What’s It Like To Be A Black Man In Tech

As a Black man who has been working in the technology sector for more than 20 years, I can tell you that my race has almost always been a factor in how I am viewed and treated. In many of the companies that I have worked for, if not in all of them, I have been one of, and sometimes the sole, African American in my department.

When you’re the only Black person in an office, you notice it.

Glancing around, you notice that no one looks like you, talks like you, or has a story like you. Nobody has the gall to approach you and say, “Hey, out of the 40 people on this floor, you’re the only Black guy.” But you sense that everyone else notices it too.

You sense it from the stares you receive when you walk through the door, from the looks on people’s faces when they find out you’re competent at your job, from the alienation you feel after not being invited to lunch with your peers, and from the awkwardness they project when they try to engage you in everyday conversation.

Being Black in tech, like being Black in America, is an exercise of mental toughness. Your mind is constantly wondering, “How long can I last?”

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