Posts Tagged ‘Diversity’

Today, as I went to Google something, I was met with the Google Doodle below. It honours Emmy Noether who, I learned with one click, “was an influential German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics.”

Google doodle Emmy Noether.

So like millions of others today, I learned about another great white, European contribution to modern Western society. More broadly, I had the idea that white, Europeans are accomplished and valuable, reinforced.

This got me thinking about the digital divide and how few Doodles, if any, I’ve ever seen about non-white folks.

To check my assumption, I typed a query under Ms. Noether and found I wasn’t the only one thinking about this.

A February 2014, MailOnline article, Are Google’s doodles racist and sexist? discussed the campaign by the women’s group Spark to get Google to diversify its Doodles.

The team analysed Google Doodles from 2010-2013, and found that Google celebrated 445 individuals on its various homepages throughout the world. Nine were women of color, 54 were white women, 82 were men of color, and 275 were white men.

It called for Google to include all races and genders in its Doodles, “demanding that Google make a concerted effort to change such a blatant imbalance.”

“Google Doodles may seem lighthearted, especially when accompanied by quirky games and animation, but in reality they have emerged as a new manifestation of who we value as a society, a sign of who “matters.” Just like statues, stamps, and national holidays, you know that if someone is featured on Google’s homepage, they’ve done something important.”

Now, although I like Spark’s goal, I have a different reason to offer Google why they should take action: because the world needs all the diversity it can get to deal with the challenges facing it. We need people to think broadly about solutions to today’s complex problems. However, if Google reinforces the idea that only people who look like Emmy Noether and Albert Einstein are the sources of valuable insights, they are limiting the abilities of people, including their own employees, to think out of the white box.

Where my brown people at?

Author: Robin Browne

Whenever new communications channels emerge everyone rushes to use them to reach “the public”. Then, after a while, a few folks remind everyone that “the public” is pretty diverse – especially in Canada. Recognizing this is key to effectively marketing whatever you’re trying to sell.

This is especially true for the Government of Canada which has policies mandating that its marketing efforts reflect the diversity of the Canadian population.  So, in the age of social media, how do you ensure your social media marketing efforts are reaching all the Canadians they need to?

Well, having some studies showing where diverse segments of the Canadian population spend their time online would help. But if such studies exist they’re a pretty well kept secret because even the mighty Google could only turn up one 2007 study by the Parliament of Canada with this small reference:

New Canadians tend to use the Internet differently from those who are Canadian-born. They are more likely to use it to communicate with friends and family, particularly those back home. Indeed, in 2007 new Canadians were much more likely to make telephone calls over the Internet or to use instant messaging than were the Canadian-born.

The US is more advanced and may provide some insights in to what Canadian studies would find (or perhaps have found already). A 2010 study by BIGresearch found that:

  • Minorities (i.e. Asians, Hispanics and African-Americans) are more likely than Caucasians to be regular Facebook users (55.7 percent of Asians, 54.2 percent of Hispanics and 47.7 percent of African Americans use Facebook, compared to 43 percent of Caucasians).
  • Minority groups are more likely to regularly use Twitter. Overall, just 6.5 percent of those surveyed regularly use Twitter, but 11.4 percent of Hispanics and 16 percent of Asians did.

The study also found minority consumers (hey, it’s the US, if the study didn’t focus on consumers it probably wouldn’t have been funded) more likely than Caucasians to regularly research products and buy them online. And, not surprisingly, given these findings, it found that minority groups lead use of mobile technology for accessing the Internet.

So if anyone knows where Canadian brown folks are hanging out online, let me know: I need to talk to them.

ps. Thanks to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson for the BIGresearch study tip via episode #570 (that’s right, 570!) of their For Immediate Release podcast.