SXSW Interactive 2014

Separate But Equal 2.0


Just 1 in 14 tech employees in Silicon Valley is African American or Latino yet the number of young urban americans who want to start a business has never been higher. The question must be asked: are African/Latino Americans unknowingly segregating themselves the technology conversation? A panel of experienced professionals in software, media, and entrepreneurship will discuss key solutions to get African and Latino Americans in more notables positions within the technology world without segregating them from the conversation: breaking out of your ethnic comfort zone, dismantling ideas about democratization, playing a rigged game, and identifying patterns from successful minorities in STEM fields. The panel will be moderated by Andre Briggs, a Software Developer at Microsoft who has an interest the future implications of demographic and technology related convergence.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Are African/Latino Americans in tech really playing by the same rules? For many in the SXSW audience, being able to learn how to code, market, and sell isn't an issue. The lingering question is are access to these skills really democratized? Can someone work their 10,00 hours and make it or are there external forces at play? Perhaps the game is rigged...if it is how do you play to win? This session will give you an unfair competitive advantage in the tech world.
  2. Learn how African/Latinos Americans in tech limit themselves through lowered cultural expectations and how to fight back. Simply graduating from high school is celebrated as the peak of education for many minority families in the US. This attitude bleeds into the ambitions of minorities who choose entrepreneurial endeavors. With this trend, minorities will be left out of the tech conversation 5 to 10 years years from now. We will explore ways to avoid the pitfalls of aiming too low.
  3. Discover what African Americans can learn from the achievement of West African immigrants. Despite coming from countries that have worse conditions than the US, West Africans immigrants and their children are achieving academic and career success in STEM fields. To outsiders it might appear that all Blacks have a homogenous culture but that is far from reality. Our diverse panel will explore key takeaways that can allow higher achievement for African/Latino Americans in STEM fields.
  4. How to know when you're getting too comfortable in your circles to you the point it's holding you back professionally. We will provide cautionary tales that will allow to know when you are becoming too insulated by the African/Latino American diaspora. Moreover we will provide ways to re-imagine your social network for success.
  5. Know when to leverage the African/Latino American experience. Often times in our careers knowing when is strike is critical. We will discuss strategies to maintain your identity without ruffling the feathers of your colleagues.



Andre Briggs, Software Development Engineer, Microsoft

Meta Information:

  • Tags: entrepreneur
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Diversity and Emerging Markets
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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