Minorities are underrepresented in the ranks of geeks.
June 24, 2001 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Minorities are underrepresented in the ranks of geeks. While 84% of the population of the US is white, 90% of geeks are white. (Obviously we need quotas and white angst. Let's get some righteous indignation going here.)
posted by Steven Den Beste (44 comments total)
 
lets take a look at these numbers...

78% sent e-mail in the past month
51% surf the Net for fun
30% go online daily
38% have a camcorder
27% have a home fax machine
23% own a home-theater system
21% play online games
15% have been online 5+ years
11% visited an online chat room in the past 30 days
9% own a Minidisc player
7% listen to Internet radio
6% have a laserdisc player


these are "technology enthusiasts"? According to this, 22% of technology enthusiasts have not send e-mail in the past month. A month is a long time to go without sending an e-mail, i have a hard time believing anyone who has not sent e-mail in the last month truly is a "technology enthusiast". -- or how about 51% surf the net for fun. according to this, 49% of "technology enthusiasts" don't surf the net for fun. (and keep in mind we all pretty much use metafilter for fun. so that excludes everyone reading this.)

I think their numbers need a bit of tweaking. Maybe this poll should be done of Metafilter members? Hmm...
posted by benjh at 7:12 AM on June 24, 2001


Yes, Steven. I think this is extremely wrong!!

I think it is also wrong that there are more black people in the ghettos than whites. It is also wrong that a higher percentage of black people play basketball than white people. It is wrong wrong wrong!

Sarcasm aside, I'm surprised at the 'education' part. Many 'true' geeks often frown upon standard education, as they feel their skills are above and beyond what they could possibly learn at college. Seems like the 'geeks' in this selection are rather conformist ones.
posted by wackybrit at 7:23 AM on June 24, 2001


This is an outrage! I demand massive federal spending without accountability or true results, as long as it makes us feel good! Think of the children, think of the black children...

(a month without email? I can't go an hour...)
posted by owillis at 7:34 AM on June 24, 2001


The one that got me was

70% bought a book in the past year; 53% read one

This explains why poor Tim O'Reilly was unable to make a success of ... uh ... wait a minute.
posted by anewc2 at 7:38 AM on June 24, 2001


I have little to say but this: any stats on what happens (promotion, pay, etc) to those members of minority groups who do get into the world of geekdom? Do they get same salaries, promotions etc as white geeks? And I would be urious about geek babes.
posted by Postroad at 8:04 AM on June 24, 2001


And I would be curious about geek babes

Yeah, um, me too.
posted by owillis at 8:20 AM on June 24, 2001


who cares what race is geeks. I swear the liberals are more concerned about race and numbers then conservative people are.
posted by crackheadmatt at 8:36 AM on June 24, 2001


I swear the liberals are more concerned about race and numbers then conservative people are.

Your insight is simply astonishing.
posted by rodii at 8:55 AM on June 24, 2001


Seems like the 'geeks' in this selection are rather conformist ones.
Read Slashdot sometime, and never be surprised at geek conformity again.
posted by darukaru at 9:02 AM on June 24, 2001


Steven, you might find a nice outlet for your boundless compassion in the San Diego Futures Foundation.
posted by sudama at 9:10 AM on June 24, 2001


We must not be a diverse group. How politically incorrect that is.
posted by NJguy at 9:26 AM on June 24, 2001


Steven - I'm curious about why, out of the multitude of stupid "facts" presented by that article, you chose to pick up on race and start blathering about white liberal angst? It's hardly the focus of the article, is it?
posted by pascal at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2001


Wow.

75k a year is "rich" now? Not with two mortages, 2 car payments, and a family with a stay at home mom!

