Apple Vice President of Diversity Denise Young Smith (Paul Mongi/Getty Images)

Even more pressing than “Can a black person be racist?” is the question “Can a woman mansplain?” or “Can a black woman whitesplain something?” Well, we finally have an answer.

Apple is known for three things:

  1. Phones that compel the lowlifes who use Android phones to say, “Droids had that feature for years.”
  2. Computers that do too much. Do I really need my text messages to pop up on my Mac? Why does my cellphone need to ring on my computer? Who wants to know their mom is calling when they’re watching porn completing their TPS reports?
  3. A really white workforce.

Apple is really white. Eighty-two percent of the leadership of the company is of the Caucasian persuasion. To be fair, the company fakes diversity by making itself look very inclusive to the public, where only 56 percent of its retail employees are white. See what they did there?

To fix its diversity problem, the tech company hired Denise Young Smith as its first-ever vice president of diversity, because it’s much easier to hire one person and claim you’re “working on your diversity problem” than it is to simply just hire brown people.

Advertisement

Earlier this week, Young Smith (yes, she is so black, her rap name is also her real name) was on a panel in Bogota, Colombia, talking diversity with Quartz (the website, not the mineral). According to Quartz, when Young Smith was asked about inclusion and whether she would focus on any particular group, she said: “I focus on everyone. ... Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term ‘diversity’ is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”

Her response was roundly applauded, because ... white people. But it was the next part that raised eyebrows: “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse, too, because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

No, Young Smith, you’re saying it wrong. As my mom used to say when she made me look up a term in the dictionary because I misused it, “Words mean things.” You can’t just say some shit and make it true. There’s no app for that.

Advertisement

Twelve white, blue-eyed blond men in a room cannot be diverse. Twelve white, blue-eyed blond men in a room is a problem. Ask Emmett Till’s mother. Ask every black Mississippi-necktie wearer swinging lifeless from a poplar tree and whose history-book epitaph always ends with “ ... was convicted by an all-white jury.” Ask the 8.6 percent of black people who work at Apple.

Do you even know what “diversity” means? Wait, Young Smith, maybe you actually are a rapper. Did you think you were being hired as vice president of “da verses”?

That’s how whitesplaining works. If you can bamboozle someone into believing 12 white men can be diverse, you don’t actually have to hire people of color or people with different sexual orientations. If literally anything can be diverse, then there is no such thing as diversity.

Words mean things. You can’t just make shit up, do nothing but pretend you’re curing racism. But I know ...

White America has had that feature for years.

Read more at Quartz.