Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult. — Tech Diversity Files

I should not still be shocked at the stories of offensive ignorance and outright discrimination that come out of the land of tech, not after my MA work and the interviews I conducted for my dissertation, or all the hours of reading and research. And yet I am. When Leslie Miley, as a guest on the Reply All podcast, described some of the things he has encountered as an African American man in Silicon Valley my jaw dropped. No, he was not not describing violence or outright threats, just shocking behaviour from superiors and coworkers.

Of course, I immediately paused the podcast and looked him up online. He’s left Google, Twitter, Apple, and other tech giants behind and is now Director of Engineering at Entelo. The company provides software solutions for recruitment. Although I’ve just discovered the man and the company, I am hoping that, based on his past experiences, their product and company philospohy include a focus on connecting with and retaining diverse candidates.

Since finding solutions that *work* for addressing the difficulties of increasing diversity is what my research is all about, having someone as accomplished as Mr. Miley working on the problem has gotten me very excited. I’m doing a quick re-blog of one of his posts on Medium to share his work with you and to make a big, fat bookmark for myself to have available for quick reference. Click the link at the end to read the complete article.

More links for Leslie Miley:

Twitter: @shaft (can’t say he’s without humour)

Q&A With The Black Twitter Engineer Who Left Over Diversity Problems

Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult.
I am passionate about Twitter the service, and I love Twitter, the company. The opportunity to work on a product that is positively changing how African Americans are perceived in this country is humbling. Every day for almost three years, I have looked forward to making contributions to the platform that enables #BlackLivesMatter, and that amplifies the voices of #BlackTwitter.

That is why is the public commitment by Twitter to a measurable diversity goal is so important. In 2014 27% of African American, 25% of Hispanic Americans and 21% of Women use Twitter according to Pew. Only 3% of Engineering and Product at Twitter are African American/Hispanic and less than 15% are Women. This is why the work many people have done, and continue to do in diversity at Twitter is so important. They are indomitable, have the will, strength and courage to change the story of diversity at Twitter…

via Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult. — Tech Diversity Files — Medium.

White, Male Privilege Illustrated

Swedish artist, Emanu, published a cartoon that perfectly illustrates white, male privilege. You can probably throw straight and cisgendered into the mix, as well.

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This post isn’t really about white, male privilege. There’s plenty about it in other posts on this site, as well as the website for my MA project. Nope, this is about tracking down the artist. Continue reading “White, Male Privilege Illustrated”

“This is why I don’t talk to white people about race”

Demands by the privileged class that those currently affected by oppression explain the situation to them is merely another manifestation of privilege.

anthoknees

A few days ago I posted on my Facebook that I don’t plan on engaging with white people on the topics of race, police brutality, or even class. There are exceptions, but for the most part, I’m good. A friend messaged me today and asked why. If I am a self-proclaimed scholar-activist intent on dismantling white supremacy, isn’t direct engagement with white folk a great way to conscientize them?  This blog post is inspired by that question.

After 26 years of being all-consumed by whiteness and spending my years conscientizing white folk, I’m just not going to actively do it. I grew up in historically and primarily white neighborhoods, work/ed in white spaces, and attend a top research institution that contains a lot of white logic. Combine this with the historical legacy of Black dehumanization in the United States and you should understand why I’m tired.

So if a debate that naturally occurs in…

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Initial Thoughts on The Force Awakens

This is by a friend and former colleague from ILM. Tad is amazingly talented, as well as enthusiastically geeky. He’s great. Enjoy!

LOS ANGELES: 2019

It’s all spoilers, people. You have been warned!

At the time of this writing, I’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens twice: once with Beca and Annika on opening day, and once with Beca and my sister-in-law on Christmas Eve. These are my initial thoughts after those two viewings and many hours of rumination and conversation. It’s hard for me to analyze a text I can’t readily access, so I know I’ll revisit all this stuff once the Blu-ray comes out and I can pick it apart and illustrate my points directly. Until then, here are some of my thoughts about the movie…


FN-2187: “There is a person in there.”

Finn_Profile

When Finn (then still FN-2187), sees his comrade get shot on Jakku, he bends to comfort him, and the dying trooper’s bloody had leaves red streaks on FN-2187’s helmet. During this scene, two things popped into my mind simultaneously. One…

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White People Whitesplain Whitesplaining

shush

I’ve been on the receiving end of mansplaining, so I have some understanding of the general dynamic, if not the specifics. Honestly, this is one of my big concerns in researching and talking about diversity. I am happy to be a translator for as much understanding as I have to those who have not come to that point. But this is no way a license to steal the voices of those who experience racism every day.

It’s true that members of an oppressed group are not under any obligation to educate their oppressors. It can be awful on so many levels when someone turns to you and expects you to be the voice of [whatever] group. Yet not being given the opportunity to explain in your own words, and having well meaning members of the privileged group try and do that for you… Wow. A toxic concoction to swallow, indeed.

 

 

Seems that in order to tackle issues of racism, one needs a combination of awareness, social skills, and a willingness to stand up. Perhaps more importantly, we need to know when to shut up. Lack of listening is, after all, part of what got us here in the first place.

What I Mean…

Image of a person speaking into a can with a string coming out of the bottom.

Articulate:

  1. uttered clearly in distinct syllables.
  2. capable of speech; not speechless.
  3. using language easily and fluently; having facility with words: an articulate speaker.
  4. expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness: an articulate thought.
  5. made clear, distinct, and precise in relation to other parts: an articulate form; an articulate shape; an articulate area.
  6. (of ideas, form, etc.) having a meaningful relation to other parts: an articulate image.
  7. having parts or distinct areas organized into a coherent or meaningfulwhole; unified: an articulate system of philosophy.

When I have used the word “articulate” to describe someone, I’ve always meant that they can get their point across clearly and in a logically constructed manner (see 4, 5, and 7 above). Often I use it as a term of admiration for someone who has helped clarify and simplify my own thoughts on a complex subject. Through their vision, I add new language to my lexicon. Continue reading “What I Mean…”

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”

Frequently attributed to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, the titular words of wisdom sum up what intellectual curiosity and higher education are – or should be – all about.

Photo of a large sailing ship moving away from the camera. The sea is calm, the backdrop is of orange clouds.

Apparently the President of the United States agrees.

“Obama explained his belief that engaging with ideas you might disagree with is a foundational element of higher education.” 

“The purpose of college is not just… to transmit skills. It’s also to widen your horizons, to make you a better citizen,” Obama said. “The way to do that is to create a space where a lot of ideas are presented and collide, and people are having arguments, and people are testing each other’s theories. And over time, people learn from each other because they’re getting out of their own narrow point of view, and having a broad point of view.” Continue reading ““A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for””