How does Invision's documentary "Design Disruptors" represent the design community when everyone featured is white?

2 years ago from , founder | product design

So if this documentary is about the smartest people at the smartest companies in the world, why does it mostly feature White men?

There aren't smart people of color at these companies who serve a design function?

Sure there are, but why don't we see their faces, know their names, learn about and come to understand their perspective?

Please be thoughtful, considerate and constructive in this thread. It's the least that can be asked regarding a topic that affects us all.

http://www.designdisruptors.com

183 comments

  • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    Why are basketball players 70% black?

    Why do females comprise 92% of nurses?

    Why are CS majors 80%+ male?

    Why do Asian Americans (on avg) earn more than the average american?

    Why do Jewish Americans (on avg) earn more than the average american?

    Why do Black Americans (on avg) earn less than the average american?

    Why are white americans ~70% of the tech workforce?

    These questions are hard, if not impossible, to answer precisely, a more fundamental question is: Why would you expect people from different people from cultures, different geographies, different histories all with entirely different inclinations all be the same?

    71 points
    • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      understood. non-white designers from other countries should be marginalized because of random pseudo-statistics about inequality in america.

      45 points
      • Mike WilsonMike Wilson, 2 years ago

        Except, all the numbers he presented aren't "generalizations." They are facts.

        Also, did you even visit the site? It's a documentary about design in Silicon Valley tech. Of course we are talking about America. Why would somebody making a documentary about California companies interview designers in Namibia?

        That's like saying you're pissed that no Japanese people were interviewed for a BBC Documentary on the Irish whiskey production.

        39 points
        • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, 2 years ago

          i'm sorry. i forgot silicon valley was exclusively white-american.

          though site doesn't mention that the documentary is restricted to silicon valley. in fact, it clearly states:

          IN DESIGN DISRUPTORS, YOU'LL MEET TOP DESIGNERS AT THE WORLD'S SMARTEST COMPANIES

          35 points
          • Matt WalkerMatt Walker, 2 years ago

            A lot of the world's smartest companies happen to be in SF.

            15 points
          • Mike WilsonMike Wilson, 2 years ago

            Look at the logos of all the companies featured in the doc. Overwhelmingly Silicon Valley.

            Also, SV isn't exclusively white American, but by large majority it is. I said this to the other dude and I'll say it to you, getting mad at a documentary is like getting mad at a mirror. The people you should be upset with are the hiring managers at the companies featured.

            15 points
            • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

              Maybe we should be mad at Invision, for choosing to feature companies that are perpetuating racism in our industry instead of ones trying to make a difference.

              11 points
              • Mike WilsonMike Wilson, 2 years ago

                A "companies that only hire designers based on demographicly proper race/gender/age statistics documentary?" I'm sure all you guys would be first in line to see that riveting content.

                6 points
                • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

                  No—a "smartest people at the smartest companies" documentary. Let's not pretend that there aren't designers worthy of attention at these companies who aren't cisgendered white men.

                  11 points
              • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, 2 years ago

                One most consider that racism is an act (conscious and subconscious). Companies do not commit or act upon racism, but people do.

                Further more - if you can't prove they did something based on a racial bias, you cannot prove racism. Yea, I'm that guy bringing up the legal ramifications of racism. Now, if you're saying they are acting in a potentially prejudice manner thats fine. But don't go running around throwing the word 'racism' around like its a fucking penny in a wishing well.

                4 points
                • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

                  There are no legal ramifications to institutional racism, except maybe things like affirmative action, indirectly.

                  0 points
                  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, 2 years ago

                    There actually is. It's called EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer). If you (as a potential candidate) can prove you were passed on due to a racial bias then yes, you can act on it.

                    And thats the real point that I'm making, you (generally speaking) cannot prove this is an act of racism based on a trailer. Oversight, maybe. Accurate portrayal of the current landscape in the documentaries vacuum, possibly. But racism? C'mon man. That's like assuming everyone with a criminal record (violent or non-violent) is an incredibly terrible person.

                    1 point
            • Chen YeChen Ye, 2 years ago

              Documentaries like these reinforce stereotypes if they portray the "TOP DESIGNERS AT THE WORLD'S SMARTEST COMPANIES" as being of only one gender and one race.

              Which is what kicks off the pipeline problem in the first place.

              These issues are self perpetuating if someone doesn't get annoyed by them.

              6 points
            • Kyle Bridges, 2 years ago

              Ha Ha getting mad at a mirror. Ha Ha so simple and so true.

              0 points
          • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

            Do you think it's a diversity issue that 70% of basketball players in the US are black? Silicon Valley has a lot of 20-35 year old white males, it doesn't mean it's designed that way by some conspiracy.

            11 points
            • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago

              It doesn't have to be a conspiracy to be wrong.

              11 points
            • Josh ApostolJosh Apostol, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

              Malevolent conspiracy and systemic inequity are two very different things. Presuming that the issue is a singular and cohesive intent to marginalize and exclude certain groups of people is just going to keep you from seeing that these inequalities are perpetuated by aspects of society that seem to us totally fundamental. These are aspects that we tend to take 'as is', things which seem simply to be truth now and always, and that are effectively invisible to us (almost like gravity). This is the problem with trying to address institutionalized forms of racism, sexism, etc., like the ones being discussed in this thread about the privilege white men experience in SF (but also obviously more broadly). The values being addressed as problematic are so deeply fundamental to how we conceptualize society and our identity that we often just don't even perceive them at all.

