He was interviewed for a job at SpaceX’s internet project, Starlink, in March 2020, and alleged that it chose not to hire him after asking about his dual Austrian-Canadian citizenship status, per a DoJ court filing. He told CNBC that he wasn’t asked technical questions during the interview.
Under US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, non-US citizens can work for SpaceX if they have a green card.
In a court filing, SpaceX called the case “facially nonsensical.” SpaceX said it knew about his citizenship before offering him the interview, that the interviewer was “unimpressed” by his responses to questions, and that it ultimately didn’t hire anyone for the role.
But IER said that a SpaceX hiring manager wrote on the applicant’s interview feedback sheet: “Not a US citizen which is going to make it hard.”
After a series of IER requests for documents and deadline extensions, SpaceX provided some, but not all, of the documents the IER wanted. SpaceX said providing all documents would be “unduly burdensome” and would involve submitting documents from more than 3,500 employees “from barista to rocket scientist.”
The authorities denied SpaceX’s request in December and ordered SpaceX to comply with the subpoena within 14 days – but SpaceX still refused to send the information. It said it had already spent more than 1,000 hours complying with IER’s requests and said the authorities had given only “the flimsiest of justifications,” calling it “the very definition of government overreach.”
In a court filing in March, a magistrate judge recommended that the district judge force SpaceX to comply with the subpoena, saying that the subpoena was relevant and enforceable. SpaceX objected to the recommendations, but Gee’s court reviewed the case for two months before making its judgement Thursday.
SpaceX, IER, and the DoJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside of normal business hours.
For generations, millions of US soldiers have fought valiantly for the country, hoping to defend democratic freedoms across the world.
However, for much of the early 20th Century, the military was racially segregated, with its formal integration put into place by President Harry Truman in 1948.
During Friday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, Sean Parnell, a veteran and GOP candidate for the 2022 Pennsylvania US Senate race, had an intense discussion with host Tucker Carlson about comments made by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, related to critical race theory.
Critical race theorists have examined how America’s history of racism continue to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today.
“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned or non-commissioned officers of being, quote, woke or something else because we’re studying the same theories that are out there,” he said at the time.
He added: “I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open minded and be widely read.”
Carlson opined on the issue (starting at 3:25 in the video below), expressing that “from the outside in, the US military seems like by far the least racist institution in American life” and “has been for many decades.”
“It’s absolutely true,” he said. “We have been a colorblind culture in the United States military for almost 200 years. We’ve gotten a lot of things right. Keep your politics and your social experiments out of our military, and let us focus on what we were always intended to do – protecting the United States of America and winning wars.”
In 1948, Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which mandated that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”
However, even in the early 1960s, Black soldiers continued to grapple with discrimination in the military, especially off base, according to a New York Times report.
Douglas Bristol, a history professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, told The Times that changes were “a very gradual thing.”
“Most bases are in the South,” he said. “You can train year round. The congressmen there get re-elected forever, so they have tremendous clout. And in the South, segregation is the law.”
The problems were so pervasive that in 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy summoned a President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in the Armed Forces, also referred to as the Gesell Committee, to correct policies and deficiencies that continued to perpetuate racial discrimination.
Bristol told The Times that in the years since the turbulent 1960s, the military has become a leader on issues of equity.
“The commanders who were supporters of segregation, there’s just no place for them anymore,” he said.
The LGBTQ community loves and appreciates the support of our straight allies, whether you’re marching in a parade with us or voting for candidates who promise to protect marriage equality. But there’s one place where we still desperately need your help – and that’s at work.
According to a Human Rights Campaign Foundation report, 46% of LGBTQ workers say they’re still closeted at work. You can’t blame them. Many fear reprisals from unsupportive managers, hear homophobic jokes, or feel isolated and excluded, among other issues.
If you really want to be the best ally at work, there are subtle but deeply appreciated things you can do to show your LGBTQ coworkers that they can be their full selves around you – and more importantly, that they’re valued. Here are 11 things you can do tomorrow, or right now, per an informal polling of all my favorite LGBTQ friends.
You can’t tell anything LGBTQ-related simply by looking at someone.
“I’ve had to come out at every job I’ve ever had because I look so ‘straight,'” said Nikki Levy, an entertainment executive at a studio and the creator of “Don’t Tell My Mother!” “I am engaged. I wear a ring. When you want to know things like how we met, ask, ‘How did you meet your partner?’ as opposed to, ‘How did you meet him?’ I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been apologized to because of their assumptions about my non-existent husband.”
