CBx Daily

Pinterest's Newest D&I Chief May Be All Tyi'd Up From Actually Doing Her Job

Oct 27

By Lyric Prince

  • Tyi McCray is Pinterest’s new global head of inclusion and diversity amid intense scrutiny
  • Pinterest’s 4% Black workforce is mostly concentrated in support roles

Image sharing and social media service Pinterest has hired Tyi McCray to be the global head of diversity and inclusion (D&I), amid intense scrutiny over allegations of racism and sexism in the workplace. With Pinterest’s 4% Black workforce, which is mostly concentrated in support roles, what other person than McCray can represent minorities from a position of authority while having previous tech experience? Furthermore, is the newly appointed D&I head a cover up for the company’s diversity problems? If so,  it  signals a disturbing trend for the ongoing conversation about corporate racial justice.

Why This Matters: With the hiring of McCray, it seems that Pinterest is asking its consumers to believe Black women are the chosen ones to fix its corporate D&I issues, and also pits them against each other in regards to conflicting ideals of what racial equality truly entails. The company's press release also fails to talk about how McCray’s experience will ameliorate its deep-seated problems with racial equality. Pinterest may fashionably say they are progressive, but espouse deeply questionable practices.

Every tech company I know has stories of anti-Black racism and bias

For example, two Black female former staffers of Pinterest, Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma, who were both Public Policy and Social Impact Managers until May 2020, came forward with allegations of receiving less total compensation than their white male peers, doxxing, and blackballing.

“The fact that [McCray] hasn’t commented directly about me [or Ozoma]...shows how effective they want their diversity chief to be,” Shimizu Banks told CultureBanx. McCray’s Twitter timeline, at the time of publication, is set to private.

Michelle Kim, who leads a Bay area firm that hosts diversity workshops for Pinterest, stated: “Every tech company I know has stories of anti-Black racism and bias.” This lack of accountability spells danger for Black victims of workplace bias that feared coming out with their own accounts before this summer.  

Situational Awareness: “You see the title ‘chief diversity officer’ and [say,] they must take this ...seriously, because there are not many companies that have someone...sitting at the executive table,” says Brennan Lawson, another victim of Silicon Valley workplace discrimination. “But in reality, it may not be.” Consequently, the hiring of D&I representatives can become more of an HR move that shields any company from real accountability than one that will ensure actual change.

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