by Ash Huang
Originally published: March 21, 2016
In a 2012 study at Indiana University–Bloomington, researchers found that the longer kids watched TV, the more their self-esteem dropped—with one exception: White boys actually gained confidence from their TV consumption. Girls’ and black boys’ self-confidence fell. It’s no wonder: When the people in power (in TV studios, but not just there) are still disproportionately white and male, a disproportionate share of interesting, successful, self-confident TV characters are likewise white and male.
That's a lesson that the tech industry would do well to learn. Optics and subtle cues matter. If kids absorb lessons from who's on TV, then the rest of us undoubtedly absorb messages from just about every app we touch. It's true that the tech industry needs hiring managers who are bullish on building diverse teams and CEOs who make that a top priority. But even at the few tech companies that have appointed executive-level diversity chiefs, those leaders are candid about the sluggish pace of progress and the hurdles that remain.