In general, don’t assume anything, said Liz Glazer, a lesbian comic. It’s a tip from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and it “goes for pronouns, partner status, whatever. Work environments would be friendlier, and frankly, people would be more humble and better to be around, if this was a thing people did more, or less, as the case may be,” Glazer said. As Ruiz wrote, have the courage to ask questions and communicate to avoid misunderstandings.
2. Let me come out when I’m ready
It’s still very difficult for some LGBTQ folks to come out at work, for a variety of reasons, from serious safety concerns to being peppered with annoying questions by the ill-informed.
“I told one guy at my office about my girlfriend, and he started acting weird,” said Ganee Berkman, a dental hygienist. “He asked if a guy had ever hurt me, and why a girl who looked like me would be gay. That set me back so far and made me super nervous to come out to people.”
Even if a coworker is out to you, that doesn’t mean they are out to everyone. They may choose not to tell certain folks at work because it makes their lives easier. Once they are out to you, feel free to ask them (privately) if everyone else knows. If not, be extra aware of how you speak to and about them at work, so you don’t out them, even by accident.
3. Go ahead, ask about my partner
Once someone is out, have the same conversations and ask the same questions you’d ask a straight or cisgender person about their personal life. The worst thing you can do is ignore it, like it’s the giant elephant in the room.
“I’ve encountered coworkers who know I’m gay, but never ever bring up my personal life,” Berkman said. “I don’t like that. If they’re quiet about it, it makes me feel like I need to hide it.”
Another thing she’s encountered is people lowering their voices when talking to her about gay stuff, as if it’s taboo. “Don’t whisper,” she said. “It makes it seem like even talking about gay stuff is bad. Use normal volume.”
4. But don’t be too nosy
It’s great to have conversations with your fellow LGBTQ coworkers about their lives outside of the office, as long as it’s appropriate for the workplace. “Don’t ask how I [knew] I was gay,” said Chloe Curran, a writer. “It’s weird.”
LGBTQ folks often get bombarded with questions that are overly personal or intimate, like when did we tell our parents, how do we have sex, or which body parts do we still have or not have. Levy, who is getting married in August, has been asked too many times if she and her future wife “are both wearing dresses” to their wedding.
The worst is when coworkers try to play matchmaker. We know you’re excited you know at least two gay people, but that doesn’t mean we will be even slightly attracted or have anything in common. “Oh, hey are you single? What’s your type? I know someone…” Ever Mainard, an actor/comic who has also worked as a production assistant, hears it all the time. “I know it’s well-meaning, but it’s mostly off-putting and insulting.”
5. Sure, tell me about your other gay friends
We might not want to be set up, but we don’t mind knowing you have other gay friends or family members. If you come out as an ally, as soon as humanly possible, we love that. We feel understood, safe, seen. A for effort!
Berkman, for example, didn’t know her favorite office manager had a gay daughter for a year and a half. “She always showed me so much love and understanding, and I finally found out why. I would’ve loved for her to tell me way sooner,” she said.
“I actually think it’s adorable when people find out that I’m gay, then start telling me about their one gay friend or their one encounter with anything gay,” Berkman said. “It seems cheesy, but I actually appreciate that they’re trying to show support even though they might not have a lot of experience with gay people. Things like that make me feel 10,000 times more comfortable than people who stop talking to me after I come out to them. The ones who get awkwardly super excited and enthusiastic after finding out are the ones who make me the happiest.”
6. Don’t only talk about my sexuality or gender
Of course, there’s a limit to how much we want to talk about all of this. Being LGBTQ is obviously a huge part of our lives, but it’s not the only thing.
“I have had the privilege of working in a few settings where my sexual orientation felt about as relevant as my hair color – that is, irrelevant,” said Aaron Chapman, a medical director in Alameda County in northern California. “Being gay neither moved me ahead nor held me back. I was neither a victim of discrimination nor a token of progressivism. That was a privilege.”
What we as a community have been fighting so hard for is to have the same rights and be treated as anyone else, adds Eugene Huffman, an artist and paralegal. “Treat them as you would any other person – that they are a person, and LGBTQ is just one facet of who they are, not the entire picture,” Huffman said. “We have enough things that already make us feel different, we don’t need to add to it.”
7. Educate yourself
“Don’t ask me to be your educator,” said Tre Temperilli, who works on Democratic political campaigns and identifies as gender ambivalent. “We all have to lift. So roll up your sleeves and Google some things. Participate in your own evolution.”
