Diversity in technology & white privilege

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White Guys talking to White Guys about Tech Diversity:

  • Members in the group are white tech guys in majority non-white/non-straight orgs, and want to have better attitude / behavior in these settings.
  • Ivan is getting ready to give a session on diversity and accountability at South By Southwest. He wants to make it a productive discussion, without trolls messing it up.
  • Non profit spaces: Have a Jerk Filter. General Tech Space: Not so much of a filter. Hardline rightists/Libertarians (hello, DHH) may be present. How to present in that type of crowd?
  • John Scalzi: "Being a white male is playing life on the lowest difficulty setting." -> good way to bring the issue out to the white community. What we want to know?:
    • How to communicate this issue effectively.
    • How to avoid a idiotic fight / defensiveness / useless guilt tripping, and actually change behavior.

What Works:

  • Tumblr as a good place to learn different people's experiences that you normally don't see (street harrassment / Micro-Aggression) without bothering them too much.
  • Interactive question and answer (putting hands up in response to questions) often a good way to show different experiences.
  • Data is useful, but it isn't the only way to change behavior. Emotional information is essential too.
  • Changing convo from "adding minorities/women/lgbt to an existing white team" to "changing culture so diversity happens naturally".
  • Guilt is understandable, but doesn't change anything for people on the business end of oppression. Need to have productive change, not group therapy for whites at a conference.
  • Getting white ppl to empathize w/others and accept their experiences as real, not exaggeration is the goal.
  • McDonalds hot coffee burns lawsuit: Seems silly, then you reconsider the event and change opinion. Need to have something like this for social justice conflicts.
  • Ethical arguments can only go so far. Need other arguments to get the entire society to buy in to diversity movements. Don't need a moral elite, we need everyone on board.
  • Self-division of groups: May end up whites on one side, POC on other. May alienate some. Need clear goals in breakout groups, or the guilt problem comes up too easily.
  • First, baby steps toward good behaviour and critical thinking are important. Also must avoid "White Savior Syndrome". Work together with people as equals, don't get in front of them.
  • Getting ppl to commit over the long term needed too.