Google promotes diversity in portrayals of computer scientists in Hollywood

ByAnabel Munoz and Jose Mayorquin KABC logo
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Google promotes diversity in portrayals of computer scientists in Hollywood
The Google CS in Media team promotes diversity in portrayals of computer scientists in Hollywood and inspires youth to pursue careers in technology.

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. (KABC) -- A tech giant with a campus in Silicon Beach is also doing their part to bring more diversity to the tech and media industries. Through relationships with Hollywood and other content creators, Google finds creative ways to introduce fresh perspectives on technology inspiring diverse stories and characters in TV shows and digital platforms. They have worked with shows like Silicon Valley, Miles from Tomorrowland and the Powerpuff Girls.

"What we do is try and get computer science into mainstream media but then we also try to ensure that representations of computer scientists on screen are inclusive of women and people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, veterans, all underrepresented groups," said Daraiha Greene, Head of Multicultural Engagement in Google's C.S. in Media Team. "Usually they would have a white or Asian hacker dude with glasses, no personality, no friends, acne and you know that stereotype, and it's like well ask yourself, 'Why? Why does it have to be that person? Why not make them a woman? Why not make them a person of color?'"

On Freeform Network's "The Fosters," Google helped introduce a computer science storyline with one of the shows' Latina characters.

"One of the daughters, Mariana, she's played by Cierra Ramirez, when you first meet her you just see her as, you know, this brilliant, beautiful Latina in the show. She goes to high school. She has relationships. She's really into fashion. She's really fun and has great personality and for the most part, people wouldn't expect her to be a computer scientist. So we were able to weave that in and make it organic and "The Fosters" team continue that throughout," said Greene.

Google also supports the development of media initiatives and programming that encourage youth to pursue careers in technology and computer science. One of those initiatives is Technolochicas, a partnership with the National Center for Women in Information Technology, which airs 30-second public service announcements on Univison promoting careers in computer science and technology among Latinas. Technolochicas also hosts various workshops for Latina youth with coding activities and other technology workshops.

"The goal is that kids will see themselves and say 'I want to be like her. I know I can be like her.' You know, maybe one day they'll grow up and they'll want to come work for a Google or another tech company," said Greene. "When you have diverse perspectives in a room, it does increase your bottom line and it does help your products and it makes your products better."

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