Stay on top of what is going on with the LGBTQ community in the news. Can we be fired for being gay? Can homophobes still refuse to make wedding cakes for us? Which bathrooms are we allowed to go in? Can we serve in the military or not? It’s exhausting being the teacher/expert on all things gay. If you want to be an ally, do a little homework on your own.
Also, “don’t assume that just because someone is gay that they know everything about the LGBTQ community,” said Aaron Rasmussen, a writer. “It’s large [and] diverse and everyone has their own individual experience and story to tell.”
8. Make an effort with my pronouns
Those of us in the LGBTQ community who are transgender and gender fluid deal with a lot of confusion, bias, and misunderstanding on a daily basis. At work, it can be especially stressful.
“Being nonbinary is slightly more difficult for people to wrap their heads around because they go, ‘Wait, you’re not a man or a woman?'” said Samee Junio, who identifies as nonbinary. It’s much less “accepted” than being just “gay” or “lesbian.”
If you find it hard to adjust to a person’s pronouns, the best thing to do is to keep trying. “The excuse I hear most frequently from some is, ‘I’m old, this is all new to me,'” said Temperilli, who goes by he/him and they. “That’s fine, but after the third time I’m like, DUDE!”
Don’t be scared to ask if you’re not sure what pronouns someone uses. Temperilli believes most trans folks don’t mind answering, “but for all that is holy, don’t keep misgendering someone because you find it ‘too hard.’ It can be hurtful and as we know, respect is a two-way street,” they said. “What seems hard for you is likely a trillion times harder for the person you’re not seeing when you misgender trans folks.”
You can take it one step further by helping communicate your coworker’s pronouns to others. Junio goes by they/them and works with new people constantly on different shows as the head of the tech department at Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, a performance venue in Los Angeles. It often feels like a burden having to repeatedly explain the pronoun situation – so they don’t.
“My bosses know and they prep everyone before they meet me,” they said. “There should be more of that in the workplace. I’m fortunate to have an incredible employer and the other employees correct people for me, too.”
9. Stick up for me
“If you hear a coworker misgender a trans person or call them the wrong name outside that person’s presence, call them out, if you know the trans person is out to them and it is safe to do so,” said Charlie Arrowood, who identifies as trans or nonbinary and is the director of Name & Gender Recognition at Transcend Legal.
If you hear someone tell a homophobic joke, again, don’t let it slide. Call them out, plus report it to HR. That’s how things change.
10. Show you care about the LGBTQ community
There are so many small but significant ways to do this. For example, you could encourage your office to sponsor a float in your local pride parade, or if that’s already in the works, you can show up to march.
“At San Francisco Pride many of the workplace marching groups are like 50% straight supporters,” Chapman said. “It is cool to see straight coworkers come out to celebrate.”
Maybe less fun but even more impactful would be to look at your employee insurance policy and, if there is an exclusion for transgender care, “use your cisgender capital and privilege to ask your employer to remove it,” Arrowood said.
11. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
“It is critical that employees consciously cultivate an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace,” said Kelly Dermody, employment practice group chairperson at the law firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann, & Bernstein. You might make some good faith mistakes along the way – that’s OK! “Ask, clarify, apologize, if necessary,” Dermody said, “but keep making the effort to be a place [where] LGBTQ employees and their friends, families, and allies want to work.”
For some long COVID patients, going to the doctor’s office requires a clear game plan, extensive research, mental resilience, and physical stamina. That’s because they don’t expect their doctors to believe them.
Patients with other diseases that are poorly understood, like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, are familiar with medical gaslighting, a term for situations in which medical professionals undermine or dismiss a patient’s symptoms as being caused by stress or anxiety.
Three long COVID patients told Insider that they have faced the same issues, and that this gaslighting has taken an emotional and physical toll.
“From the first doctor’s appointment where I saw my primary care doctor, up until one of the final hospital visits I had in July last year, it has been a non-stop roller coaster of being gaslit,” Chimére Smith, a long-hauler who says her COVID symptoms lasted almost a year, told Insider. “Especially by doctors who are white and who are male.”
‘A blame-the-victim response to illness’
Smith calls herself a “first-waver” – she got COVID-19 in March 2020.
Estimates suggest that long COVID cases like hers, in which people experience persistent or new symptoms for more than a month, occur in at least one in 10 coronavirus infections. Some research suggests it may be as many as one in three.
