F# maven Scott Nimrod is on a high-tech rampage recording interviews for his YouTube channel, deliberately mixing tech and humanity for a wonderful collection that I find wonderful. I assume that my interview with Scott is my first interview on his channel (in spite of my history in these situations):

So, just in case my first interview is my last interview, I went with more humanity than tech. I drifted into a stream-of-consciousness style rant that I am sure Scott understood (at least the intent) but would not be surprised that millions would consider it crazy talk.

The table below will attempt to summarize some of the references I made just in case my crazy is less crazy than your crazy:

Why I failed to talk to Carl Franklin about ‘Race’ in the IT (Information Technology) World…

One way to step away from reading this 2011 Blog post is to understand that Scott finally provided the ‘correct’ context for me to talk humanity (“race”).

Alan Moore on Magic

I bring up Alan Moore to demonstrate that Black people are Black not out of ignorance of things not Black—and to make my point at the same time.

Kobe on @WSJ

This tweet leads to an interview with Kobe Bryant that I think is filled with the racist subconscious but folks like Scott can also sucsessfully argue that no racist intent was present.

Oshay on Marques Brownlee on the imprint

This tweet leads to a YouTube video about @MKBHD theorizing about how he would received in “the Black community” of the United States.

Dr. Peter Chen: Entity Relationship Model – Past, Present and Future

I will keep mentioning Dr. Peter Chen until traditional Black historians finally see his importance. This may take a while…

My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse

I wrote this article in 2007 and will likely go to my cremation urn before anyone will truly engage me on this subject matter. One of the many threads in my interview with Scott was of gender issues.

Famous Passers

I brought up the subject of Sidney Reilly to respond to Scott about why the study of history is important to me.

Day Path

This is my tech blog, started about four years ago to “cleanly” separate my “politics” from my technical interests—and to get away from WordPress because it is a “retro” (and non-Microsoft) technology.

I really do look forward to being invited to the Scott Nimrod channel again to talk more about tech with sprinklings of humanity.

The social-media makeover of kintespace.com is based on new apps developed by Songhay System (which is me @BryanWilhite—which is another way of saying I am still too cheap to turn my company into a corporation). This years-large strategy approaches Twitter primarily as an extension of blogging and YouTube integration has always been a part of the content curation and presentation space of the kinté space. Facebook for the record is currently an extension of Twitter which totally fails to recognize that Facebook is way, way larger than Twitter (this ‘failure’ is by design kids).

Twitter

For years, the rasx context (Blog) has been stuffed with “Twinks” posts (again, twinks stands for “Twitter links”—I have no idea what this means elsewhere). From a technical view, this Twinks project has been a way to archive my feedly.com picks instead of “trusting” Twitter to preserve my data. I built a system (a lot of it on Windows Azure) to help me automate the process of turning my “tweets” back into Blog prose. From a personal point of view, I have always read the “morning paper” since I was a travel writer at the Automobile Club in the 1990s—90% of my Twitter activity is based on a modern rendition of this personal habit. From a historical point of view, kintespace.com is curating the “Black Twitter” phenomenon—again… curating…





    

YouTube

Like Instagram, Snapchat and others, I deliberately ignored YouTube in the early years. Now I watch YouTube almost as much (sometimes more) as Netflix. So, from a personal point of view, I have been using my curated YouTube channels ‘player’ on a daily basis. I have one for kintespace.com and one for Songhay System—I consider myself sharing this experience with similarly interested visitors. Both of these players are leveraging Windows Azure and the YouTube Data API. The older folks that visit kintespace.com may find it extremely helpful to find some of the “black stuff” on YouTube curated all in one place.

I am very proud of the BookTuber collection now in the kinté space (many of the selections came from @mynameismarines via @rowenamonde). The younger (millennial) content makers that are doing their own “monetizing” thing with do-no-evil Google can be respectfully recognized in an “old” venue like the kinté space. It’s wonderful to have such continuity here at kintespace.com: from simple static Web pages to cloud-hosted, API-driven apps.

