Code2040’s Karla Monterroso on desegregating the tech industry

Welcome back to CTRL+T, the TechCrunch podcast that connects the tech to the human. On this episode, we talk about the beta release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system and some of the issues we have with the Memoji feature. We also discuss the fact that Microsoft improved its facial recognition tech, making it easier to identify darker skin tones. Oh great.

Finally, Karla Monterroso of Code2040 joined us in the studio to drop some pretty hard truths about diversity in tech. The CEO of Code2040, which aims to increase the representation of black and brown people in the industry, says that the tech workforce is segregated. In 2018. Think about that. And that often the burden to effect change from within a company is placed on those two or three — or one or two — black and Latinx folks.

“Managers are asking the brown people to be the tech Ruby Bridges and to come in and be full-throated in their opinions, but you are not setting up the safety mechanisms for those people to be able to do that safely,” Monterroso says. She added that there’s a lot of data that says people of color drop out in the second or third years of their tech careers because they’re often stepping into a hostile environment.

“You gotta be in this conversation thinking about risk and power,” Monterroso told us. “If I am a person and I am one or two black or Latinx people in this entire company… and I say, ‘hey this thing is wrong and it’s hurting me.’ …. It’s much riskier for that person because their economic security and their social security within their company is at stake.”

Click play below to hear the full interview. It’s great and you’ll learn some stuff. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? Find us on Apple PodcastsStitcherOvercastCastBox or whatever other podcast platform you can find.