Smith, a middle school teacher from Baltimore, said COVID-19 left her with fatigue and on-and-off vision loss in her left eye. She was bed-bound with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain all over the body, as well as occipital neuralgia, a type of headache that causes piercing pain to the back of the neck and head. On top of that, brain fog and memory loss have prevented her from returning to work.
But Smith said she still struggles to get doctors to believe her symptoms are real.
“They bypassed my long laundry list of symptoms to try to convince me that what was happening to me was not actually happening to me,” Smith said.
The idea of medical gaslighting gained new attention in 2018, after a Vogue article revealed that Serena Williams struggled to convince her doctors that she was having a pulmonary embolism after giving birth to her daughter. It could have cost Williams her life.
The same has been true for long COVID during most of the pandemic, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released diagnostic guidelines last week that should help doctors better identify the condition.
Rachel M. Robles, a long COVID patient who works with the patient group Body Politik, told Insider that in the face of “mystery illnesses,” medical professionals often react one of two ways. In the best-case scenario, doctors become “curious and helpful,” she said. They try experimental treatments or refer the patient to a specialist.
“Others become skeptical and do not want to give out any resources to someone who, in their mind, is a hypochondriac,” Robles said.
Harriet Washington, a medical ethicist and author of the book “Medical Apartheid” told Insider the latter approach is “essentially a blame-the-victim response to illness.”
Long COVID has the hallmarks of a disease vulnerable to gaslighting
“No patient is like another, the combination of symptoms is so variable,” Fidaa Shaib, a pulmonologist who works in a long COVID clinic at Baylor College of Medicine, told Insider.
“I think physicians try to do their best,” Shaib added, “but there was no unifying structure to put their findings together.”
Some long COVID symptoms, like heart problems, can be measured directly. But many of the most commonly reported symptoms, such as brain fog or memory loss, depend on the patient’s perception.
“A lot of our tests are coming back normal. When that happens, I think it’s easiest for doctors to say that it’s in our head or that it’s anxiety,” Lisa McCorkell, a long COVID patient, told Insider. McCorkell leads the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, a long COVID research group.
“There’s still this pervasive belief in the medical community that anytime a woman complains about her health, it’s either related to her hormones or all in her head,” Stephanie Trentacoste McNally, a gynecologist at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, wrote in a blog post.
Reports of pain are more frequently dismissed among women. A 2008 study found that women who went to the emergency room with severe stomach pain had to wait, on average, 33% longer than men with the same symptoms.
The consequences of gaslighting can be physical and financial
Smith and Robles both said their efforts to seek medical treatment were especially difficult because they didn’t initially get tested for COVID-19.
“The biggest population that is having trouble are the folks who don’t have a positive test, or who were unable to be tested, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic,” McCorkell said. “They’re continuing to face gaslighting from doctors, both for their symptoms now and even just being told that they never had COVID-19 to begin with.”
Shaib said that for each patient, she needs about an hour to discuss all the symptoms of long COVID. That’s time some primary care doctors don’t have, she added.
“I really would think it’s better for patients to go right away into a specialty multidisciplinary clinic, rather than going from one physician to another,” Shaib said.
There is no treatment for long COVID, but some symptoms can be managed.
In Robles’ case, she was diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome – a condition that affects involuntary nervous-system functions like heartbeat and blood flow – about five months after getting COVID-19. Until then, she said, doctors brushed aside her fatigue, dizziness, and racing heart, suggesting the symptoms were caused by anxiety.
But now her treatment regimen involves increasing her water and salt intake and wearing compression garments. Robles thinks her recovery would have been quicker had she gotten a diagnosis sooner.
“You can’t fix a problem until you identify it,” she said.
McCorkell said that in some cases, recommendations from incredulous doctors can even make long COVID symptoms worse. For example, patients struggling with fatigue might benefit from learning not to go beyond a finite “energy envelope.” But instead, some have been told to exercise and push through their fatigue, according to McCorkell.
“If people pace, they can prevent permanent disability and being bedbound for decades,” she said, but added that pushing too hard “is just disastrous for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.”
Smith said that one of the biggest challenges of medical gaslighting has been financial.
“We need disability benefits, money, because many of us are struggling to keep things like bills and keeping utilities running. We need employers to understand with compassion that our diagnosis of disability is genuine and real,” she said.