Songhay B-Roll Player

Should you stumble upon brollplayer.azurewebsites.net you will find nothing serious (visually). The curated YouTube channels (and the new HTML 5 audio player that I have not formally announced) are all “powered” by assets at this .net address. This means to be the very, very humble beginnings of the Songhay B-Roll Player. This player will be a suite of apps that will replace almost all of the presentation engines here at kintespace.com. More on this later (or bust)…

So it’s my birthday here on Earth as it is in the kinté space. The kinté space? Yes. This website is the very, very likely oldest, continually-running, Black/African cultural force on the Internet. I think there are about two ways to look into this: my kinté hits page and the Internet archive, its Wayback Machine.

InternetArchive.org: Wayback Machine for KinteSpace.com

The Blog in which these words appear, the rasx() context, dates back to 2005—so, again, one of the oldest Black/African voices on the Internet. —Why all of this “bragging” when my attendance at the last Blogging While Brown conference in Los Angeles went completely unnoticed?

When I turned 21 (in the 1990s), I was “bragging” about how the LAPD—or some other gang—had not murdered me. I knew the stats—the leading cause of death for Black men—and I was openly proud that all the wise ancestors that produced me survived all of the obstacles deliberately put in place.

My people perish for lack of knowledge. We all need to know the stats and we need to “brag” more and more about how we survive and sometimes thrive in what Chuck D called the “anti-nigger machine” or deeper still “intellectual Vietnam.”

The reason why a project like the kinté space would go unnoticed (especially here in the Americas) is because it is not a business. In Black Enterprise terms, the kinté space is like a very, very badly run 1980s bookstore with a dusty display in the shop window that looks abandoned but every now and then the neighborhood kids noticed a few display items moved around on the slatwall as they skateboard to the bus stop (okay, to be fair: lately, it’s been about 50,000 “neighborhood kids” a month).

Another way to look at the kinté space is like a really, really obscure house of couture. The house is run by seamstress that does work-for-hire sewing for other people—other more famous, financially wealthy people. Yes, I am that couture seamstress. I even have my own website with notes about threads. But I don’t own an overpriced fragrance that can make up for the money spent on runway shows.

Amazon.com product

“Huh?”

“What is he talking about?”

Here’s my point: yes, it’s my birthday and I am older than most Black people who care to use the Internet properly. I understand that sometimes I am treated like “the old man at the club” in that Chris Rock joke. Instead of staying in my little world I research what is going on in other worlds. My research encourages me to continue badly-running kintespace.com until I am unable to do so. I have a few new ideas on the way and would like to try them out in near future.

When the kintespace.com is as popular as netnoir.com was or bossip.com has recently been then you know there has been foundational shift in Black world culture. The balance of power between the political/aesthetical poles of Haiti and the Dominican Republic has shifted back to Haiti, you dig?

“Huh?”

Next stop: Kwame Turé. He died when he was 57. I look forward to my 57th year, “bragging” about not being murdered by kale stalks in a kinté space future…

I’ve been reading the work of @shanley—work like “What’s Wrong With @antirez’s Post on Sexism in IT”—and I can immediately tell that I don’t need to be writing carefully around her thinking. I sense an authenticity in her strength of character—whether the character is one designed for writing publically or actually hers in “real” life.

I wrote in “Why I failed to talk to Carl Franklin about “Race” in the IT (Information Technology) World…” that the prejudice against women in the IT workplace is almost identical to that of the racist aesthetic used to poison “minorities.” In “What Your Culture Really Says,” @shanley makes my point without really trying:

What your culture might actually be saying is… We have implemented a loosely coordinated social policy to ensure homogeneity in our workforce. We are able to reject qualified, diverse candidates on the grounds that they “aren’t a culture fit” while not having to examine what that means – and it might mean that we’re all white, mostly male, mostly college-educated, mostly young/unmarried, mostly binge drinkers, mostly from a similar work background. We tend to hire within our employees’ friend and social groups.

I am embarrassed for the self-described Black women and men of tech that I’ve encountered digitally over the years because I know that too many of these folks would not only fail to write like this in public—even under an assumed name like “The Corporate Negro”—but off the record they would fail to write or speak like this in relative privacy. How do I know that @shanley is not Black? Surprise me. I dare you.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that @shanley is not Black.

