Now that hate speech advocate Elon Musk has his clutches around Twitter, we have started the 1955 Project, which is dedicated to fighting racism by reimagining and defunding Silicon Valley. Like the 1619 Project, which aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative, the 1955 Project aims to reframe Silicon Valley’s history by putting William Shockley’s racism and its hurtful consequences at the very center of the narrative.
Since the founding of America in 1619, outside of Mississippi, Silicon Valley, more than any other place in America, is built on the dystopic vision of a racist. That racist is MIT graduate William Shockley, who is known among whites for his contribution to the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank, his “creative-failure methodology“, as well as his invention of the transistor, which spurred the semiconductor industry.
However these contributions pale when looked at through an anti-racist lens, which reveals that Shockley believed that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Shockley called his philosophy “retrogressive evolution”. He said to William F. Buckley, “My research leads me inescapably to the opinion that the major cause of the American Negro’s intellectual and social deficits is hereditary and racially genetic in origin and, thus, not remediable to a major degree by practical improvements in the environment.”
Thanks to Ibram X. Kendi, it is now clear that [r]acial inequity is evidence of racist policy. Kendi has called for a Constitutional Amendment to establish and permanently fund a Department of Anti-racism (DOA) that would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, We support such as amendment, which will prevent any more trauma due to would-be Shockleys.
Before William Shockley was outed as a racist, he clandestinely (or should I say, Klandestinely) developed the semiconductor industry. He established the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, California, which gave birth to Silicon Valley.
Facebook’s Building 391 stands on the original site of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.
And today, Mountain View houses the headquarters of Google and Alphabet Inc., Unicode Consortium, Intuit, NASA Ames research center, and major headquarter offices for Microsoft, Symantec, 23andMe, LinkedIn, Samsung, and Synopsys. The fact that the population of Mountain View is only 2.4% Black or African American is further evidence of the systemic racism caused by William Shockley.
We demand that reparations be given to the families of every Black person harmed by William Shockley’s racist claims that any perceived inequity in intelligence “not remediable to a major degree by practical improvements in the environment.” The 1955 Project’s call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of…racism in shaping present-day conditions both in our community and American society as a whole.