Google caught in racism storm after handing black attendees a notebook that made a joke about cotton
- The company admitted that the notebook was delivered this summer
- Google was not “aware” that the line appeared
- A company spokesperson blamed the third-party vendor for the blunder
- Read more: Leaked Google spreadsheet reveals black employees earn $20,000 less than whites
Attendees at the Google Summit received a notebook with a bizarre joke about cotton inside the front cover this summer, raising new questions about discrimination at the tech company.
Upon opening the notebook, those present saw the sentence, “I was just.” cotton At that moment, but I'm back to taking notes!' Much better!
When DailyMail.com inquired about the incident, a Google representative pointed the finger at a “third-party vendor.”
The incident occurred at the K&I Black Google Summit, held on August 15-16 — an event aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the AI community, as well as reinforcing Google's commitment to promoting equality in the broader tech industry.
The Google Notebooks came from a third-party supplier, according to a company spokesperson, and event organizers were not aware of this printing inside
The customizable laptop is being sold by several online retailers, and the joke seems to be a reference to the fact that its cover is made from recycled cotton fibres.
The front of the notebooks was inoffensive: an illustration of a sunrise, the title and date of the event, and the slogan “Seize This Moment.”
But references to cotton carry a strong racist undertone for many Americans, as enslaved Africans were forced to grow and harvest cotton on Southern plantations in the 19th century.
The cotton stays put Racist sarcasm till this day.
Moderators noted that someone at Google should have discovered this issue, which is a simple matter to avoid causing offence.
“It shows a sad disregard for black perspectives,” one Instagram commenter said.
The same type of customizable notebooks, made by JournalBook, are available from many online sellers
The reaction to the notebook was first reported by TechCrunch this week.
Commenters on social media noted that the incident was “a lack of consideration and respect, to say the least.”
The observers indicated that they failed to detect what should be a simple matter to avoid causing offence.
When DailyMail.com contacted Google to find out how this happened, a company spokesperson said: 'The notebooks were purchased from a third-party vendor and the planning team was unaware that the line had appeared.'
We have since learned that this is a standard line that the manufacturer has added around their recycled products.
“Our post-event surveys showed over 99% positive feedback from attendees about the summit, but we are reviewing our processes to avoid similar situations as we engage with vendors in the future.
“We understand that this line may appear insensitive and we apologize for any unintended offense caused.”
Anyone can purchase recycled cotton notebooks in bulk. But did someone at Google have to figure out what was wrong with theirs before they bought it?
Hawkins did not answer questions about whether the company has processes in place to vet language in event materials, nor about how the company plans to make things right with attendees.
The incident highlights concerns about the tech giant's efforts to address racial sensitivity in the workplace.
And Google's diversity, equity and inclusion issues aren't limited to the notebooks at any event.
Documents leaked in September showed that black employees earned an average of $20,000 less than their white counterparts.
Last year, a former Google employee accused the company of systemic racial bias.
April Curley, who was hired to help the company hire more black employees, said the company instead thwarted their career ambitions and maintained a “racially biased corporate culture” that favored white men.
(tags for translation)dailymail