Speaking up on racism: Tim Cook just published an open letter on racism; here it is
The recent killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police, has sparked outrage across cities in the United States and countries around the world. Given the minority underrepresentation in high tech industry and the fact that less than 10% of blacks work in the tech industry, it is interesting to see many tech leaders talking about not just the killing, but also the inequalities between whites and blacks.
Companies including Apple, Google and Facebook have pledged to hire more diverse employees, but black tech employees say they continue to face racism in workplace. In addition, analyses by USA Today showed major tech companies employ far fewer women and underrepresented minorities than other industries, even in Silicon Valley. Black employees say that racism and discrimination have worsened.
On Monday, we told you about an internal memo Tim Cook sent app Apple employees about the killing of George Floyd. The memo comes after Apple moved to close some of its U.S. stores as protests turned violent over the weekend. In the memo, Cook talked about our criminal justice system, the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.
Now, Cook has published an open letter to Apple’s homepage on Thursday, titled “Speaking up on racism.” In the letter, Cook addresses the “senseless” death of George Floyd.” He echoed the same message in his Monday memo saying unequal treatment of Black Americans are deeply rooted discrimination” in the justice system, racial disparities in health care, and inequalities in childhood education. He also addresses the progress made thus far.
Here’s the full memo:
Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.
That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.
While our laws have changed, the reality is that their protections are still not universally applied. We’ve seen progress since the America I grew up in, but it is similarly true that communities of color continue to endure discrimination and trauma.
I have heard from so many that you feel afraid — afraid in your communities, afraid in your daily lives, and, most cruelly of all, afraid in your own skin. We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor, and life.
At Apple, our mission has been and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We’ve always drawn strength from diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone.
But we must do more. We commit to continuing our work to bring critical resources and technology to underserved school systems. We commit to continuing to fight the forces of environmental injustice — like climate change — which disproportionately harm Black communities and other communities of color. We commit to looking inward and pushing progress forward on inclusion and diversity, so that every great idea can be heard. And we’re donating to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, which challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration.
To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community — we see you. You matter and your lives matter.
This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege. George Floyd’s death is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim far higher than a “normal” future, and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice.
In the words of Martin Luther King, “Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.