              The ideas we're talking about aren't simply 'in theory', they can be observed in virtually all aspects of social life. If you're interested, there's a wealth of academic writing which is meant to study and understand this kind of stuff, and it's seriously interesting to learn about. The goal of academic articles is not to judge, it's to understand the how and why, and they provide a lot of insight into the kinds of institutions and interests that shape values of society at large. I think that designers are particularly in a position which requires them to take responsibility for educating themselves on these kinds of things. We play a not-insignificant role in shaping the messages of our clients and employers and remaining ignorant about the ways in which our work has the capacity to perpetuate inequities in society or marginalize groups within our audience is simply not acceptable if we feel any kind of moral obligation to those we affect with our work.

              7 points
            • Irving TorresIrving Torres, 2 years ago

              98% of NBA Majority Owners were White in 2013 so you tell me. Let's look at the numbers off the courts.

              0 points
          • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, 2 years ago

            It seems to me that UI designers re-purposed the word "designer" to mean UI/UX designer and that graphic/industrial designers aren't graphic/industrial designers unless specified otherwise. So much on standing the shoulder's of the giants of the decades of knowledge from what are the industrial and graphic designers.

            I'm sure there are significant smart companies out there that practice good design that aren't in tech or where the design aspect is anything but UI design. This sort of appropiation of the word "design" and "(smart) company" just says a lot of how much we live in a bubble.

            A mostly-white representation isn't even a good representation of Silicon Valley, as far as I understand, with a large Asian population.

            8 points
            • Charles GedeonCharles Gedeon, 2 years ago

              I completely agree with you, except here it's a matter of looking at the source. Invision is a UI/UX testing platform and as such they're spinning a story that will make their story look as relevant to them as possible.

              2 points
        • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

          These are facts without context. Let's pick one apart:

          Why are white americans ~70% of the tech workforce?

          One reason might be that employers place a high value on employee referrals, and 75% of whites have no people of color in their social networks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/)

          One reason might be that whites are 50% more likely to receive callbacks for job interviews, and having a white-sounding name is as valuable as an additional eight years of experience (http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html)

          One reason might be that there is a lack of people of color invited to speak at conferences, promoted to executive positions (even relative to their numbers in the industry in general), and showcased in videos such as this one.

          Numbers don't lie, but only if you don't cherry-pick them.

          25 points
        • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago

          It would be pretty insane to make a documentary about whiskey and not even mention Yamazaki.

          3 points
        • Kyle Bridges, 2 years ago

          Your comment is right on the money. Are we now having to have affirmative action in our articles now?

          0 points
    • Felix Bouleau, 2 years ago

      I don't think that OP was questioning actual real-life ratios, but rather why this specific representation (documentary) doesn't fairly reflect reality.

      (Reality, in this case, being that not all designers are white).

      I think that both of you raise very important questions, and I agree that the answer/solution is non-trivial.

      10 points
      • Chris SlowikChris Slowik, 2 years ago

        But.. it's not about "designers" or "the community" in general. It's a very focused documentary on a specific type of design and the lead designers at some very successful silicon valley type companies.

        10 points
      • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

        Who thinks all designers on the planet are white? And why is it an issue if most designers in Silicon Valley are white? Is it an issue that most software designers in Japan are Japanese? Is that a diversity problem?

        10 points
        • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          Why is it an issue if one race is in a position of economic power in a country the consists of many races?

          How is that even a question?

          10 points
          • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

            You evaded the actual question. A rhetorical question is not an answer. Try again.

            8 points
            • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago

              It is an issue if one race is in a position of economic power in a country the consists of many races.

              That is inequality.

              7 points
          • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

            This isn't about "one race" in a position of economic power. My question was: is it a diversity issue that most software designers in Japan are Japanese?

            1 point
            • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

              Racially, Japan is much less diverse than America, so we might expect to see many more Japanese designers relative to a documentary focused on other places. (We might still see more local prejudices, though, if—for example—people from a certain region of Japan were excluded).

              Let's stay focused on the trailer, though: people of color are completely absent, which is not representative of the design community, even in Silicon Valley. And if we pull back to the design community, people of color are still underrepresented compared to the general population.

              1 point
        • Elliott PayneElliott Payne, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          If I'm watching a documentary about the software development scene in Japan, I think it is fair to expect about 98.5% of the voices represented to be Japanese.

          https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=ethnic%20makeup%20of%20japan

          If I'm watching a documentary about design companies based in the US, I think it's fair to expect to see ~75% white representation and ~ 13% black representation.

          https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=ethnic+makeup+of+america

          The most generous thing I can say about your comment is that it displays a shocking amount of ignorance on your part.

          7 points
          • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

            Replace that with companies based in Silicon Valley, and then give me the split.

            2 points
    • , 2 years ago

      Dylan, you actually nail it but, from the underside of the table. Now the spike is protruding.

      5 points
      • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

        Ironic, it seems to me you're the one evading the question. Why do you expect every human to be the same? Name one industry in the history of humanity where this is an 'even distribution'.

        4 points
        • Josh OlsenJosh Olsen, 2 years ago

          Looking backwards in time at a world history rife with the oppression and exclusion on non-white males doesn't justify a lack of diversity within any given field today - it shines a spotlight exactly the issues you're trying to say aren't issues.

          2 points
    • , 2 years ago

      Hmm, nah. Your question does a great job at skirting around the very issue that your prior comment serves to actually point out.

      6 points
    • Mitch BartlettMitch Bartlett, 2 years ago

      Bingo.

      2 points
    • Josiah TullisJosiah Tullis, 2 years ago

      This is a great point, but I took way too long trying to figure out what that last sentence even says.

      1 point
    • Osandi Sekoú, 2 years ago

      Proof that DN needs a down vote button STAT!

      0 points
  • Mahdi Al-FarraMahdi Al-Farra, 2 years ago

    Be like bill

    56 points
    • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

      Bill is on the Internet.

