Former Google employee says company made him feel ‘the burden of being Black’

(Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

A former Google employee alleges the organization has a racist culture that was so pervasive that he “never stopped feeling the burden of being Black at Google.”

In a memo title The Weight of Silence, which has gone viral, the person recently quit working at Google’s New York City headquarters because of what he (or she) said was a demeaning work culture filled with hate and that fostered a racist atmosphere that made people of color feel like unwelcomed.

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“Over the last 5 years I’ve heard co-workers spew hateful words about immigrants, boast unabashedly about gentrifying neighborhoods, mockingly imitate people who speak different languages, reject candidates of color without evidence because of ‘fit,'” the former employee wrote in the memo, which was first obtained by Motherboard.

The person said over time they become more comfortable shutting down coworkers misguided comments but still couldn’t shake the feeling of “the burden of being Black at Google.”

This isn’t the first time the tech giant has had issues with making people of color feel included.

Last year, people of color at Google spoke out to say the culture at the Mountain View headquarters in California made them feel unsafe, which is why the company has difficulty retaining workers of color.

Several employees have filed discrimination lawsuits, including former employee Tim Chevalier, who claimed wrongful termination and failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, according to CNN.

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The NYC former employee has offered some suggestions to the company on how to improve its diversity and inclusion efforts:

  • Provide more mental health support for employees of color.
  • Restructure the company’s referral program o close the diversity gap.
  • Use virtual reality to aid in building empathy and curtail biases.

“Rethink referrals: ​audit Google’s candidate referral program and incentivize diversity. At Google, referred candidates are hired at 3X the rate of those who apply through standard channels,” the person wrote.

“And given that many Americans ​don’t have friends outside of their race​, it’s highly possible that Google’s referral program is widening existing gaps, and relying on a non-diverse hiring network to drive hiring.”

Google so far hasn’t responded.