This Wednesday, LinkedIn hosted a town hall session on racial justice, given the ongoing protests for the death of George Floyd after being pinned down by a local police officer. The entire idea behind holding this session was to allow employees to discuss how they could come together and support each other in these difficult times.
The conversation in the forum took a sharp turn to hostile as people were using the video chat’s anonymous commenting feature to question the ongoing protests and defend the racist sentiments in people. These comments were confirmed by multiple platforms of having been seen during the town hall session.
During the video session, one employee wrote, “Black kills black at 50 times the rate that white kills black”. He supported it by saying it is usually gang violence in the city and questioned the outcry on it. Another employee said after this that he, as a minority, feels that he should be feeling guilty about his skin color and that someone less qualified should be taking his position. Several questions were put up that changed the matter for which the forum was designed.
This meeting, hosted by LinkedIn on the video conferencing platform Blue Jeans, was rolled out under the name ‘standing together.’ It was meant to be a chance for all LinkedIn employees to discuss inclusion and allyship across the globe. During the meeting, the company’s vice president of diversity spoke with a panel of employees about their experiences with prejudice and how they could be better allies with the people they work with.
A lot of stories were shared during this part of the forum, and hearing all that the employees are sharing during such a vulnerable session was inspiring. The chat function showed an entirely different story, and many comments under this section of the meeting were racist. Employees submitted all these comments across the globe.
One employee from Fiji said that the problem is not solely white and that ‘Blacks’ have a responsibility to help the ‘whites’ be able to help them. He continued by saying that more blacks are killed by blacks and questioned the reason behind this.
The comments under the chat section were from opposite worlds truly where another employee said that everyone supporting the black lives matter movement had had access to the literature, which defines the problem we are fighting against. The racist comments for him were simply ignorant of all that literature.
Most comments were undermining the purpose for which Linked In held the meeting. Many were trying to have a conversation around police violence and other important topics, but the racist comments seemed to overshadow them. The CEO of the company has also made a statement that the Q&A session was challenging, but it was something that had to be done out in the open.
Image source: TheVerge