, so it’s just a matter of biology.” (Of course, this is said by CS majors who didn’t major in biology or psychology, and who believe that merely accepting the theory of evolution means that one is sufficiently science literate.))

    A while ago, I mulled around with the idea of extroversion versus introversion… and realized that an extroverted person who is ‘quiet’ can be mistaken as being introverted if their environment lacks the people they WANT to communicate with. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an I. From there, I wondered how many Asian-Americans are really E but mistaken for I because they’re surrounded by people that offend them on some level, and thus they keep to themselves. So this where race, or even gender in some cases, can keep someone from expressing their true ‘real’ self.

    I also extrapolated and wondered if people though to have ‘good social skills’ are simply lucky enough to be surrounded by people that corresponds best with their personality. They talk because there are more of their type present. Not because they are any better at being social.

    True. I think I had read a Myers-Brigg related text that described introverts as that way, or maybe it was some other personality-related text about extroverts relating to introverts.

  13. Dayita Says:

    Urbia: “Rather, I think the pseudo-meritocratic IT culture, which allows sexism and racism to go nearly unchallenged, should be the object of scrutiny. This is where CS-literate but not-quite geeks can go and enjoy their white male privilege, sheltered in a sort of time capsule… (elision mine) What if the guy in the suit is just similar to the guy in the suit in another industry, but he’s allowed to be sexist and racist because the corporate culture in the IT industry protects him?”

    This is a really good insight/question! I’d have to say that once you get to 2nd and 3rd level management in the software development business this appears to become more and more true. And the biz has changed much in the years I’ve been in it. In 1982 it was a field which *required* a mastery of many subtle topics. By 2002, I couldn’t find a new grad to hire which could reason about basic loop invariants. To me it feels like where it was once reserved for a unique sort of artisan, the field has filled up with fakers who are looking for an easy buck. Right alongside this change has been a degradation of the culture in exactly the terms you question. Thank you for pointing that out :)

  14. urbia Says:

    @Restructure!:

    I can relate to blogging about geeky topics and the issue of race being inevitable. I sort of stumbled upon anti-oppression subjects myself. In fact, growing up, I was probably one of the more politically unaware teens there were. It’s almost as though topics of sexism and racism were pushed into my face, and I couldn’t help but to notice them when I graduated from university and tried to apply to a job at a gaming company. From there, I did some reading, research, and reasoning, and was able to backtrack at the many ways in which it affected my life growing up.

    As an ENTP with many interests, part of my career path selection involved a lot of indecision and reading up on different topics from an outsider’s perspective. I began to notice more and more the subtle cues that signaled ‘this space is for white males only,’ and of course, as an ENTP, I wasn’t just going to sit back and take it. Participating in the blogosphere is one way to pick at the kyriarchy – because it’s pretty much given that privilege gets its strength from being unchallenged and invisible. Making it very visible is part of the solution.

    @Dayita:

    No problem. I’m just glad that my comments have fueled some discussion and hit on something. :) It seems like we’re getting somewhere.

    To expand on it a bit, yes, it does sound like the geek subculture is getting co-opted, in a way, by the rest of the business world. Unfortunately, that means social progress is going backwards within these IT companies, and what they need is for more people to shine some light on them. The possibility that geeks simply don’t know any better because they work more with machines than with people shouldn’t be used an excuse, in my opinion. It reminds me of the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse, except it’s just ‘socially inept geeky boys will be socially inept geeky boys,’ not excusable when you’re dealing with the careers and salaries of disadvantaged groups.

  15. urbia Says:

    Oh, in regards to Nice Guys [tm], can you think of anything more disgusting than someone initially offering a freelance contract possibility for programming, then inviting you to move countries to live in their place for the possibility of a relationship, and then making no further mention of the contract after you said No? That’s what happened to me. It’s like this white male Asiaphile didn’t know the difference between a Java programmer and a mail order bride, or tried to fuse the two together as some innovative form of multi-tasking.

  16. 1stddevHuman Says:

    I’m lost. You moved for a job before a contract was in place?

  17. Restructure! Says:

    1stddevHuman,

    Read again. Slowly.