      Bill sees something that perpetuates structural discrimination in an industry he belongs to.

      Bill moves on.

      Bill makes a known problem worse by standing by and not saying or doing anything.

      Don't be like Bill.

      60 points
      • Mahdi Al-FarraMahdi Al-Farra, 2 years ago

        I think we should watch the video to learn from these people, not to be picky about the race/color of people who were chosen to be in the video.

        And If you think is a racist video and doesn't represents the design community then go ahead and make one that represents you.

        13 points
        • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

          You can say the same thing about speakers at conferences, recipients of awards, executives at companies, normal employees at companies… etc. The whitewashing of the tech industry IS racist, and this video is both symptomatic of that and helps to perpetuate it.

          22 points
          • Mahdi Al-FarraMahdi Al-Farra, 2 years ago

            Still, I don't find it racist at all.

            The makers of the video probably don't have a lot from friends from other races, which is okay. I believe that they'd feature anyone good without caring about their race.

            Don't be a hater, I know some people are racist but I don't think these people are at all.

            13 points
            • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 2 years ago

              You are mistaking active racism and passive unconscious racism.

              The people who made the video clearly do not think less or poorly of other races, but that does not make them incapable of being racist through ignorance or apathy.

              It is not a great evil, but neither is it something that should be ignored.

              25 points
              • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

                "Passive unconscious racism."

                That isn't even possible and it shows that you clearly don't understand what racism means.

                If someone unconsciously includes only one demographic, they are at worse apathetic to certain demographic difficulties, but probably just ignorant. As you admit. Those are problems, but they are distinct from racism.

                Coming up with new oxymorons does not help anyone.

                3 points
                • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 2 years ago

                  Chill dude, you are sounding like the people who claim you can't be racist against white people or anyone who is a majority. Racism is a very broad term that simply means prejudice or selection against a race. That's it. If you want to call it unconscious prejudice be my guest, your semantic disagreement doesn't change my actual point or logic. The way I see it, racism comes in many flavors, some of which are unintentional.

                  I was simply clarifying that you can call something racist without accusing the people who created it of being actively against a particular race themselves. If you want to address anything, address that point, not a pointless semantic difference.

                  2 points
                  • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

                    That is not what racism means, "dude." Let's recognize that words have definitions, and no, they are not pointless semantics. Especially when you go around using the very charged label of racism. Prejudice and racism are two separate things.

                    Racism is the specific idea that there are inherent and meaningful differences among different racial demographics, almost always bundled with the idea that a certain demographic is superior to another.

                    Is that what the creators at Invision believe? I highly doubt it. Whatever they are, they are not racist, unconsciously or otherwise.

                    4 points
                    • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

                      First line in Mirriam-Webster's definition of racism:

                      poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race

                      Intent is sufficient but not necessary. I think part of the problem is that "racism" is such a loaded term that when someone hears it, they automatically get defensive, as if they're being called bad people. They're not. They might have discriminated against a group of people accidentally, but if they recognize that and try to be more aware then it doesn't have to reflect on them as a person.

                      How should we describe our system of systematic discrimination against people based on their race if not racist?

                      3 points
                      • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

                        Invision is not treating non-white people poorly because of their race. The very definition of racism is active. This is not a difficult concept.

                        In fact, since you you seem to like Merriam-Webster, here is their full definition:

                        "A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

                        Systematic discrimination could, in some cases, also be described as systematic thoughtlessness or apathy. For example, someone is white, and they live in a neighborhood with mostly white people, and their coworkers are mostly or all white. They might create a product that showcases white people out of pure thoughtlessness to include other demographics.

                        It is not necessarily racism or racial discrimination.

                        2 points
                        • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

                          And the bullet point under that:

                          racial prejudice or discrimination

                          These definitions are ORs, not ANDs, so they don't all have to apply. The example that you just described—a white person, able to move to a mostly-white neighborhood, with a social network of almost entirely white people, who creates a product that excludes people of color—exactly describes institutional racism.

                          If someone is discriminated against on account of their race, it's racism. There doesn't need to be any intent.

                          (And if you want a more academic definition rather than a dictionary one, racism is a race in power institutionalizing their prejudice against other races).

                          2 points
                    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 2 years ago

                      I am not claiming the people at Invision believe that. I am saying the documentary by failing to depict the range of people who are design disruptors can convey a racist conception of reality. Thus it is not intentional racism, but racism can result from it. A young designer who does not look like one of those disruptors can be discouraged, or a person can have their racial stereotypes and assumptions about designers reenforced.

                      5 points
            • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

              How people of color are excluded from the tech industry:

              1. White people occupy most of the tech industry.

              2. Employers place a high value on referrals from employees' social networks

              3. 75% of whites have entirely white social networks (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/)

              4. White people occupy most of the technology industry.

              There might not be any active malicious intent, but it is racism, and we shouldn't hesitate to call it out.

              14 points
              • Mahdi Al-FarraMahdi Al-Farra, 2 years ago

                These are really good points, but still if people from different races think this is a problem they should act to that by doing similar stuff that supports their cause, not by complaining about others doing stuff with one race! If you don't like something do something to change it instead of complaining on how unfair/racist it is.

                4 points
                • Drew AlbinsonDrew Albinson, 2 years ago

                  Raising awareness and combating ignorance even in the form of a complaint can lead towards solutions when constructive. And again, those who haven't been given a fair voice such as underrepresented minority individuals don't become empowered by ignoring their underrepresentation/misrepresentation. Yeah, in a perfect world we wouldn't have injustices worth complaining about, but here we are.

