Uber Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John has called on white men to ‘make noise’ about diversity in the workplace.
CNN reports that Uber chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John has called on white men to encourage diversity in the workplace during a panel at the South by Southwest film festival. “I want white men to look around in their office and say, ‘Oh look, there’s a lot of white men here. Let’s change this,’” said Saint John. She claims that it’s not the responsibility of minorities to encourage diversity: “Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that? There’s 50 of you, there’s one of me. Ya’ll fix it. … Everybody else needs to make the noise — I want white men to make the noise,” said Saint John.
Saint John was hired to Uber in June shortly after the company faced a number of scandals, including criticism for lack of diversity amongst its executives. Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company in June, the same month that Saint John joined the company. Uber released a diversity report in March 2017 that many felt reflected poorly on the company as it showed that the company had no technical leaders who are black or Hispanic. Across non-technical leadership roles, 3.7 percent of leaders were black, and 1.2 percent were Hispanic.
Saint John criticised Silicon Vallitsor it’s lack of diversity saying “The number of African Americans in Silicon Valley is dismal.” Saint John has worked at a number of Silicon Valley companies including Apple Music where she held a marketing leadership position, “It’s not up to one company — it’s up to the entire industry to make sure that we are moving the conversation forward. Sometimes those walls of competition need to come down so we can move the entire industry forward,” said Saint John.
Some have claimed that the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley is due to fewer female and minority candidates applying for jobs in the industry. “That’s bulls–t,” Saint John said, “It’s not a pipeline issue.”