People of color at Facebook pen open letter about racial discrimination at company

A group of Facebook employees composed an anonymous essay outlining what they say is a difficult racial culture at the social media giant, filled with micro- and macroaggressions

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

An anonymous group of minority Facebook employees have joined forces this month to publish an anonymous memo that outlines all the ways the the culture at the company has failed its non-white workers while pretending to be inclusive.

Last year, former Facebook employee Mark Luckie, who is African American, came forward to allege that the social media juggernaut had a long history of not doing right by its Black employees and users. But based on a Nov. 7 essay published on Medium, whose author is identified only as “FB Blind,” things appear to have only gotten worse.

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The piece titled, Facebook Empowers Racism Against Its Employees of Color, explains how despite the brave faces that Black employees feel pressured to put on during the company’s annual Black@ event in Menlo Park, Calif., in reality the public facing emphasis on inclusion and empowerment is all just smoke and mirrors.

“We may be smiling. We may post on Instagram with industry influencers and celebrities. We may use the IG “Share Black Stories” filter and be featured on marketing pieces. We may embrace each other and share how happy we are to have the opportunity to work with a company that impacts nearly three billion people,” the article states.

But then it says that behind those jovial exteriors, “On the inside, we are sad. Angry. Oppressed. Depressed. And treated every day through the micro and macro aggressions as if we do not belong here.”

The open letter which was co-written by 12 current employees, including Black, Hispanic, and Asian workers touches on an array of injustices and slights they claim to have endured from managers, white colleagues and even the company’s human resources department.

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The workers point out how non-white staff members are often undermined by their supervisors and labeled as “aggressive” just for speaking up like everyone else; how white employees allegedly treat them like maids and make demands for them to “clean up after their mess.” Further, on an anonymous workplace community app called “Blind,” posters often feel emboldened to ask racist questions like, “Are Blacks really treated poorly or do they just like to complain?”

“Facebook’s disenfranchisement of Black people on the platform mirrors the marginalization of its Black employees,” Luckie wrote on the memo he sent out on his last day at the company a year ago. “In my time at the company, I’ve heard far too many stories from Black employees of a colleague or manager calling them ‘hostile’ or ‘aggressive’ for simply sharing their thoughts in a manner not dissimilar from their non-Black team members.”

In regard to the alleged façade the company puts on for outsiders he pointed out that, “in some buildings, there are more “Black Lives Matter” posters than there are actual Black people.”

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