People of color are generally at higher risk of gaslighting
Washington said that although there isn’t yet data to determine whether people of color have had their long COVID symptoms dismissed more than white patients, she wouldn’t be surprised.
“There are many complaints of people who went to the hospital with symptoms of COVID, seeking healthcare and were turned away,” she said, referring to Black Americans in particular. “The symptoms got worse later – when they came back to the hospital, they were extremely ill.”
Washington pointed to the case of Dr. Susan Moore, a Black medical internist who documented on social media the ways in which her COVID-19 symptoms were not being dealt with. Moore later died.
There is a long history of Black Americans’ reports of pain being dismissed, she said.
“They tend to be sent home without treatment and have their pain categorized as drug-seeking,” she said.
Smith, who is Black, said she, too, experienced inequity in her medical treatment.
“I watched doctors tell other patients in the rooms, white patients, that they were presumed positive, and I couldn’t even get that same type of treatment,” she said, adding, “it’s heartbreaking because it’s a constant reminder of how broken the healthcare system is.”
‘Because I have been gaslit, I don’t seek care anymore’
In April, Reps. Don Beyer and Jack Bergman introduced a bill to Congress that would give $100 million to support long COVID patients. About $30 million of that would go to educating health professionals and the public about the syndrome. Beyer told NBC3 News at 7 that he is hopeful that it will become law in the next few months.
But for some patients, it’s too late.
“Personally, because I have been gaslit, I don’t seek care anymore,” McCorkell said, adding that her research has indicated that’s the case for many other long COVID patients.
“Who would want to go back to seek care and be gaslit again? People are not going to be getting the care that they need and will have to be incentivized to return to the doctor for probably decades to come,” she said.
Smith has become a long-COVID patient advocate focussing on Black people in urban communities, and she testified at a Congressional hearing on long COVID in April. But she’s not holding her breath for government funding – she’s applying for grants to turn her church building into a long COVID support center.
“I want to provide those medical resources, those personal consultations, education information, and especially mental health support to Black long COVID patients,” Smith said.
“As we commemorate Juneteenth, we must commit to both remembering the past and continuing to take action to ensure communities of color, especially Black Americans, achieve the full equity they deserve,” Murphy said in a press release.
“Today, I am proud to sign the Fair Chance in Housing Act into law and work to level what has been for too long an uneven playing field when it comes to access to housing,” Murphy said. “I thank the sponsors and advocates for their tireless commitment to making this bill a reality and ensuring that New Jersey is a fairer place to live.”
The legislation bars landlords from asking about a prospective tenant’s criminal history unless they’ve met certain parameters, like having been flagged as a sex offender or convicted for making meth in federally-assisted housing, the text of the Fair Chance in Housing Act says.
Only after a landlord makes a conditional offer to a tenant, the legislation says, can the former run a criminal background check.
The move has been heralded by leaders of civil-rights organizations across New Jersey.
“The Fair Chance in Housing Act will significantly impact Black and brown communities who have been devastated by our broken criminal justice and housing systems for generations,” said Richard T. Smith, NAACP New Jersey State Conference President.
“We thank Governor Murphy for his strong support, and for signing this essential step towards equity into law,” Smith added, according to the press release from the governor’s office.
Google on Thursday suffered a setback as a San Francisco state judge awarded class-action status to a lawsuit over unequal pay between men and women for the same work, Bloomberg first reported.
The lawsuit was first filed by four former female workers at Google in 2017. In it, the women allege that Google violated California’s Equal Pay Act “by paying female employees lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work.”
A previously disclosed analysis seen by Bloomberg showed that the case seeks more than $600 million in damages.
The women represent around 10,800 women employed by Google who claim that the company pays men more for doing the same job, according to a July court filing. The court filing said that the search engine company paid female employees around $16,794 less per year than “the similarly-situated man.”
“Google paid women less base salary, smaller bonuses, and less stock than men in the same job code and location,” the July filing said.
“We strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices,” a Google spokesperson told Insider. “For the past eight years, we have run a rigorous pay equity analysis to make sure salaries, bonuses and equity awards are fair. If we find any differences in proposed pay, including between men and women, we make upward adjustments to remove them before new compensation goes into effect. In 2020 alone, we made upward adjustments for 2,352 employees, across nearly every demographic category, totalling $4.4M. We also undertake rigorous analyses to ensure fairness in role leveling and performance ratings.”
Kelly Dermody, a lawyer representing the women, said in an email to Bloomberg that the next step is getting the case to trial which could happen in 2022.