                  8 points
                • Elliott PayneElliott Payne, 2 years ago

                  if people from different races think this is a problem they should act to that by doing similar stuff that supports their cause

                  OK, new game plan**

                  • I'll just call up my uncle who did really well in the telecom boom of the 70's to get some seed funding
                  • Start a design led company and CRUSH
                  • Go IPO
                  • Fund all my college friends' companies
                  • Those CRUSH
                  • Find a documentary crew to make a film about it

                  ** Not a real scenario

                  4 points
              • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

                That is not evidence of discrimination.

                1 point
          • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

            Where is the evidence for this racism? This is not a foregone conclusion, it's an open ended question.

            2 points
      • Drew BeckDrew Beck, 2 years ago

        YES. A+

        3 points
      • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

        Bill looks for social injustice everywhere, even where there is none.

        Don't be like Bill.

        7 points
        • Osandi Sekoú, 2 years ago

          You can almost calculate your replies down this thread. Useless to creating change and void of any real accountability.

          8 points
        • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

          75% of whites have no people of color in their social networks. Having a white-sounding name gets you 50% more callbacks to job applications; it's equal to eight years of experience. People of color occupy fewer leadership positions relative to their numbers in the general workforce.

          The overwhelming majority of the tech industry is white, and it's because of racism. How is there no social injustice?

          8 points
          • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

            No, it's not because of racism, but please do continue blaming every aspect of society on racism.

            2 points
      • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

        There's no evidence whatsoever of 'structural discrimination'. Diversity is not a numerical concept.

        2 points
    • Geoff YuenGeoff Yuen, 2 years ago

      The amount of jpeg artifacting on this image is offensive!

      13 points
  • Samantha GSamantha G, 2 years ago

    ITT: white people being so uncomfortable with a discussion of racial exclusion that they'd rather pretend it doesn't exist

    36 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      Haha seriously, just because the majority of designers you know are white doesn't mean that has to be what is represented in a documentary. Documentaries can be both reflections of reality as well as influences upon it, suggesting a way things should or could be.

      Although to be fair reading through these comments and elsewhere on the internet I will point out that there are (assumedly) non-white people who are agreeing with them (the people saying there is no issue here).

      8 points
      • Osandi Sekoú, 2 years ago

        White doesn't necessarily mean skin, mate. It's White cultural normalcy that one may likely adopt due to White supremacist beliefs. That "White" is the default. South Africa is a perfect example of where being a Black American is looked down upon by Africans-who learned from their very oppressor that dark skin just isn't good enough.

        0 points
    • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

      Where is your evidence? Diversity it not a numerical concept.

      5 points
  • Brent RiddellBrent Riddell, 2 years ago

    Also out of the 13 white people shown in the trailer, only 2 were women ... there is a lot more diversity in design thats not being represented here :/

    34 points
    • Mike WilsonMike Wilson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      Please cite your source proving design departments in the companies featured aren't overwhelmingly male.

      Getting mad at a documentary is like getting mad at a mirror.

      16 points
    • , 2 years ago

      Agree.

      3 points
  • Jacques Dupoux, 2 years ago

    I think it’s a fair question to ask. I haven’t seen the documentary but I’m curious to see the range of people being represented. I know as a young designer it’s always rewarding, and inspiring to see people like you in places that were once considered unachievable. It also acts as a strong signal that, yes, there is a space for you in this community.

    Osandi’s question is tough question to ask in a space that is dominated by whites. Especially when your part of the people being under represented in the field, and risk being ostracized from the community that you believe you are a part of. Those fears are very real, and do happen. Some of the comments in this forum show why that question isn’t asked so often.

    We have to remember the tech / design space accounts for a very low percentage of blacks + latinx’s. Claiming ‘conspiracy’ (which no one has claimed) is an easy way to disregard that there are real policies and actions at play that help keep this number low. Among them the practice of ‘wanting to work with someone you can hangout with’ as a hiring principle; lack of inside connections, inability to afford to take unpaid internships to help propel a career; these are real concerns that help contribute to our low numbers.

    What’s more trouble is saying it doesn’t exist, especially when it clearly does. The numbers show it.

    Asking for an awareness and representation shouldn’t be ridiculed. As designers we talk about the power empathy has in our process. We should try using empathy outside our design process as well.

    32 points
  • David Malpass, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    Hey awesome people, David from InVision here,

    Sorry for the slow response, at an event today and just catching up. By no means am I aiming to stop the great conversations here because they're incredibly important ones that should be had (it's clear by the passion in this thread)!

    I just want to make sure you know that we are also VERY aware and sensitive of this. Without too many spoilers, the importance of diversity in the success of a design team / design process keeps coming up and is actually one of the recurring themes that we'll be discussing in depth in the full-length film.

    The trailer was cut a while back and the good news is that we're actually STILL filming (at about 45 people so far!). Although the aim of the film is not to primarily discuss diversity and tech, we've worked hard to make sure the full-length film highlights a diverse group of people.

    A big challenge with any film is getting access to really busy peoples' time, so please, please reach out to me at davidmalpass[at]invisionapp[dot]com if you have a warm intro to someone you think would be great in the film. We still have some gaps in the story!

    (P.s. Thanks @Maurice Cherry for the suggestions if you have any contact info I would love intros!)

    29 points
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

      Glad to help, David.

      3 points
    • Randall MorrisRandall Morris, 2 years ago

      While we're shouting at each other - this is how you build consensus.

      These board-posts remind me of 'design by committee';"Tell Susan to tell John that Brian told Jane about Jamaal's idea and that Bob greenlit it with Edith's backing"

      Meanwhile David from InVision got on the board, addressed the issue - took worthwhile suggestions from people like Maurice and the topic seems to be settled.

      Does it solve the issue of systemic racism? No. Should this documentary be held up to do that? Again, no. Can we see value (proliferation of design thinking to bring value to business) in something that we maybe find questionable (why all the white guys?): Yes.