And, um, is it really even worth mentioning that most geeks are white people? Jesus.
posted by glenwood at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2001


These are ordinary consumers, not geeks. I find it hard to believe, from the tech people I meet, that politically "19% are liberal, 35% are conservative".
posted by skyline at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2001


This never would have happened if The Man didn't take Urkel off the air.
posted by dong_resin at 10:48 AM on June 24, 2001


Steven's been around long enough to ... pull off a troll. Put it that way. The Standard article, of course, didn't mention race; it merely included it as a statistic near the end of its column. SDB knew what kind of hook this insipid poll would need to get discussed here. ;-)

As noted, this is a public's-eye view of geeks. A geek, from that angle, is someone who has used something electronic recently. In the words of a certain beloved late author, the kind of people who still think digital watches are pretty neat. So this isn't exactly representative of net.culture in the hardcore sense. (PC Gamer, I think, did a survey of its own last year to break down the "mainstream gamer" market from the "hardcore gamer" market. For one, the former thought Myst was the best game of all time, but the latter hated it with a passion. I think similar divergence can be found by comparing this survey's demographic to, say, Metafilter.)

Another factor to consider is evolution ... or as the fundies say, change over time. This particular survey is a snapshot. If you were to look at an earlier benchmark, you'd more than likely find that blacks and other under-represented groups are, while still undestandbly small, among the fastest-growing demographic niches in geekdom.
posted by dhartung at 11:16 AM on June 24, 2001


I know they're among the fastest growing groups of users in terms of getting online, but I'm not sure that translates to geekdom.

And thanks for calling a troll a troll Dan.

glenwood, the median income in the richest county in the richest nation on the planet is ~95k. By any standard that includes the population of Earth, 75k would have to be considered rich. Congratulations.
posted by sudama at 11:55 AM on June 24, 2001


Well, Steven, despite your best efforts, Dan's managed to inject legitmate discussion and a modicum of actual information into this thread.

How 'bout next time you just abandon the pretense and tell us how threatened you are by people who hope for resolution to disparities of opportunity?
posted by anildash at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2001


75k a year is "rich" now?

75k a year is more than most of the people I know make. Then again, I guess for most of you living in areas like New York and San Francisco you don't have a real middle class and you have to make that much to afford anything. Makes me love West Michigan.
posted by dagnyscott at 2:33 PM on June 24, 2001


Oh, c'mon, it's more fun to do it SDB's way... Then again, when unsupported absurdities like "By any standard that includes the population of Earth (sic; as opposed to... Mir? The ISS? Little pink squishy guys from PrimeCo?), 75K would have to be considered rich (sic; if 75K is rich, I'll go to bed tonight happy to know that I'm Bill Gates....)" get interjected even after the parade's been pissed on, clearly there's tons o' fun still to to be had! Yay!
posted by m.polo at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2001


75k is rich in the United States.

median income in 1999 for all races: $39,657.

in 1999 $79,375 was the 80th percentile upper limit, so I'd say that $75k is at about the 75th percentile?

I would say that if your income places you in the top 25% of people living in a country, you're rich by that country's standards. whether you live in an expensive place and the incomes of folks in the 99th percentile are irrelevant.

I think those of us who work in the high tech industry have no clue about what most of the people in our cities make. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 2:49 PM on June 24, 2001


In 1997, only 20% of American households had an income greater than $71,500.
posted by sudama at 2:53 PM on June 24, 2001


Give it up, any amount of money isn't "rich" if you spend beyond your means. If you think 75k isn't rich its time to drive one of your SUVs outside of the gated community and take a look around.
posted by skallas at 2:55 PM on June 24, 2001


thats because minorites are cooler than us
posted by Satapher at 3:19 PM on June 24, 2001


Honestly, all I thought I was doing was making a joke. (I didn't realize that I was so threatened by something I've been actively working to advance for thirty years. My goodness I'm complicated!)

