First to start this off, yes I am a white male, in tech. If this offends you to the point where my opinion must be discounted please stop reading now, I am only going to make you mad and it’s not worth your time.
For any one that is left that is curious what I have to say, in short:
“equality is trusting that others are capable of dealing with the shock
being offended and compassionate enough to have the conversation”
During my tenure in ‘tech’, I have done my best to be a stand up member of my community. I do my best to manage my personal bias when it comes to my opinions on hiring decisions all the way down to silly conversations that have been had at the bar. I strive to be the best member of my community that I am capable of being. I have done outreach, I teach classes, I have started user groups, I honestly put in the effort.
Though, to some, none of that matters. For a very vocal minority it doesn’t matter what you do, it only matters what you look like. Because of this attitude I have left twitter. I have devoiced my self from Stumptown Syndicate. I have given up much hope of continuing a career in this industry.
I believe in the notion that diversity makes us stronger. Yes, I truly believe that more women in tech is a good thing. Though this has nothing to do with there ‘femininity’ instead it is that any one of any background different from my own will have something to offer. Religions, alternate gender, different race, grew up at the same place for your entire life. It doesn’t really matter how we determine what defines ‘different’ as we are all different in some way. To this end as an industry we need to embrace different in all of its many forms.
Yes, as an industry, we are young, but young should not be synonymous with stupid. We, as an industry, need to stop being infantile. Yes all those ‘different people’ that we want to hire happen to have different opinions on what is acceptable and what is offensive. This too needs to be embraced. As an industry we need to stop accepting some asinine baseline for what is determined to be acceptable. Instead take your ‘offense’ as a teaching moment for both sides. Yes on one end it would be nice to do some self assessment and determine if your outrage is really worth getting worked up over. By the same token be an advocate and attempt to explain why this is hurtful.
If a CEO happened to give money to a political proposition you disagree with, then write a blog post about how you might disagree but accept that others can have a different opinion and that you hold out hope that this individuals past will have no effect on the product. Starting a campaign that forces them to leave just makes this industry weaker because you do not actually embrace diversity and really just desire a monoculture that makes you feel comfortable.
If an individual decides to leave a job because they find that it is impossible to stay then they need to be supported for there decision. Though treating them as a lightning rod for your personal agenda is not helping any one. Including your self, as in the end it only shows that you are a petty opportunist and have no real interest in the larger community.
If a member of the community is involved in some legal action, and you just got done writing a blog post about how public shaming is hurtful then it might be a good idea to not start a smear campaign. Speaking out on twitter, sharing intimate details with out facts, and deciding to shout at any one that happens to not share your opinion only shows that you have no compassion, and no faith in your very own words. You instead are viewed as a bully and you completely undercut your entire position.
These are the actions of kindergardeners on a playground, this is how juveniles work out there aggressions. I expected more from this community, I expected that those that wave a banner of inclusion would actually believe what they say. And yet I have yet to find any organization that is capable of putting the needs of there community before there own personal self interest.
As a community we need to stop giving in to these childish notions. We need to stop giving these bullies the megaphone to shout for us. We might share there opinion today, it might be convent right now to rebroadcast, but two people will never share every view. We as a community have an opportunity to change our ways, we have the power to be better people, to become complex and diverse. We have the ability to apologies and become better people.
Am I willing to be proven wrong, yes I want so badly to be wrong on this whole issue. I want some one to tell me that there is a utopia where folks can have deep discussions on hard topics with empathy and compassion. Where it is completely acceptable to disagree and the conversation is based on respect for a person not an agenda. This is what I hold out hope for, this is what I attempt to foster for as far as my influence can reach. But I am only one person, I can only do so much, and honestly it seems that those with the megaphones are spoiling it for the rest of us.