      4 points
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, 2 years ago

      This should be pinned on top.

      0 points
    • , 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      "[W]e've worked hard to make sure the full-length film highlights a diverse group of people."

      But then goes as far to say

      "[P]lease reach out to me at davidmalpass[at]invisionapp[dot]com if you have a warm intro to someone you think would be great in the film. We still have some gaps in the story!"

      Mmm, okay. Sure. Right. Nah.

      Why is it our job to make your documentary inclusive? Why are we doing leg work for you?

      That's YOUR job. That's what YOU get paid to do.

      2 points
      • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

        To be fair, just because he asked (and I did provide names) doesn't mean there will actually be any follow-up on InVision's end. That's totally on them, and we'll know what the result is when the final film (or another trailer) rolls out.

        2 points
        • David Malpass, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          Sorry for the delay, just to follow up here..

          The reality of shooting a documentary is that you have MUCH less control over the scheduling of your subjects (not a hired cast) so you often end up cutting the trailer out of the first few people you shoot. As luck would have it, ours just ended up being a bit whiter than the film itself.

          Here are some quick stats from the actual film:

          People you see in trailer: 13

          People in actual movie: 51

          Male/Female: 34/17

          White/Non-White: 32/19

          3 points
  • Gerald LlorenceGerald Llorence, 2 years ago

    It's frustrating when something that looks this great doesn't go the extra mile to find a more diverse group of people to interview. Even on a male to female ratio it is bad. It's not like the diversity is hiding anywhere, they could have found it if they actually looked.

    25 points
    • , 2 years ago

      I concur and that is the point of asking "How...when?"

      It's 2015, man and Invision is painting a picture that never really existed of America, and not holistic of the design industry.

      10 points
    • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

      Why would diversity matter? Their ethnic background or gender has nothing to do with what they are saying. They didn't choose to be white, nor did they choose to be male. Should they actively say no to work because they are white males, for the greater good of diversity?

      Why should the makers of the documentary spend extra time and money on looking for diversity, what is the actual benefit? They're not saying all designers are white, nor do they insinuate it. And frankly I don't think they care about what skin colour these people have.

      16 points
      • Drew AlbinsonDrew Albinson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

        The benefit is that we end up with a design community which reflects the makeup of the real national/global community which includes women (and other non-cisgender identity) and people of color. If these individuals are not represented (or empowered to reach the positions in which they may represent themselves) how are they supposed to feel like this industry values, respects, or is safe for them? Beyond the ethics here, focusing on effective design (and especially UX design)'s need for empathy and understanding user contexts, race and gender cannot and should not be underrepresented within the design sphere if we want to create experiences which are effective and inclusive. If one designs something which caters towards white males because the designer was a white male and isn't aware of their own ignorance or exposed to other kinds of individuals in the design community, the product will provide an advantage towards white males which perpetuates longstanding inequality.

        16 points
      • , 2 years ago

        "We have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.” -Bell Hooks

        9 points
        • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          "[I'm] sitting beside an anonymous white male that [I] long to murder" - Bell Hooks

          2 points
          • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

            Yes, let's disregard valid points people have just because they happen to say something stupid as well!

            1 point
            • John LeschinskiJohn Leschinski, 2 years ago

              Hitler was an alright painter.

              1 point
            • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

              That's just it. A statement isn't automatically a valid point because you put quote marks around it.

              Especially when the person who thinks that there's an "imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture," is an extreme racist herself. I'm pretty sure you don't take what other racists have to say about race relations very seriously, so I don't see what is different in this situation. Hooks has a bias far beyond what is reasonably healthy.

              So no, I don't think Hooks' statement is valid. It is hyperbolical lunacy.

              0 points
              • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

                No one is agreeing that we have to critique white supremacist patriarchy because it has quotation marks around it. People are agreeing with it because it's true.

                0 points
          • , 2 years ago

            My quote was valid. This one is not. But hey, you're interested in proving another point (the author's credibility).

            I am not.

            1 point
      • Elliott PayneElliott Payne, 2 years ago

        If you only have white men designing things that are supposed to be all people, you end up with things like... in just one example... wallets designed to look like a gun holster.

        https://www.etsy.com/listing/88659431/vice-holster-walletcell-black?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=holster%20wallet&ref=sr_gallery_13

        I don't know what you are, but I'm pretty sure you're not a black man in America. And it turns out, you can get killed by the cops just for existing, let alone reaching into your wallet looking for a credit card.

        I'm honestly kind of surprised I have to spell this out to someone on a design forum (empathy, etc. etc.)

        10 points
  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    So what's the perfect black/asian/latino/white/etc. ratio that properly "represents the community"? What's more, if the industry is made up mostly of white males, wouldn't "representing the community" mean featuring even less minorities? And when did Invision even claim to be representing the community in the first place?

    This is a serious and important matter, but this seems like a very simplistic way to approach it…

    24 points
    • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago

      The ratio should be equal to the population.

      0 points
      • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

        Name one profession in the history of humanity where this has existed.

        4 points
        • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          Parenting.

          is that a vague and simplistic enough answer for your vague and simplistic question?

          I mean if we can't cite examples of perfect egalitarian hiring practices in the past then it's a bit silly to expect we could have a less racist civilisation in the future right?

          Gawd imagine if anyone 100 years ago bothered to try and change racist attitudes? What a waste of time that would have been!

          4 points
          • Dylan Sowell, 2 years ago

            Parenting isn't a profession. And there certainly is not an 'equal representation'.

            I mean if we can't cite examples of perfect egalitarian hiring practices in the past then it's a bit silly to expect we could have a less racist civilisation in the future right?