  18. 1stddevHuman Says:

    I saw she wrote that the contract was offered, but I got the sense that it was not fully nailed down. I’ve never done contract work, so I don’t know how formal the process is. My life has been spent in bureacracies.

    OK. I just read it for the fifth time. I think what got me were the words “offering” and “possibility”.

    In any case, that sucks. Job to live-in is a dick move.

    Good grief. Just seriously pondered that. How inept or delusional does someone have to be? Wouldn’t the fear of legal action snuff even the germ of the idea, way before the false enticement? Nuts.

  19. urbia Says:

    @1stddevHuman

    This was a typical Nice Guy [tm] ‘friend’ so it was pretty informal. It went from a pretty casual conversation to, Here, have a job! … and while you’re having a job, have a boyfriend! And free rent!

    Except he totally wasn’t kidding and got upset when I refused.

  20. 1stddevHuman Says:

    @ urbia
    Trying to get this straight in my head. Did you uproot your life and move THEN he did the bait and switch? Or was it still at the talking stage? Was it across several talks where momentum was building about the idea of you moving, but then you declined the offer of moving in and–poof–there goes the job, never to spoken again?

    Awkward deluxe. Were you like, ‘hey, back to the programming gig?’

    I’m guessing from the tone that ya’ll never had anything going. Interesting. I could only guess that he absorbed any enthusiasm you had for the job as enthusiasm for him.

    Dude needs to read the Heartless Bitches site on the NG topic. Is he a dweeby Nice Guy? I’m always suspicious of the situation where someone gets excited about someone long distance. Kind of like, you can’t find people to date locally? Plus, I have a rule that says you’re not dating a person unless they live in the same town as you

  21. 1stddevHuman Says:

    sHIT. fat fingered. @ urbia (cont’d)

    I was trying to say, my rule is that I’m not dating a person until they live in the same town NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE CALLS AND EMAILS ARE.

    Could you sense the conversation de-emphasizing the job and more about having you there at his place?

  22. Restructure! Says:

    I assumed that the guy’s place was in a different country, but he was visiting urbia’s country when the conversation took place.

  23. urbia Says:

    No, I never left the spot in front of my keyboard, didn’t uproot anything. And this is coming from someone who will spontaneously teach English in another country or backpack for a few months solo. So that’s saying something, hahaha.

    I wouldn’t say the talk about the programming gig stopped abruptly, but it definitely trickled down to nothing. In other words, it wasn’t made too obvious.

    “Could you sense the conversation de-emphasizing the job and more about having you there at his place?”

    And yes, definitely.

  24. Restructure! Says:

    I feel relieved that this was not face-to-face.

  25. urbia Says:

    Hahaha, thanks for your concern. :)

  26. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Ha. Me, too.

    That’s a good reason to not mix work and dating. I’d hate to wonder if someone is with me because of a job or a residence.

    When I was younger I didn’t think like that. Nice guys are often desperate and whatever means to an end is just an overlooked detail.

    Now, I’d rather have someone with me that was there without any power or inducement on my part. Kind of like, she has options to leave, doesn’t need me, and STILL chooses to be here.

  27. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Totally unrelated quetion…Am I breaking protocol if I bring up something else? I’m going to Asia with my MBA class in late April. Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, then Beijing.

    First time for me. I have a concept called the Blizzard at Dairy Queen. You know, when you go to DQ, you gotta have a Blizzard–even if soft serve ice cream with crushed in candy and fruit isn’t normally your thing.

    Anyway, what are the Blizzards to do? What I’m thinking about is ride a moped in HCM, get a suit in HK, forbidden city in BJ.

    Oh, and American stuff that folks over there like. My co-worker said Hershey’s chocalate. Is that true?

    Is there a site that talks about it? Stuff that makes good stories. “Dude, I here’s a picture of me holding a mocha latte under the Starbuck’s sign with a mural of Mao in the back. Funny, huh?”

  28. Restructure! Says:

    Sorry, I haven’t been to Asia before, and I usually get annoyed when white people ask me questions about Asia. But you’re Asian too … and I’m still annoyed.

