Because of their centrality in online discourse, Black users want to see themselves reflected in the products in which they invest their time. Understandably, some platforms maintain impartiality. They cannot or do not tailor their product to particular demographics. However, communities of color want to know that at the very least they are represented in the company’s staffing.
There is also a financial incentive for tech companies to invest in a diverse workplace. Advertisers are eager to crack the ethnic code and commodify online communities like Black Twitter. Explaining the social and search habits of these users often falls on the handful of Black employees, without regard to their position or team.
Until my tenure at Twitter, I strongly resisted being “the Black guy.” I didn’t want to be the sole representative of a multifaceted group of people or be siloed into focusing on Black issues. My position shifted after the shooting death of Mike Brown and the inception of the “Black Lives Matter” protests. I realized that I and other Black employees could be the voice for a community of users who had been largely ignored or misunderstood by social media companies.