            Why do you jump to racism as the reason that a particular society isn't distributed across a particular industry? I'll go back to the basketball example, blacks are 13% of the population, yet are 70% of basketball layers. Is there racism going on here?

            3 points
            • KeVon TicerKeVon Ticer, 2 years ago

              Probably. I'm sure non-black basketball players face adversity getting into and succeeding in the field because they don't fit the common perceptions of what a basketball player looks like. They probably have fewer opportunities for mentorship early in their career, have to constantly deal with overcoming stereotypes and being recognized for their individual talents, and probably struggle to assimilate into a culture they might not have grown up being a part of. This all probably adds up to some deserving non-black players not making it professionally for unfair reasons. And it's valid to address that too.

              Also, generally, the line of logic that "other things are unfair, so it's fine that this thing is unfair too" doesn't help anyone. No one is jumping to racism. Structural racism in hiring practices is widely studied and reported upon. And it's a very easy Google search to learn more.

              7 points
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

      There is no perfect ratio.

      5 points
    • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, 2 years ago

      There's probably not a perfect ratio, and imo the point is to represent diversity rather than to achieve a perfect reflection of actual stats. The lack of a formula that's impervious to disagreement isn't a reason to give up on being aware and representative of diversity. I know some might always pick at the stats, but any other ratio than 1:0 is a step in the right direction.

      6 points
  • Jared KrauseJared Krause, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    EVERYTHING IS RACIST!!

    14 points
    • Sjors TimmerSjors Timmer, 2 years ago

      It probably is, but we are designers, we can examine the world, see what is not working and change it.

      9 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

    Some of these comments...my word. Like my mama always says, "a hit dog will holler."

    12 points
  • Mike WilsonMike Wilson, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    TL;DR for anyone coming to this thread for the first time:

    The overwhelmingly white male audience of DN gets upset after seeing a documentary depict their overwhelmingly white male-ness.

    Miraculously, not a single person complains about scroll jacking on the linked site.

    11 points
  • Justin S., 2 years ago

    Possibly the dumbest thing I've read in a while. First, you're judging a trailer without knowing it's actual contents. Second, these silicon valley guys didn't just show up on the scene. They're men and women who've been sold out to the startup lifestyle since it's conception (80's, 90's early 2000's). I think with everything shifting toward worshipping "the next startup success" story, we'll see lots more diversity. Give it time, buddy. Not everything is a racist conspiracy.

    11 points
    • Mario MontoyaMario Montoya, 2 years ago

      What about this was dumb?

      2 points
      • Justin S., 2 years ago

        Think what I said was pretty self-explanatory. A.) Don't judge a documentary by it's trailer B.) Don't judge the diversity of a relatively new phenomenon; e.g., Startups. There was zero diversity in Hollywood for many years. Just takes time through popularity.

        6 points
        • Mario MontoyaMario Montoya, 2 years ago

          It's just so dismissive and heartbreaking to see designers say that we should just wait and remain silent till diversity magically happens.

          12 points
          • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

            Agreed, Mario. It's heartbreaking, but sadly, not surprising.

            4 points
          • Justin S., 2 years ago

            I think it's racist to hire someone for their race and not their talent and experience.

            8 points
            • Mario MontoyaMario Montoya, 2 years ago

              Really?

              7 points
            • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago

              It definitely is, but unfortunately this is already happening. White people are 50% more likely to get called back for an interview—in fact just having a white-sounding name is as valuable as 8 additional years of experience. Given that this isn't going to just go away, the best way anyone's come up with to fight it is making a special effort to hire people of color. Can you think of a better way?

              2 points
        • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

          Startups are not a new phenomenon.

          3 points
          • Justin S., 2 years ago

            Startups are absolutely a new phenomenon. To say otherwise is pure ignorance. If you were born in the 80's, your parents nor your grandparents ever worked for companies that sprung out of nowhere based on a creative idea, disrupted the market and got seed funding. I work for a global startup and we have tons of diversity. Kids in high school are starting to get inspired and it's becoming more and more apart of our culture. Think you guys are just fixated on making it more than it is. Unless you can prove an intentional slight you're just feigning lazy activism.

            2 points
            • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

              Why are you so angry?

              1 point
              • Justin S., 2 years ago

                Duh... It's because I'm white. All this energy conspiring to keep people down will wear you out after a while.

                1 point
                • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

                  smh

                  4 points
                • Jon LJon L, 2 years ago

                  Thats not funny man.

                  4 points
                  • Justin S., 2 years ago

                    Ummm... It's not supposed to be funny, it's supposed to be facetious. I have an opinion therefore "I'm an angry white guy." Just a cheap way of shutting down conversations.

                    I gave a lot of thoughtful input... No one was game. Don't think any of you are half as serious about these issues as you think you are.

                    2 points
                    • Jon LJon L, 2 years ago

                      I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean by that.

                      You had some 'thoughtful input' and then gave up in a cheap fashion? And then you turn around and say that no one is serious?

                      It must be nice to be able to give up on something that easily, thats not really a privilege that I've been afforded.

                      2 points
                      • Justin S., 2 years ago

                        Nice... You found a way to sneak in white privilege. Bravo... Took all of 2 interactions.

                        2 points
                        • Casey ZumwaltCasey Zumwalt, 2 years ago

                          I think it's more impressive that it took you absolutely zero "interactions" and/or attempts at thoughtful discussion to decide that the issue at hand is without merit. Congrats!

                          1 point
                          • Justin S., 2 years ago

                            I can't help that no one wanted to interact with the points I made... Social justice police have a tough time going off script.

                            You guys are on a witch hunt because a trailer of a documentary without actually watching the documentary. I hardly feel like the unreasonable one here.