  29. 1stddevHuman Says:

    You know, I could play the ‘so what makes you think you’re the only person I was talking to?! If you haven’t been Blah, Blah, Blah…’

    or in another direction

    ‘Oh, so you’re ashamed, huh? Verrrry, verrry interesting…’

    or maybe

    ‘Why don’t you just call off the indignation patrol?’

    You’re annoyed. (cue dramatic chords) ??? OK. Your feelings are your own. Feel however you want.

    I’m half Filipino. Born in Quezon City. Came to the US when I was 2. I’ve never been since.

    People ask me if I’ve been back. It’s not a crazy question to ask. I just haven’t been there. I think eventually. If I had more vacation time, I’d tack it on the end of my trip.

    Now, what IS a crazy question to ask is if I’ve ever been crucified in a Passion play. Google ‘Philipines, Passion play’ and you should get stories of dudes who volunteer to get tied to a cross and have their hands nailed. Yeah, with real nails through the palm. Ugh. I can still remember the pictures I saw when I was kid. Creeped me out for days.(full body shiver)

    It is not crazy to think folks visit their heritage.

    But I take it you may see it as benign as (just for example, I’ll pretend you’re Chinese), ‘hey, China girl, when are you gonna have your foot bound?’

    Do I remember those days of being the only non-white kid in the class and feeling like an outsider whenever topics of different countries and colors came up? Uh, yeah.

    Did you know that if you’re in that situation you’re no longer just (whatever you are, insert ethnicity), you’re Indian, African, Australian Aboriginal, American Indian (didn’t use the N-word back then), Pakistani, Iranian. Oh, and Mexican–how could I forget, Spanish surname steers folks that way. Funny that I never got Andalusian Spanish.

    ANYBODY visiting China or another Asian nation these days isn’t that uncommon. And since this site has a certain…ah, how do you say…sensibility, yes, an Asian sensibility, it is not too hard to imagine. Especially since I got the vibe that the writers here probably don’t live on subsistence wages, typically write with a worldly sophistication (think I saw something about backpacking and obscure German modern artists), and that China is one of the fastest growing travel destinations for business and tourism.

  30. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Oh, and another thing. I was asking about cool, novel, Hemingway-meets-Discovery-Channel-meets-Rob-Schneider (one of my favorite comic actors and half Filipino, btw) shit to do that would add some flavor to my trip.

    I have friends who’ve been in the military and been through the Philippines. Swear to gawd, almost everyone asks me about balut (pronounced bah-loot; disregard if you already know). I just tell them, ‘Bud, that is nasty. Doesn’t TASTE bad, but geez it is nasty’.

    Should I feel offended? Why? They know I’m Filipino. Totally natural to ask about a very peculiar dish associated with the PI.

    That reminds me. I’ve always wanted to bring that to the office. My co-workers are always burning me with some hot-ass, soupy curry thing. Yes, that would be excellent (rubbing hands in diabolical delight). I’d keep it covered and just watch the reaction as they lift the lid.

  31. Restructure! Says:

    And since this site has a certain…ah, how do you say…sensibility, yes, an Asian sensibility, it is not too hard to imagine.

    I don’t think of my website as having this theme, and I don’t want it to be defined by my ethnicity, although I do notice that my ethnicity can be guessed from the tag cloud, and hence, from a bias that comes from how I experience the world.

    Especially since I got the vibe that the writers here probably don’t live on subsistence wages,

    I don’t, but I can’t afford to travel to Asia, either. When white people meet me for the first time and tell me all the regions/cities in China they’ve visited and enjoyed in an attempt to “relate” to me, I’m usually thinking, “Damn you for reminding me how much richer and privileged you are than me, and that you know more about my ancestral culture than I do.”

  32. urbia Says:

    For the record, you don’t need subsistence wages to go on a decent backpacking circuit through several countries, largely depending on where you go. And Southeast Asia, where I went, is nowhere near expensive. Rather, I should say there’s a huge range of options, from your five-star hotel catering to package tourists to the $10 guesthouse (just as clean and spacious on the inside, by the way).

    Some hippies actually live in those countries on a semi-permanent basis because one theft from a hostel traveler (still rich by global standards) may fund a few weeks of low-cost living. It’s sometimes said you have to watch out for ‘each other’ on the road more than you do for the locals.