What’s deeper here is that I am almost certain that @shanley and I would agree that most IT “cultures” are Lord-of-the-Flies boy’s clubs (you can even have a “diverse” boy’s club but everyone speaks with the same Valley-Girl, posh American, Metro-sexual accent, wearing that same Star Trek uniform with a goatee) and we would also agree that there is nothing “evil” about these clubs—until they start telling lies to themselves and others that they represent a “universal” view. They should be honest and self-realized about their cave-man frat-boy, ethnic, provincial shit. Who am I to say this? These are the words coming from a physics student out of UCSB. I’ve worked in astrophysics labs and some of the first personal computer labs for institutional education in the country. I’ve worked in multi-billion-dollar finance, pharmaceutical and entertainment companies. I’m not talking out of ignorance. I don’t have an Al-Sharpton perm cascading split ends over my eyes, giving me an over-simplified black-plastic view of the world.

I know that I am dealing with a bunch of assholes (regardless of color-of-skin) when it becomes clear to me that the bunch has no accurate, well-researched idea of how they are perceived by outsiders. When a group can respectfully and almost-joyfully imagine why people would not want to be in their group then that group has something actually going on in the realm of reality-touching… The key is that imaginative respect. In the world of IT we often prioritize artificial intelligence over organic intellection. When I strongly suspect that my “team leader” used to openly call his mother a “bitch”—to her face—then I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m no longer a “cultural fit” for the “universal” business team of hurray-for-everything…

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First of all it was not Carl Franklin’s fault. In fact, it was Carl that brought up the topic—“something we should get into”—during the pre-show warm-up for .NET Rocks! #416, recorded in 2009. Second of all, the fact that it has taken me three years to respond to this issue is an indicator of not how little talking about “race” means to me but how many obstacles have been holding me back from addressing this issue properly.

Hanselminutes on 9 - ASP.NET 4 and David Fowler on LinqExtender

In fact, for those who are left alive who claim to know me well—my negligence to bring up the “race issue” in detail on a popular show like .NET Rocks! would be considered yet another “contradiction” about my supposed personality. You mean to tell me Bryan did not pull the “race card” on a talk show that gets over 20 million downloads a month? What’s wrong with Bryan? Is he scared to lose his job or something? How can he look down on Microsoft and Telerik employees—and their golden muzzles when clearly he is muzzling himself with some nasty twine he found in a back alley—right?

The short response to all of these “questions” is that Carl wanted to bring up the topic. Once we got talking it was clear that I was not going to find the opportunity to get into the topic—and it would be too much of a risk to suddenly question me about it “for no reason”—surely more than one listener would accuse Carl of going way, waaay off topic.

In 2009, I was still struggling with XSLT and XML—two very, very unpopular technologies in the Microsoft world. I remember talking about the importance of the obscure System.Data.Common namespace in the .NET Framework—which is now applied in the famous Entity Framework. My struggles show up in my voice. I have a speech impediment—very similar to the one the awesome David Fowler of Microsoft has. But unlike David Fowler, I do not have Damian Edwards to stand in for me when things get a little tight and I begin to stutter.

—And for those of you who are “clever” you may now assume that I am talking about “race”… (as a reminder, I put words like “race” in quotes because this is current vernacular of the time—not my time…)

In the-history-according-to-me, David Fowler is the first Microsoft personality that is a day-to-day, social-networking power player being continually recognized for his excellence by self-described “white” people (—this is quite different from simply having one’s existence recognized, by the way). Now for the complexity: Dare Obasanjo is a Microsoft employee—what about him? There are hundreds of thousands of corporate colored folk like Dare Obasanjo—but the following is not flattery: Dare is too “high up” (or “long gone”) to be as accessible as David Fowler. I consider Dare Obasanjo to be senior—he was there before Twitter. He was there, like me, when blogging first came out—he has developed patterns and practices that do not include the activities that a young cat like David Fowler does every day. It follows that:

One of the reasons why you see so few qualified African-descended people in the usual nerd social circles is that they have no time for it. They have been so successful their lifestyle shows no need for it.

