Two years ago this blogger, me, signed up for the chance to test or even purchase Google Glass. I figured that with Google owning YouTube, and with YouTubers like iJustine being able to make video blogs, it was a cinch I would land a pair.
That same year I was still smarting from the fact that Google+’s suggested users list was overwhelmingly white. I did some digging and learned, and blogged, that Google VP Bradley Horowitz was responsible for a set of names that seemed to think of every black person on it as male, an athlete, and a rapper.
This is part of what i wrote at Zennie62.com,and later at SFGate.com and SeattlePI.com:
The Google Suggested User List reads like the typical San Francisco Bay Area tech firm’s view of the World: most of the “interesting and famous people” are white, and if they’re black, they’re male rappers or athletes. Hello, Snoop Dog, Chamillionaire, 50 Cent, Dwight Howard, and Floyd Mayweather!
I guess black women just don’t exist. Or maybe Google has issues with the presentation of black women on the list? It’s certainly not because there are no notable black women using Google+ – the problem is Google doesn’t think they’re notable.
Something’s wrong, and it’s not with them, it’s with Google….
I don’t personally know Bradley Horowitz, the Google honcho who tweeted this mistake for the World to see, and is explaining his rationale for it. I did try to call him regarding some questions I had regarding the Blogger platform early last year, when I managed to track down his cell phone number because I wasn’t getting anywhere with the Blogger support staff at the time. I called once, got him. Brad said he would call me back, and never did so. I didn’t call him again; I just never forgot the episode.
When your face pops up in as many different areas as mine does, it’s fairly safe to say Brad knows damn well who I am. A lot of people at Google do. I’m the black guy folks come to hate: the one who directly tells you when you’re behavior’s just a left turn from the KKK. The one who’s always reminding you the culture can do better, and signalling when it performs well.
The message will come in that I’m calling people I don’t know names, like “racist.” No. Let me be clear for all: I’m giving a name to their actions, not them.
To the extent my blast angers anyone, well, don’t do it again. Ok.
Knock it off. Will ya? Can you please, stop?
After I wrote that, I was about 10 feet away from Mr. Horowitz at The 2012 Crunchies, the TechCrunch-produced awards event for the tech community. We were both exiting the room, when he turned and looked at me, but not only didn’t say a ward, seemed intent on getting away from me, as if I was into pursuing him, when I couldn’t give a flying fuck. I thought it was funny.
Well, fast forward to 2013 and Google Glass and not only am I still waiting for the chance to land my pair, I have to deal with Robert Scoble making over 6,000 photos with his pair and using it in ways that piss off Google, while this long-time YouTube Partner (me) never gets the chance to use them to make vlogs on the scene.
Then, I find out that, once again, African Americans are forgotten when it comes Google distributing Google Glass, and the person who’s involved in the program is Bradley Horowitz.
But this time, this year, Bradley Horowitz and Google hear the hue and cry and release a new promo featuring a black man using Google Glass. But guess what? He’s not an engineer, or a pilot, or a lawyer, or a social media consultant, or a video-blogger – he’s a DJ. Dude might as well be a rapper.
So, here we freaking go again, but with a twist: Google now getting Google Glass in the hands of a scant few black folks so they can say that Google’s OK because they have them, thus covering up the problem. The modern variation of the house-you-know-what scenario.
See, if someone black made something like Google Glass and gave it only to black people you’d hear about it all over the planet, even from some other black people calling that person racist. Why? Because, even though the maker of the wearable app would have a great raison d’etre for doing so, it’s just wrong to do.
It’s wrong to have hard-working black, long-time YouTube Partners out there like me, who post daily and went to places like the Democratic National Convention, Comic Con, and The Oscars not have Google Glass, but we have white guys like Nick Starr and Robert Scoble who do and readily violate public sentiment that says don’t have it on in, say, a public bathroom! Nothing against Robert at all, but really?
Here’s Scoble saying to me the whole Google Glass privacy issue is overblown:
Meanwhile, I as a YouTube Partner could not get away with that kind of behavior because to do so and have it result in a video on my Zennie62 Channel would be a violation of Google and YouTube terms of service.
What a mess. We have Google’s Horowitz and staff once again slow to see that blacks want and should have Google Glass too, the same folks giving the device to favored YouTuber Partners and celebrities (all white), then putting them in the hands of a black DJ or someone else black and male who looks like the DJ or another black male who plays basketball, after the public expresses that they’re tired of the racism, Starr and Scoble running amok with it and pissing media types off, and folks like me still on Google’s stupid-assed waiting list – waiting.
Two years later.
If Google took care of the YouTube Partners first and got Google Glass to them, this problem would not have existed.
One day, maybe Google will get its act together.