Ben Jealous, former NAACP president and partner at Kapar Capital, served as the principle guest at the latest edition of FutureCast. Held at the AT&T Foundry in Atlanta, Jealous discussed how diversity must become a key issue for the future tech and innovation.
After his intimate conversation with Andrew Keen, Jealous spoke with rolling out to discuss diversity and the sharing of new ideas in the tech space.
What were some of the key ideas shared at your FutureCast conversation?
The main ideas were about tech and inclusion and the fact that genius is equally evident in every ZIP code. Young people come into this world ready to make great contributions. And there are changes we need to make to ensure that our genius is untapped, unlocked and unleashed. This allows us to build a stronger country as quickly as possible.
What are some interesting facts about Blacks in tech that you would consider positive?
You hear a lot of bad news about diversity in tech these days. But the good news is that we can not afford to forget is that there are almost as many Black tech workers, IT workers, computer programmers and scientists as there are Black teachers. But we have already been building a vibrant tech community in places like Atlanta, Prince George’s County, [Maryland], and there’s a lot for us to build on so let’s just keep on pushing.
Your book, Reach, was also a main topic during the conversation. Why is this book important for every Black male to read?
The book has been a New York Times bestseller, a Washington Post best seller and a Barnes and Noble best seller. But what I’m proudest of is that every young man at Morehouse, in the freshman class this year, is reading the book right now. It’s 40 Black men telling their story about the pivotal points in their life. When their life could’ve gone the wrong way, and they turned it the right way. When they could’ve had a conventional career, but they decided to break into Hollywood. It is the type of story that we wished our fathers or grandfathers were willing to share but they were always a bit too guarded. And we actually got brothers to talk to a close friend and tell them the real deal. It’s a great book.