Image by Steve Eason

Against racism in the UK tech industry

As workers in tech and digital industries we feel the need to speak out about Frank Hester, boss of health technology firm The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) and described as a ‘computer programmer’ by The Guardian.

His widely-reported statement about Diane Abbott MP constitutes a textbook definition of racism. Investigations have revealed further examples of racism and misogyny. 

These comments, and his reported desire to see violence done to Ms Abbott, must be the subject of a criminal investigation. 

We send our solidarity to Diane Abbott. Whilst her position as a socialist and pioneer for the political representation of Black women in Britain may be unacceptable to some it is an inspiration to so many, many more of us.

We also send solidarity to our colleagues who are the object of Hester’s hatred. Some may even work for his firm, TPP, and to them we would say: if you are concerned about your treatment or safety please reach out to a trade union for support and advice.

The British Computer Society 2023 Diversity Report found that BAME representation in the IT sector is higher than in the workforce as a whole. Yet BAME tech workers are less likely to be in positions of responsibility than white counterparts. Black women are particularly under-represented. The BCS has also found that the gender gap in tech has stopped narrowing. We have to address the role that the prejudices of the most rich and powerful in the industry play in determining these outcomes. And the Government cannot be considered to be serious about the potential of UK tech whilst it is happy to take donations from bosses who make racist comments about the people who can realise this vision.

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