Let Google Send You To Tech School, Because Otherwise You’ll Starve

antiquated technologyNoting a paucity of women and POC among their engineers, Uncle Google has decided to give us a boost.

Google is paying for three free months for any women and minorities interested in tech to expand their skills. While Google is also offering the same vouchers to the women in attendance at its annual I/O developers conference this week, the search giant has released an online application that’s available to women everywhere. Google says its available vouchers for women number in the “thousands.”

So, better odds than the #AmtrakResidency! Go ahead, ‘folders, apply and let us know what happens. Goodness knows, if you’re a woman or a POC, you’ll do better studying #STEM than moving to NYC to try to be an artist, according to the rabid attention paid to writers like Emily Gould, who have the temerity to publish books, and this sad, sobering analysis in HyperAllergic.

+ New York City’s population is 33% white non-Hispanic, but 74% of people in the city with arts degrees are white non-Hispanic and 74% of people who make a living as artists are white non-Hispanic.

+ New York City’s population is 23% black non-Hispanic, but only 6% of people in the city with arts degrees are black non-Hispanic, and only 7% of people who make a living as artists are black non-Hispanic. …

+ “Of the people who identified their primary occupation as artist in the 2010-2012 American Community Survey in New York City, 55% were male, even though only 42% of people with art degrees are men.” …

+ Asian artists are more likely to be rent burdened than their non-artist peers, for instance, and whereas 14.1% of black male artists live in poverty, only 6.5% of white male artists do. …

+ of all the people who reported having Studio Arts degrees, not a one of them makes a living as an artist (versus 22% of those with Music degrees). [emphasis added –ed.] Overall, only 15% of those with arts degrees in NYC are making their living as artists, and NYC artists’ median earnings are a depressingly meager $25,000. To put that in perspective: it won’t even pay for one year of art school.

Writing is no easier, especially for people of color. And the thing is, even if you do make it as an artist or writer, as Choire points out, you’ll get dismissed by Society as another girl yapping. The scorn Choire’s mocks is perfectly embodied by the headline-writers of Salon (“From Adelle Waldman to Emily Gould, why is it so hard to find the universal in this specific milieu?”) — even if Lydia Kiesling’s thoughtful essay, found immediately beneath that lede, finds plenty to identify with in the books mentioned, especially having to deal with being cash-poor:

“Friendship” is full of these details, and for people who can relate, they have a rueful, even tender quality.  I’ve never lived in New York, but like many women, I have worn mismatched blacks to an interview at a temp agency because I didn’t have a suit. I have cobbled together business-casual from a makeup-smeared selection of $11 H&M separates.  I have been menaced by multiline phones, and purchased insane grocery items I could ill afford. Like Bev, I have studied menus prior to dinners I know I won’t pay for … I know that, though these are books by women, they are all white women, all of a plugged-in writerly class. I suspect that the more books like this there are, the fewer books are promoted from other horizons. It shouldn’t be that way. But I also think that there is value, even excellence, even transcendence, to be had in familiar territory.

We can’t win! Only Charlie Sheen can, and people who work for Google. So let’s take Uncle Google up on its offer, learn to code, express ourselves if we must on the side, and then publish/show under assumed names. If it’s good enough for “Robert Galbraith” (aka J.K. Rowling), it should be good enough for us.



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