“This is a significant day for women at Google and in the technology sector, and we are so proud of our brave clients for leading the way,” Dermody said. “This order shows that it is critical that companies prioritize paying women equitably over spending money fighting them in litigation.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday denied that systemic racism exists in the United States.
Asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace whether systemic racism exists across American institutions, Graham said no.
“Not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African-American president,” he said, referring to former President Barack Obama, who was in office from January 2009 to January 2017.
“The vice president is of African American-Indian descent,” he continued, referring to Kamala Harris. “So our systems are not racist. America’s not a racist country.”
Extensive research and data illustrate how systemic racism in the United States makes basic experiences like banking, education, and interactions with law enforcement vastly different for people of color compared to white people.
Wallace asked Graham about systemic racism specifically within policing, which Graham also denied.
“Within every society, you have bad actors. The Chauvin trial was a just result,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, just ended in his conviction.
Floyd died on May 25 during an arrest, and video shows that he repeatedly said he could not breathe while trapped under Chauvin’s weight.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge. He also faces up to 25 years for the third-degree murder charge and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Because Chauvin was convicted of all charges, he will be sentenced on the top charge of second-degree murder. His sentencing is scheduled for June.
This is not the first time Graham has made controversial remarks about racism and people of color.
“I care about everybody,” Graham said, speaking at a forum for South Carolina Senate candidates. “If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just need to be conservative, not liberal.”
The 49 Black executives represented 3.2% of all executive leadership at Goldman Sachs in 2020, which was a slight improvement from 2.7% in 2019.
The bank employed a total of 21,040 people across the US in 2020. Tuesday’s report showed that 1,425 of these workers were Black, including 649 men and 776 women.
This means they made up 6.8% of the bank’s US workforce – a step up from 6.6% in 2019. Census data shows that 13.4% of the US population is Black.
In the executive summary of the report, CEO David Solomon said there was “still a long road ahead” on improving the diversity of the bank’s workforce, adding that he would “continue to make this effort a personal priority.”
He added that Goldman Sachs has “set additional goals for retaining and promoting talent at the vice-president level.”
Goldman Sachs didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The report comes one month after the bank announced it was set to invest $10 billion in an initiative called “One Million Black Women.” The project aims to reach 1 million Black women by 2030 through investment in healthcare, jobs, education, and access to capital.
Goldman Sachs has a higher proportion of Black employees in senior executive positions than Morgan Stanley, which revealed in its 2020 Diversity and Inclusion report that it had 37 Black leaders out of 1,705 executives in the US.
As a second-generation Chinese American, I’ve always felt disconnected from Chinese culture – I struggle with the language, am unfamiliar with its customs and traditions, and feel like an impostor in a Chinese body when interacting with first-generation immigrants.
But I also constantly feel alienated in America. Despite having lived in the US my entire life, I can’t help but feel like a foreigner in my own hometown, where people look at my face and immediately see me as something otherly. My whole life, I’ve identified with the label of “American” as much as I’ve identified with “chink,” “gook,” and “virus.”
The rapid rise in anti-Asian violence and the fear it’s instilled in recent months has been a brutal reminder to millions of us of what it means to exist as an Asian in America, and it’s left us in a state of overwhelming grief and anger.
In light of these hate crimes, Asians ranging from celebrities to politicians to ordinary people have spoken out against the increasingly rampant discrimination we face. This is exactly what we should be doing. Given the widespread reluctance to acknowledge anti-Asian racism, even among Asians ourselves, we need to make our voices heard.
But at the same time, however, Asian American advocacy is far too often predicated on rhetoric that’s implicitly anti-Black.
Instead of uplifting us, this harms all people of color and pits us against one another, thereby upholding the white supremacy that oppresses and dehumanizes us.
Growing up in the US, I’ve been constantly surrounded by the stereotypes associated with being Asian.
We’re purportedly all smart, hardworking, quiet, and obedient. I took pride in hearing friends, teachers, and family members, Asian and non-Asian alike, apply these characteristics to my own race. It felt like a compliment; Asians were all high-achieving, so I automatically was too.
When I was told that stereotypes were harmful at a young age, I wondered how this could be possible. After all, what harm could come out of someone believing I was intelligent and hardworking?
The narrative that hard work and intelligence – and, by extension, success and prosperity – is an inherent part of the Asian identity not only veils the discrimination we face, but also perpetuates racism against other groups. The assumption is that Asians – the “model minority” – can achieve high levels of success in academia and the workforce despite being people of color, so if Black people fail to do the same, it’s because of their own inherent shortcomings rather than systemic barriers.