Oliver spotted the joke. (Thanks, dude!) I can't say I'm surprised that others did not.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:24 PM on June 24, 2001


I wish I had the luxury of joking about such things. That would be cool.
posted by anildash at 3:37 PM on June 24, 2001


I wish you and some of the MeFi Fanatically Driven (cf. SDB's succinct description above...) had the luxury of a sense of humor. That would be cool.
posted by m.polo at 4:15 PM on June 24, 2001


Heard any good racist jokes lately? Let's keep this thread light-hearted. Wouldn't want to get tiresome.
posted by sudama at 4:17 PM on June 24, 2001


two white guys walk into a bar. the first asks for a beer; the bartender says, we don't serve ropes, and walks away.

the second guy messes up his hair and asks for a beer. the bartender says, "we don't serve ropes here, don't you understand english?" and the guy says "I'm a frayed knot".

wait....
posted by rebeccablood at 4:26 PM on June 24, 2001


And I thought jokes were supposed to be funny. Learn something new every day at MeFi.
posted by Doug at 4:54 PM on June 24, 2001


Yep. Me no sense of humor. As one of the only self-identified moderates at MeFi, I suspect you're tarring the wrong person with the "no sense of humor" brush.

My first name looks like "anal" for pete's sake. I don't have the luxury of not having a sense of humor...
posted by anildash at 5:33 PM on June 24, 2001


The median salaries of IT "professional staff" (sr. software engineer, sr. database admin., sr. systems admin., etc.) are usually higher than $75,000, regardless of which region in the U.S. you are looking at. You'd be hard pressed to find a management level person in IT with base pay under $100,000... and salary is only one part of total compensation of course (though the value of most workers' stock options ain't what they used to be).
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 8:03 PM on June 24, 2001


"75k a year is "rich" now?"
That's much more than anyone in my family has ever made.

And Steven, you should know better than to joke about anything tangentially related to race. Some things are just damn inappropriate dammit!
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:25 PM on June 24, 2001


Keep in mind that the $75,000 figure was household income rather than salary. In a typical two-earner household ... that's $37,500 apiece.

The chart clearly shows two things: the geek sample is almost twice as likely to be in that highest bracket ... and half or less as likely to be in the two lowest. Tech enthusiasm does tend to lead toward a more comfortable lifestyle.
posted by dhartung at 11:27 PM on June 24, 2001


Or, um, vice versa.

On account of technology being costly and stuff.
posted by Grangousier at 6:01 AM on June 25, 2001


I'm still trying to understand what's funny about the "joke". Tell me which part of this is "the joke", as opposed to the same old sarcasm we always get on this topic:

Minorities are underrepresented in the ranks of geeks. While 84% of the population of the US is white, 90% of geeks are white. (Obviously we need quotas and white angst. Let's get some righteous indignation going here.)

Maybe owillis "got the joke" but he had to dig in the link to do it, as opposed to actually finding it in the thread. Saying something that's sure to cause controversy and then weaseling out of it by saying it was a joke is classic troll technique.
posted by rodii at 10:17 AM on June 25, 2001


Sigh. Rod, has it occurred to you that there might be groups where it is desirable to be underrepresented?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:38 PM on June 25, 2001


Too subtle by half, Steven, but, OK, I see your point. I apologize for the troll assumption.
posted by rodii at 5:02 PM on June 25, 2001


*bites bait*
It's desirable to be underrepresented in a group which is highly educated, literate, wealthy, and has access to technology?
posted by darukaru at 7:21 PM on June 25, 2001


It's desirable to be underrepresented in a group which is highly educated, literate, wealthy, and has access to technology?

No, it's desirable to be underrepresented in a group that is likely to decorate their apartment like the starship Enterprise.
posted by kindall at 7:54 PM on June 25, 2001


Furthermore, at least half of the people at tech companies are probably of Asian descent... So I don't see how minorities could possibly be underrepresented...
posted by gyc at 12:13 AM on June 26, 2001


well, so far I'm usually one of two blacks in the whole company. This is more a product of the black community being stupid and emphasizing the importance of athletics over academics than any sort of outward racism, im(less than)ho.
posted by owillis at 12:19 AM on June 26, 2001


gyc I hate to have to ask (in this thread of all places) -- you are joking right?
posted by sudama at 1:05 AM on June 26, 2001


Give it up, any amount of money isn't "rich" if you spend beyond your means. If you think 75k isn't rich its time to drive one of your SUVs outside of the gated community and take a look around.

Wow, I really stirred the pot with that one. SUVs? Gated Communities?

LOL
posted by glenwood at 10:11 AM on August 2, 2001


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