  33. 1stddevHuman Says:

    I’ve experienced emotions that aren’t maybe exact, but similarly generated from juxtaposing my own experience. Just this past Christmas, in fact. I spent it with my ex-gf’s family.

    They REALLY do the gift giving up. That was OK. I came prepared with gifts and I received gifts, so I shared in the present moment. However, they busted out with the home video of Christmases gone by in the spirit of playfully teasing my gf when she was a teenager (adolescent prissy conceit, BIG mall hair, fashion, etc).

    It was taken by her dad, who was doing goofy narration like father’s do, capturing a moment with the family. Stereotypically Christmas morning: tree, decorations, her brother in a particularly lanky, geeky phase, her younger sister as just a kid. All very sweet, so much it was like watching a sitcom.

    However, it was killing me inside. Those were not MY memories of Christmas. My mother HATED my father’s family. Almost every last one of them, but ESPECIALLY his sisters (I think that 8 out of 11 siblings were girls). Them, being a large, traditional, Filipino family, always tried doing up Christmas, too. However, a phone call to say Merry Christmas, an invitation for dinner, a card with an update letter would erupt Hell on earth.

    Shit, Hell was the escape from that torment. It was so toxic my uncles and aunts would send letters to my Pop’s work (way, way before e-m).

    So, watching my gf’s family in a scene of life that I just didn’t have was ripping open stuff I keep sealed up. Just grinned through it. (I’ll probably overcompensate if/when I have kids to be Mr. Involved/Supportive/Understanding/Nurturing Dad.)

    Later, I told my gf what was going on. She felt guilty wondering if I felt that they were shoving their wonderful, Norman Rockwell childhood in my face. I tried to tell her, ‘no, those were your family moments that are cherished. I have nothing to do with that’. I mean, I’d hate for them to think they can’t be themselves just because I’m around. That would be disgustingly selfish.

    So, yeah, I see why the attempt to relate to you instead makes you feel less than.

    Don’t know your personal circumstances, but if magic was real and all obstacles could be removed in a blink, is it something you’d like to do?

    Is it more than just money? Money is critical, absolutely. I’m not naive to believe otherwise. There has to be a minimum threshold met in a lot of things and there is no getting around that.

    However, I got friends that travel for weeks on what the normal touron does for a weekend. They don’t stay in fancy digs or buy crappy trinkets, but they have those experiences that are epic. The kind of times that a sixpack of longnecks and a porch are the only other ingredients to learn and laugh from.

    ‘There I was in Bali on a raft with this family and their chickens…’

    ‘Little did I know that this particular Barcelona roomshare dump was across from a brothel…’

    ‘You know how far you can get in 4-wheel drive? Dude, I was a day’s burro ride just to get to a gas-powered vehicle…’

  34. Restructure! Says:

    Don’t know your personal circumstances, but if magic was real and all obstacles could be removed in a blink, is it something you’d like to do?

    Definitely. I wanted to go for a long time, because I wanted to “find my roots”.

    However, now that I’m older, I have a more realistic view, and I realize that if and when I go, I would feel isolated because of the language barrier, and the expectation that I should be able to speak the language. I would try learning Chinese again before I go (I already tried learning as an adult, and it was very frustrating), but learning Chinese is very hard.

  35. urbia Says:

    Just wanted to chip in again on this topic, as I’ve had my own experiences abroad and was curious about my roots. For me, it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined at first. But then again, the difference is that I am able to communicate in Cantonese (just not read Chinese, as I haven’t had much practice recently).

    When I backpacked, I didn’t go into the heart of China where Mandarin is spoken, and where I would feel totally lost myself. I went to adjacent countries and wandered through places where the Chinese diaspora crossed, ie. Thailand, Malaysia, etc., and places like Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. When I did go to China, it was to more touristy places like Shanghai and the surrounding Hongzhou and Suzhou areas. In diaspora communities, people were accustomed to travelers and were able to communicate to me in English, and there is also a community of backpackers and backpacker hosts (known as couchsurfers and their hosts), that would supply me with local knowledge and guidance.