Because being perceived as hardworking doesn’t seem offensive or harmful at face value, many Asians buy straight into this narrative, resulting in a subtle sense of anti-Blackness that often manifests itself in Asian American advocacy.
We shouldn’t treat racism like a competition
When I first heard about the targeted shootings of Asian women in Atlanta several weeks ago, I instantly thought of the tragic murder of Vincent Chin in 1982. Beyond that, however, I was also reminded of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans who were unjustly murdered.
Considering the racial unrest in the US this past year, it can be easy to make this connection between anti-Asian and anti-Black violence; it’s a reminder that the oppression of one race is tied to that of other races and reaffirms the need to stand in solidarity with other people of color.
However, we need to be careful that these connections don’t turn into comparisons.
In response to skyrocketing anti-Asian violence, some people have adopted “Asian Lives Matter” as a catch-all phrase to condemn racism against Asians. Of course, our lives do matter, but using this phrase is fallacious in a way similar to “All Lives Matter” – it’s not untrue, but it’s a direct response to “Black Lives Matter” that attempts to derail our focus on anti-Black oppression and shift it to a different group. The history of racism in the US is far too nuanced for one marginalized group to simply replace another, even if it’s just in a saying or hashtag.
Our goal should not be to replace or diminish the Black Lives Matter movement but to simultaneously advocate for Black and Asian Americans. Alternative hashtags like #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate accomplish this by condemning anti-Asian racism without co-opting a movement that isn’t ours.
That being said, this underlying sense of competition – or, as activist Elizabeth Martínez once called it, “Oppression Olympics” – spans far greater than the use of a hashtag. Some Asians have been quick to criticize Black Lives Matter activists for not explicitly acknowledging anti-Asian violence. If activists can advocate for Black people, they reason, then why can’t they advocate for Asians?
Instead of uplifting ourselves and shedding light on our struggles, this reasoning insinuates that we are only owed support because Black people also received it. It forces us to spend our energy competing with one another rather than truly addressing white supremacy. It unravels the solidarity between Asian and Black activists and downplays the significant work Black civil rights activists have done to benefit people of color throughout history.
Activism is not a zero-sum game; fighting anti-Black racism benefits Asians and vice versa.
To truly contribute to Asian activism, here’s what we do.
Let’s focus on uplifting the voices of Asian Americans. Rather than place blame on the Black Lives Matter movement for occupying so much attention, let’s take inspiration from the decades of hard work activists have done to bring such attention to racial issues.
After initial reports of Facebook turning down Black applicants for positions because they weren’t a “culture fit,” more people have filed complaints alleging similar experiences.
A Washington Post article published Tuesday said three Black applicants were rejected from jobs at Facebook despite having met all the qualifications.
The three applicants filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that investigates workplace discrimination.
“There’s no doubt you can do the job, but we’re really looking for a culture fit,” one hiring manager told one of the three candidates, according to The Post.
A Facebook operations manager, Oscar Veneszee Jr., told the paper he believes several qualified applicants he referred to jobs at the company were rejected because they weren’t a “culture fit.”
“When I was interviewing at Facebook, the thing I was told constantly was that I needed to be a culture fit, and when I tried to recruit people, I knew I needed [to] find people who were a culture fit,” he told The Post. “But unfortunately not many people I knew could pass that challenge because the culture here does not reflect the culture of Black people.”
The EEOC began investigating Facebook last summer over bias allegations, The Post added.
Critics have criticized workplaces pursuing the idea of a “culture fit” in their hiring practices because, they argue, it creates an inclination to hire white workers while sidelining people of color.
In a 2018 article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional membership association in Alexandria, Virginia, one HR expert said “culture fit” is subjective and indicates the hiring decision is largely not based “on the candidate’s ability to deliver results.”
A Facebook spokesperson, when reached for comment, gave the following statement.
“We’ve added diversity and inclusion goals to senior leaders’ performance reviews. We take seriously allegations of discrimination and have robust policies and processes in place for employees to report concerns, including concerns about microaggressions and policy violations,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also said the company did not take “culture fit” into account when hiring for jobs.
Rhett Lindsey, a former recruiter with Facebook, told The Post, “There is no culture fit check mark on an application form, but at Facebook it is like this invisible cloud that hangs over candidates of color.”