                            1 point
                            • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

                              Why did you change your name from "Justin Meyers" to "Justin S."?

                              4 points
                              • Justin S., 2 years ago

                                If I told you it would cease to be a conspiracy and you would have nothing else to get excited about.

                                0 points
  • Kiko SeizKiko Seiz, 2 years ago

    Honest question, who would you chose to bring to the table?

    I think Ije Nwokorie, CEO of Wolff Olins, would be an interesting shout.

    10 points
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

      If we're only going off of the criteria of designers at top companies (according to the Design Disruptors website):

      • Maurice Woods (Yahoo!)
      • Catt Small (Soundcloud)
      • Tory Hargro (Facebook)
      • Leon Lawrence III (Gannett)
      • Dee Speed (Google)
      • Arem Duplessis (Apple)
      • Nicole Gregory (Facebook)
      • Michelle Langston (Automattic)

      That's just who I could think of off the top of my head.

      8 points
      • David Malpass, 2 years ago

        Hey Maurice, do you think you'd be open to giving me an intro? If so pls email me @ davidmalpass[at]invisionapp[dot]com. Thank you!

        2 points
        • Osandi Sekoú, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

          Why not hire someone to do the work?

          You see, the documentary is one thing, but if Invision (and other company leadership) thinks that inclusion is important, then shouldn't you have people in positions like Maurice who can influence these sorts of decisions within the org; especially in an executive seat?

          That's how it works, man. THAT's the answer to the greater issue the question raises. And only a few people here seem to get that.

          2 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, 2 years ago

    Is the insinuation here that it's a conspiracy among white people to make documentaries that intentionally discriminate non-whites? There doesn't have to be an underlying structural deception to everything. I was just at Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in London and the vast majority of participants where white young males. This does not mean that Microsoft are discriminating anyone.

    9 points
    • Corin EdwardsCorin Edwards, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      There is no insinuation that there is a conspiracy.

      I guess if there's no arch villain behind it all then there's no point in trying to stop excluding people from an industry?

      8 points
  • Ghaida ZahranGhaida Zahran, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    I came here to say here come the barrage of Angry Internet People™ crying "make your own movie" but saw that it had already happened.

    I see the lack of minorities as a problem as well, and I think InVision could have done a better job of finding design leaders who aren't white. I see this as a bigger problem than this documentary: Why is it that most design leaders at large tech companies white? What is being done to address the issue of the lack of diversity in design and tech leadership?

    8 points
    • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

      What is being done to address the issue of the lack of diversity in design and tech leadership?

      There are dozens of organizations out that are addressing the lack of diversity in the tech and communities (Black Girls Code, All Star Code, CODE2040, AIGA's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, etc.) None of these explicitly address leadership, I think, but they do speak to the problems of diversity and inclusion as a whole in both communities.

      In terms of media, there's Blacks in Technology, devLatino, Revision Path, CodeNewbie, and many other podcasts which speak to underrepresented groups in the tech and design communities.

      9 points
      • Ghaida ZahranGhaida Zahran, 2 years ago

        Yep, there are a lot of efforts to get more diversity among individual contributors. It seems little is done to address the problem on the leadership side.

        1 point
        • , 2 years ago

          That and the VC side...

          I think it's an extra incentive for me to not only succeed as my company's founder, but knowing there's a larger problem of diverse representation in an executive role-to do my best to include people of a range of ethnicities, gender (e.g. bi, gay, trans, etc.), sexual preference (which is none of my business), and disciplines.

          Easy on paper, but you've got to start thinking this way early so that when you are able to hire, you've got a head start on playing a part to shift the paradigm.

          1 point
  • Account deleted 2 years ago

    Why are they all product designers? There is a whole lot of disruption happening outside of product.

    8 points
  • John PJohn P, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    Not to mention every single one of them represent the design status quo… there is nothing disruptive about any of those companies at this current time.

    Yet more painfully dull Valley/SanFran monoculture

    8 points
  • Chris SlowikChris Slowik, 2 years ago

    This documentary isn't about "the design community.. read the synopsis. I'm interested to hear what all these people have to say, but it's not because they're white or just because they're designers. It's because of their positions and influence and the success of the companies they work at.

    OP - Do you know of any non-white designers who should have been featured? Are you just raising the question to be contrarian, or do you think there are people who have been overlooked who shouldn't have been? Offering your suggestions would be a much more constructive comment, and I think would have started a better discussion.

    7 points
    • , 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      Hey Chris,

      I asked the question and I read your comment. I think the question is a sensitive one that some have taken rather personally. There are a lot of designers who could have been featured, but I can't say why they aren't. Is it my job to put them into a list of prospects AFTER the fact? Nah, it's not my doc, but maybe there should be one that represents those who aren't white? Maybe someone's on that mission already.

      I do think that the question does reflect much of what American and a world society is comfortable with-White people in executive and leadership roles (And that's with a Black President of the United States).

      And, thanks for your suggestion. But, I think the question was fair, straight forward, didn't assume or promote bias. It's just the obvious and was 'step one' to having any sort of dialogue around race and inclusion in technology.

      I would oblige some of those who are upset to meet others in their company who are Black or Latino-male or female-and simply ask them what their experience is like in a predominantly White male industry (that's if tech is your lane and you should happen to be in a place LIKE Silicon Valley).

      This way you can hear first hand what it is like for POC to work in a mostly white male industry. Simple, right? I mean, most of the folk here who are designers should be comfortable interviewing people. And hey, if you haven't engaged someone on this level of interest, then maybe this question served to encourage inclusion, dialogue and a basis for creating more representation by POC?

      What I don't think is a good idea is to sit behind a computer and pretend that there isn't an inclusion problem-as others love to reference demographic data of other industries-I think that's a cop out and it doesn't really port itself equitably in the same context.

