One Brooklynite's accusation of 'overt racism' at Squarespace has hit a nerve - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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One Brooklynite’s accusation of ‘overt racism’ at Squarespace has hit a nerve

In a post on Medium, a former Squarespace employee chronicles the racism she's faced in the tech industry.

Amelie Lamont details her feelings of racism at Squarespace.

(Photo by Flickr user Craig Sunter, used under a Creative Commons license)

A piece went up on Medium yesterday that caused a stir. In it, former Squarespace employee and Brooklynite Amelie Lamont details her feelings of experiencing racism and being treated unfairly.

The story, at nearly 5,000 words and spanning several years, is, as workplace interactions so often are, complicated. At one point, after months of frustration and feelings of unfairness, Lamont’s boss commented explicitly on the darkness of her skin in front of a meeting of staff members.

The racism I experienced at Squarespace was overt and documented. There’s no way to sugarcoat, “you’re so black, you blend into the chair.” I even tried to redeem the situation by giving the VP of Customer Care a chance to backpedal. She chose not to.

The story hit a nerve and reactions online came fast and furious.

Comment on Medium.

Comment on Medium. (Screenshot)

Comment on Medium. (Screenshot)

Comment on Medium. (Screenshot)

Lamont’s full story is worth a read. There’s a meeting she walked out of, an office romance, a drunken slap at a company event, a lawsuit and some icy details all around.

Read the full story

What isn’t complicated is that other people of color and women have felt the same way Lamont has in their jobs hard enough and long enough to have the kind of reaction we see above. The discussion about fairness in the tech world and the power balance is a long one, and this seems like a worthy addition to it.

Critics of Lamont will no doubt find cause for rebuttals to her claims within the story. But from a larger scope, it’s yet another story in the myriad, told and untold, of feeling ostracized for being different, for being darker, for being whatever that is unlike the power structures that be. And in tech, as much as in many other sectors of the economy, the power structures that be are very white and very male. Company culture can be painfully caustic when “being a good fit” means “being like the people that already work there.”

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