The Golden State has always been the place to where dreamers flock. From the early days, when European settlers made their way to the coast in search of gold and land, to the children of the 1950s elite East Coast families, wanting to find their own freedom on the sandy beaches. From people of color, who picked the unlucky card and were born in the South during the 50s and 60s needing to find a land where they were welcome, to the countless generations of actors and actress who saw Hollywood as their ticket. For all of these, and so much more, California has always been the place to escape to.
When you grow up in California, you are aware that your state drums to it’s own beat. Folks here are lucky enough to grow up near beaches, with Hollywood as our backyard and wineries at every corner.
Over the last several years, there has been a whole new wave of dreamers…the “Tech Guys.” At first, they were merely a minor nuisance that you had to deal with only when you went to Palo Alto. You had to pretend to care when they talked about whatever they were programming. They all looked the same too: misfitted t-shirt, a cotton jacket in either grey or blue, jeans that never fit them right and plain shoes. They sometimes wore hair product; but, they never had to shave, because they couldn’t grow a beard to save their lives.
Now, I may sound bitter here, but this type of “Tech Guy” was so socially awkward that he came off as just plain rude. Not speaking their language, “engineering,” somehow meant that you were worth less than them. In retrospect, though, it makes sense; if I got paid as much they do, I would think I was a God too. I, personally, think it stems from the fact that they never were invited to a party in high school or college.
As the years have passed, the quintessential “Tech Guy’s” look has morphed into that of a hipster–tighter jeans, hair product, decent shoes and a fitted shirt. Now they can converse more, and have begun appearing at all of the networking events in San Francisco. They have multiplied at the cost of the “other” people in San Francisco.
We all know people in tech make an ungodly sum of money; therefore, they can afford the insane rent in San Francisco. Landlords no longer need to house the struggling artist when they can rent out to this new breed of dreamers.
This doesn’t bother me too much; I think we all saw it coming. So many of my friends are leaving San Francisco in search of their new escape. Boston, Austin and, shoot, even Seattle are receiving all of us artist types. What does bother me is that, in general, these “Tech Guys” have no idea about the problems that are in their city. I attend these networking events where everyone talks about their dreams, the new app they are creating, or working at a VC, etc. Seriously, it’s same conversation over and over; but, with my background in the nonprofit sector, I know there are kids in the city (and throughout the Bay Area) who don’t have books, or who have go to bed hungry. There are parents who can’t afford rent and teachers who barely hold it together, because grants are becoming harder to obtain. I sit there, pretending to care about their latest app, and wonder how often these self-entitled youths give back? Do they even care? Do they want to know?
Yes, the big companies, such as Facebook, Google and Apple, do “corporate days of giving” or some other bullshit. Their employees help for A DAY while wearing a shirt with their company logo on it. You know, for the pictures. And yes, Google does provide grants to nonprofits. But, in my heart of hearts, I know that it’s on a strategic level. These companies “care” because it makes for good press and looks good to the board.
I’m talking, though, about are the ones who work the 9 to 5. Do they know they have the upper hand in the class divide? Do they know they can help?
The class divide will continue to grow in San Francisco and all throughout the Bay Area. The “Tech Guys” are not the enemies and the “others” are not the victims. We are all just dreamers just focused on our own dream, and we forget to ask member of our communities what their dreams are.
Hugs and Smiles,
—-If you are thinking about donating your time to a cause, please email Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org, for a complete list of a nonprofit’s—-
Hugs and Smiles,