      Thank you for the respectful question and ask. It was certainly worth the time to reply and I hope it inspires more healthy dialogue on the issue of inclusion.

      16 points
      • Drew AlbinsonDrew Albinson, 2 years ago

        Yes. The burden of solving for or "proving" discrimination shouldn't always be placed upon minority groups. How can you expect those who aren't given an equal voice to be the ones to always speak up against discrimination? The responsibility lies with everyone, and in this case including the creators of this documentary who heavily underrepresented the diversity which does exist within the tech/+ design community. Majority/minority statistics within a field aren't an excuse, those are numbers people should be working to change not embracing as an excuse for continued underrepresentation of minority groups within a field.

        14 points
      • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 2 years ago

        Excellent points, Osandi. As a designer who interviews other Black designers and developers on a regular basis, what you mention here is true.

        1 point
  • Jon LJon L, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    My thoughts on OP's questions:

    TLDR: The hurdles that exist for marginalized people in this industry are elevated to a seemly unreachable plateau when we have white washed 'documentaries' and media like this being distributed. This is an unintended consequence of Invision's lack of inclusion.

    • -

    Q: How does Invision's documentary represent the design community when everyone featured is white?

    A: Simply put: It doesn't represent the design community; the documentary represents Invision's marketing interests. If Invision wanted to portray itself as a company that recognizes marginalized designers at high levels of success, they would have went out of their way to include some. Invision dropped the ball here. Perhaps they'll do a sequel.

    Q: There aren't smart people of color at these companies who serve a design function? Sure there are, but why don't we see their faces, know their names, learn about and come to understand their perspective?

    A: This is a good point, and again, it kind of boils down to the purpose and intent of the documentary. Its not Invision's responsibility to provide the perspectives that the industry is lacking. They're not the New York Times of the design industry, they make prototyping tools. Its interesting that some you hold the company in such high regard that you would project that responsibility onto them. I can imagine that there had to be at least one person involved in the production of this documentary that had the foresight to bring this issue up. It's entirely on Invision to decide what actually goes into their 'documentary', and this time around it looks like they cut all the corners in respect to diversity. This obviously sends a sour message, hence the debate here.

    • -

    On the general topic of diversity in tech –

    This sort of documentary is going to get loads of attention from a lot of students, educators, aspiring designers, and so on. This is what Invision wants, obviously. A fraction of those eyeballs will be people that simply won't identify with the individuals featured in the film. This isn't to say that there isn't an opportunity to enjoy the flick, and learn from its contents. But there will be people that will ask themselves: "Where are the people like me? How can I get to where those guys are at?" This creates a perceived barrier to entry for these viewers, and that can be more damaging to long term diversity than Invision may realize.

    Did they think this thru properly? I doubt it.

    Are a few people in their office reading this thread and kicking themselves today? Probably.

    Should you boycott Invision because of their blinding lack of inclusion? Whatever lets you sleep at night.

    /rant

    Nice to see this conversation happening.

    6 points
    • Jake Lazaroff, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

      Agree with everything except:

      Its not Invision's responsibility to provide the perspectives that the industry is lacking.

      As members of the design/tech community, it should be ALL of our responsibilities to try to provide these perspectives—regardless of the size of our soapboxes :)

      5 points
    • Marat R, over 1 year ago

      I wonder if the OP and people like you actually watched the film or are you just interested in a certain agenda and ranting based on seeing the trailer? The designers in the film WERE diverse.

      0 points
      • Jon LJon L, over 1 year ago

        I believe you man, the movie just came out. The trailer was released 10 months ago.

        0 points
  • koen veldhuizenkoen veldhuizen, 2 years ago

    This is a rhetorical question. Please stop asking questions to which you already know the answer.

    5 points
  • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, 2 years ago

    I really was wondering why I had such a cringey reaction to this trailer, and I'm pretty sure you nailed it here. It really looks like a parody of a stereotype.

    4 points
    • Marat R, over 1 year ago

      Did you actually see the film or just the trailer?

      0 points
      • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, over 1 year ago

        Just the trailer. I tried to go to the premiere, but didn't get tickets. This was 10 months ago, of course, and the film looks a lot different now in more recent trailers, so the critique was more appropriate at that time.

        0 points
  • Chris Lam, 2 years ago

    At least we now have an idea about who has empathy and who doesn't. Props to the mindful and aware ones on this thread. :)

    3 points
  • Denis RojcykDenis Rojcyk, 2 years ago (edited 2 years ago )

    This Offscreen blogpost might give you a slightly different perspective on the topic

    2 points
  • Daniel YpsilantiDaniel Ypsilanti, 2 years ago

    Absolutely amazed by the lack of awareness from designers here about the power of design to distort and carry an agenda. The "mirror" argument is flawed since who designs the mirror shows what if seen. A documentary is not intrinsically neutral the same way a typeface isn't neutral. The person doing the designing or shooting comes to it with their own notions and views of the world, subconscious or otherwise. This underpins the concerns behind the lack of diversity in tech where a homogenous group of designers is creating a supposedly neutral product.

    2 points
  • Alejandro DorantesAlejandro Dorantes, 2 years ago

    inb4 invison threads 'We Also Fucked Up'

    1 point
  • Todd FTodd F, 2 years ago

    When the title contains bullshit valley-speak, I always take the hint and avoid it.

    1 point
  • Marat R, over 1 year ago

    Just saw it last night and I'm honestly not sure what film you were watching. The designers in the one I saw were very diverse. Many women, a couple of black men & an older Asian guy. But somehow you only saw white men. I'd recommend watching it again without the "let me find something wrong with it" glasses.

    1 point