The minority card [CLOSED]

Hello campers!

I completed Treehouse’s Front End Track and now I’m working through FCC to build a strong portfolio. As part of that process I’m also developing my personal brand.

As a self-taught coder living in SF with a business degree I’m aware of my disadvantages, therefore I need to play all my strengths…but I’m a bit concerned of my inherent minority status. From the news and the web I noticed that at least in the Bay Area, companies are trying to hire more minorities, but how do I go about it, since it seems a two edge sword


  • Benefits of diverse workforce
  • Increase the percentage of women (13%) in tech
  • Increase the percentage of Latino woman (2%) in tech


  • Tokenism
  • Racism
  • Gender bias

Any thoughts or recommendations?

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I’m not sure how you would “play the card” except maybe to apply to programs that provide mentoring/etc to women or PoC.

Hi Ariel,
For example the title of my portfolio could be:
Awesome Coder - Is a name, but I’m not giving more details beyond that I’m an awesome coder

My Name - Web Developer
From my name you probably could get that I’m a woman

About Section / Bio
Hi, My name is Ms X I’m a web developer, x, y and latino woman…

Just your name is going to make itiobvious that you are a Latino woman. Rubbing it in their face could backfire IMHO. I don’t have a lot of experience, I’m still just learning how to code, but this is how I feel about it. I also think that it could make other people and yourself feel that you were hired for being a minority and not for being awesome.


My advice is don’t go there at all on the resume and focus on passion.

And if you do give any indication of being a minority female it’s best suited as a hint, in the activities that you attend clubs, or meetups. Ie female developer meetups. No long explanations necessary.

As for what I feel about the issues surrounding us, assuming you’re in the 40s like myself, it’s easy to get caught up in problems and stigma. I know first hand how odd it feels to be in a room filled with men as well as being older even if one’s appearances aren’t quite there… Odder still if you place top of the class or suffer sexual harassment. I already stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t want the attention.

What’s more pressing is making money and the absolute best way to make money is focus on the development itself. All these real life things, these issues I just don’t put on my resume nor do I focus on anymore. And I only indicate on the minority survey because companies do have to meet quotas. A sad but true.

Lastly today’s culture, thanks to Gen-Y and Z, is far more gender neutral. You will still have a crowd of male developers and a handful of women, but so long as the dialog is code we all speak the same language.

TLDR focus on your projects and if you suffer harassment and sexism, that’s awful and I’ve been there but it’s for the courtroom never your portfolio.


[Disclaimer: I am totally unqualified to answer this thread, but as a straight white male, I will plow forward with confidence and assume I’m doing fine.]

I agree with @WhisperPntr. I don’t think being perceived as “playing the [x] card” will do you any favors, even at companies that value diversity. The value of diversity is in the varied skillsets and viewpoints that diverse groups of people bring to the table, so emphasize the skillset and viewpoints that are unique to you, rather than those that are perceived as being characteristic of groups to which you belong.

For example: don’t say “I am a woman, therefore I am good at touchy-feely stuff and empathizing with people.” Instead, say “I really value user experience and inclusive design, and it shows in my work. For example, in [project], I solicited feedback on Twitter and used it to make substantial changes to the UI to reduce cognitive load”. Or maybe that’s not you at all, so you can say “I’m an unfeeling machine that churns out code like nobody’s business. For example, I built an x86 processor from scratch using nothing but dirt and twigs, then coded a deep-learning face recognition algorithm on it using machine code and puppy tears”.

With all that said, revealing your real name and displaying a photo is totally normal, and I don’t think anyone will perceive that as playing a card or trying to take advantage of tokenism. This is really a personal choice, so if you think it will help, by all means go for it.


I also agree with @WhisperPntr. I don’t think you should do anything except focus on building your projects and portfolio. Prove that you are a great developer not matter your gender, race, age, etc. I also don’t think you would want to work for a company that is just looking to fill a diversity quota. Research companies that you personally like and enjoy. Remember even though you are a candidate, interviews are a two way street. You should like the company as much as they like you. Working in a great environment will only help you become a better developer. Good luck on your journey.

I think my biggest concern with playing a minority card (in my case, a disability) is that I am pre-emptively “pigeonholing” myself. By doing that, regardless of how awesome a coder I may be, I’m there to represent a minority rather than to be my great coder self.

I won’t do that. I have the advantage, in that my disability is an internal one, so I can find ways to work around it and have it not be known. In the case of (for example) a latino woman, if a company policy is to hire minorities, then let that be their policy – but it may not make sense to start the conversation on that basis. If a company chooses to hire you, start the conversation on the basis of your strengths as a coder and developer. Doing otherwise may limit your usefulness to being, as your con list indicates, a ‘token’.


Employers approach it this way:

Does the person have the skills and qualifications, and will they be a valuable addition to the team? Yes?

Oh, she’s a female and minority too? Added bonus.

(But it’s never the other way around.)


Thanks Owel, I was going more this route when considering the idea, if that could be worth hinting it

I think the fact that the ratio are already so skewed means you probably don’t have a “card” to play, because if it mattered that much to companies, they would have addressed it to a degree already.

There may be some subtle empathetic human traits that you can “manipulate”, for example, we tend to hold certain innate bias to favor those that are similar to ourselves, but that doesn’t just pertain to ethnicity or gender. It can be part of you underdog brand which appeals to people on multiple psychological levels. Realize that most of these only provides the slightest edge if any. If it is not in a company’s best interest to hire you, they typically won’t. It does
n’t matter what ethnicity or gender you are.

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Sorry, I don’t get it why is that a concern? Why not just do the work, get good and then apply and get inteviews? If you want to take advantage of something sure I guess as long as it is moral I hope.


If your code and your attitude are good enough, you can get a job. The rest is horse-shit.


Imo you should emphasize any innate traits that you have which haven’t come through hard work or ingenuity. Talk about how privileged you are and how unfortunate you’ve been. Explain how helpless and needy you are. Justify most of your points by explaining that minorities are inherently discriminated against more than non-minorities and thus should be given positions to compensate. This is how I would do it if I were you.

I can’t tell if you’re being serious, or sarcastic.

Not trying to be obtuse or argumentative, but are you saying to talk about reasons other than actual qualifications to try to get a job? Seems counterproductive, in a way.


This actually made me laugh. Are you being serious though?, I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic.

I don’t think you have to “play the card”. Especially in the bay area, most companies are already very aware of diversity/etc and have initiatives to support such efforts.

Making it very obvious, e.g. by including it in your tagline (wouldn’t it seem weird if I wrote ‘I’m a web developer and a white man’?) could send the wrong message – that you’re focused on political issues rather than the work at hand. I’d speculate that many companies don’t really want to find themselves mired in a lawsuit or HR debacle on the basis of race/gender/etc, and this is partly why many of them have diversity initiatives in the first place. (tangent)

Now, would I put a picture of myself on my portfolio if I were you? Absolutely since it can only help you (attract companies who value diversity, repel people who don’t want to hire minorities/women). But I don’t really count that as ‘playing the minority card’.

I personally would rather avoid emphasizing it beyond that (not that it matters to me being the prototypical white male dev) because I’d always wonder how much of my achievement was due to merit and how much was due to politics/quotas/guilt. But, that’s a subjective decision and I think you could make a case either way depending on what’s important to you.


Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I think this loophole/card is bs.

Whew. Thank goodness. rofl

Ha! you must be fun at parties, code reviews and design critiques