    While there is sometimes the expectation that I would speak Chinese, sometimes all it takes is a glance at my clothes or camera and locals realize I’m not local. But the general feeling I had was not of isolation… more like I was an active participant in the global community. I’m not sure how else to describe the experience. It was like I started off backward-looking to find my ‘roots,’ but as time drifted on I automatically became more forward-looking and seeing myself as part of the global future, and the feeling that I was acting on my surroundings as much as my surroundings were acting on me.

    Long story short, I found it fun, not as expensive as I thought it would be, and not as difficult.

  36. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Restructure, there are more ways to go than days in the year. Hope you don’t let the time to learn the language get in the way. No one says the first time one visits you have to be fluent. It is not like it must be the last time you went, either.

    I bet there are companies that have locals as tour guides that don’t cost a mint. There are probably some that specialize in serving Chinese-Americans.

  37. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Oops. You’re not American, are you?

  38. 1stddevHuman Says:

    This is a life sucking site. Is every topic a polemic, a revelation of malignancy? It is morbidly fascinating, but I feel repulsed and disgusted afterwards.

    Pedantic, mahogany panel, bitter, mental masturbation.

    Very dehumanizing, too. So it is OK to dismiss those who disagree with the intoxicating hatefest by ascribing their opinion as some canned cliche? Nice. Oh, yeah, and the mocking–another means to delegitimize a viewpoint that is outside The Movement.

    Have I suffered discrimination? Abso-freaking-lutely.

    Is history full of domination and oppression? Yup. If you belong to the human species, there are people that look like you that did great evil–no matter what color you are.

    There are many regulars on here that hate whites. It is as simple as that. No amount of epistemological jargon elevates the bile that is spouted by these bigots. Sickening.

    It is an addiction. A complete dependency on some globalized axiom that all the problems are because of white privilege. I have never seen any principle that was as overwrought like this ugly Grand Unification Theory. It feels comforting, I bet. That rush of satisfaction to craft or repeat some arcana of how whitey did everyone else wrong.

    Got to admit it is impressive. The creativity that is expended in playing that narrative across so many dimensions wastes human capital. Folks, there is no prize. You do not have to compete to show how unyielding and obstinate you can be.

  39. Google’s race and gender makeup is Trade Secret in tech business, says Google « Restructure! Says:

    [...] White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male. [...]

  40. Dear IT industry: “Meritocracy” does not mean what you think it means. « Restructure! Says:

    [...] White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male. [...]

  41. Masking the gender and race of job applicants increases diversity in hiring. « Restructure! Says:

    [...] White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male. [...]

  42. Women of Color and Wealth – Measuring The Intangibles [Part 4] | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture Says:

    [...] – the idea that some people are able to game the system better than others.  In a world in which bias can work for or against you, it is the dirty little secret of our so called meritocracy that the better connected tend to win [...]

  43. The National Review Discusses Black Unemployment, Needs No Black Experts | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture Says:

    [...] Launching and starting a new business (particularly without venture capital, which as we see, is also susceptible to discriminatory practices) is fraught with problems and issues, all related to gaining clients/customers, retaining [...]

  44. jon Says:

    Well said. I linked this to this in a comment on Guys talking to guys who talk about guys.

  45. Liminal states :: What would it mean if women were paid as much as men? (DRAFT) Says:

    [...] it contributes to the overall number, the investment patterns described in Restructure!’s White, male startup companies get money for being white and male further entrench these inequities. Without the wage gap, we’d have a much more diverse [...]

  46. Meta-Restructure: Top Five Most “Interesting” Posts + Delurking « Restructure! Says:

    [...] White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male. (February 10, 2010) [...]

  47. CarriBugbee Says:

    Women working in all aspects of IT actually peaked in 1991 and fewer women are pursuing IT careers every year in college. There are many reasons for this, which are detailed in a groundbreaking new study by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (@NCWIT) called “Women in IT: The Facts.”

    You can download it here:

    http://www.ncwit.org/resources.thefacts.html

    @CarriBugbee

  48. Restructure! Says:

    Thanks, although I don’t like how the study framed the issue. See Discussing sexism in geek communities is more important than discussing gender imbalance.

  49. Women did not evolve against risk-taking and tech startups. | Geek Feminism Blog Says:

    [...] why women are underrepresented among tech entrepreneurs. One problem is that top venture capitalist John Doerr consciously and deliberately invests in tech startups run by white men, and even encourages other VCs to follow his lead. Even more, it is understood that this is [...]

  50. Women did not evolve against risk-taking and tech startups. « Restructure! Says:

    [...] why women are underrepresented among tech entrepreneurs. One problem is that top venture capitalist John Doerr consciously and deliberately invests in tech startups run by white men, and even encourages other VCs to follow his lead. Even more, it is understood that this is [...]

  51. AfroCan Says:

    1stddevHuman Says:

    This is a life sucking site. Is every topic a polemic, a revelation of malignancy? It is morbidly fascinating, but I feel repulsed and disgusted afterwards.

    Pedantic, mahogany panel, bitter, mental masturbation.

    ………….

    May ask why do you bother engaging discussion here, if this is way you feel, that it’s a “personal attack” on you…?

    Why are you calling discussion here a “hatefest”?

    I am pleased to read the many critical comments of bloggers who are doing the work of unpacking the intersectionality of race/White privilege and gender.

    Remember, even if you are a POC — as male still have some relative privilege, especially over women of colour. Even males of colour are not free from patriarchal and (hetero) sexist thinking especially when it comes to dominating women within their racial group.

    It’s important to become aware in acknowledging the social category of gender and the ways in which male privilege manifests itself.

    By understanding the trajectories in which all social categories and oppressions insect, you are better able to understand the ways White privilege operates.

    Ultimately, its the White heterosexual male who is sitting back, picking his teeth and laughing, as POCs battle it out in winning the who is “more oppressed” crown.

    Keep it going Restructure!

  52. MikeeUSA Says:

    Political Suggestions about women’s Rights:

    * Females be married once they are able to have children (usually at ages: 12, 13, 14).
    * Men never persecuted for having relations with a young female of childbearing age.
    * The marital rape exception reinstated (So that a man is never persecuted for raping his wife).
    * If a man rapes a unmarried/betrothed++ virgin girl he marries her, pays her father some money, and doesn’t divorce her.
    ++Betrothal here meaning female living with husband for about one year before the marriage feast/ceremony.
    * Females barred from bringing claims against their husband (or similar) in court.
    * Females barred from divorcing their husbands.
    * Females barred from collecting monies from husband (child support etc).
    * Other similar things to remove all power from females and make them what men desire.
    (About Child Support: A saying from Bob is: child support is a seat at a Man’s table and a cot to sleep on in his house)

  53. Want More Women on Tech & TED Panels? Reject Meritocracy and Embrace Curation Says:

    [...] (e.g., theories that women promote are less interesting than the ones men promote), but in the end, it’s gender bias. It is criteria that goes beyond merit, and reflects the curators’ [...]

  54. Quora Says:

    Is Michael Arrington justified in saying that women have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs, but most just aren’t bold enough to start companies?…

    That depends on your definition of “easy”.  They are certainly less likely to get venture capital funding: http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedFiles/ResearchAndPolicy/Sources%20of%20Financing%20for%20New%20Technology%20Firms.pdf Even if it were easier, i…

  55. White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male. | Geek Feminism Blog Says:

    [...] This post was originally published at Restructure! [...]

  56. Who makes a good entrepreneur? From the mouths of venture capitalists… - The F-Word Says:

    [...] Restructure! points out: In other industries—and if uttered by someone without a university [...]

  57. Liminal states :: Suggestions from Last Year’s Hackathon Winner (part 7 of TechCrunch, Disrupted) Says:

    [...] and over 50 guys, including the author of The Diversity Myth, a VC known for his quote about preferring to fund straight white guys, and an investor who thinks startups have a competitive advantage because they can discriminate.  [...]

  58. Before You Blog About Trying to Occupy Techcrunch… | Black Web 2.0 Says:

    [...] want to acknowledge it and even seem to fear losing it if they do. A million blog posts won’t make John Doerr eat his words.  So, instead of publishing yet another post about how TechCrunch doesn’t write about black [...]


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