Let’s take an extreme case. Think about the Indian-descended Om Malik in the nerd circles of Leo Laporte. Om showed up on Leo’s shows a few times and then started sending his employees to appear on Leo’s shows. So what we have is a tech elite that seriously have no time to be playing around with all due respect. (What of course is subtly racist is to be angry with Om—or to accuse Om of being “arrogant” for not having time for Leo—but Leo strikes me as not being that type of guy…)

But this observation should beg the question, “Where is African-descended ‘middle-class’ of tech in this brave-new Twitter world?” I’ve got four names: David Fowler (and he’s getting richer every day so his time is running out), Tiffany B. Brown, Denise Jacobs and the super-fine network-administration geek, Adria Richards. Yes, I’m sure there’s more but few (including the people aforementioned) would want to be in my little list.

When I’ve walked into a “blacks of tech” meeting here in Southern California over the years, I have rarely run across a straight-up, hard-core software developer with strong African features. Too many (for my taste) are managers or “entrepreneurs.” It’s like being a musician with a love for the music continually trying to socialize with (and being disrespected by) predators of the music—exploiters of the music—dudes who don’t give a f’ about the music—dudes pretending to know how to play but you never see them get down.

The first hard-core software developer I ever met was a super-fine, super-model-looking database programmer from Sierra Leone. I was so excited to talk to her about tech and she was so not interested in talking about her “day job” (granted: this was before the Internet as we knew it and we were at a 20-something house party). The second hard-core software developer I met was another super-fine sister, Kathy Lott. She hired me for a while to run a program she called “Kids 2000”—using computers to teach literacy to children. The third hard-core software developer I met at a “Blacks in tech” meeting was an older brother that did work for the government. His grasp over the concepts of computer science were sage like—he was a Thelonious-Monk character, kept in the shadows like a freak while the other mediocre manager-types dominated the show.

So the previous paragraph sounds like my talk about “race” and IT has nothing to do self-described “white” folks being total assholes. No. Not so… But my point would be that I have less control over self-described “white” folks being assholes. I still assume that I have more control (and resources better spent) when talking about the deep, deep flaws in the so-called Black “community” that fails to serve/revere/encourage/respect women and men with a technical background. However, I am not going to talk about these deep, deep flaws in forum like .NET Rocks.

Now I’m going to throw out a few flippant remarks within this context constructed by me:

  • Many of the issues facing women in tech are identical to those faced by people of color in tech—especially African-descended peoples. So any new-media show about women in tech is (for me) a show about African-descended peoples in tech. …And many of these shows suck.
  • The research skills that I used to study Black History are the same skills I use to study technology. And these are quite effective. So my habit of quoting sources and providing references comes from an “unexpected place.” Thank you Dr. Gerald Horne!
  • The challenges that I face in the corporate-American IT world are largely amplifications of the same problems everyone of any skin color might have in the workplace. Think about an agile convert trying to survive in a waterfall world.
  • What is rarely explored in the context of “race” talk is something we took for granted at the beginning of our Black education: that the world as it exists today is based on foundations that are fundamentally incorrect—and this why many actual “Blacks in tech” embrace new technologies faster than their “mainstream” counterparts because we are always looking for better technical tools in this wickedly wack bullshit called “the developed world.” You think the relationship between Stevie Wonder and Ray Kurzweil was a freak accident?
  • My relationship with the concept of “correctness” is independent of any contemporary organization in the existence of my awareness. These ancient connotations—timeless connotations (after the first three minutes of the universe)—with “correctness” should be a well-known “ethnic trait” among us African descended people. It is my relationship with the sacredness of “correctness” that is the root of any conflict I may have had—and, sadly, will have—with self-described “normal” people.

I’ve heard Carl Franklin on a few rare occasions on .NET Rocks assert with a hint of irritation that he understands what is being said to him. The person talking at him is usually an asshole-like guy laying down some condescending, sophomoric “intellectual framework”—and Carl will interrupt this guy with the words, “I understand!” The world of Information Technology is full of these condescending, sophomoric characters—many of these minions are middle managers. You notice how “race” has nothing to do with this asshole situation? “Race” merely amplifies this situation. What racism does is help me find these assholes (and often unemployment) faster.

There is no need to slay the wicked.

Just leave them to themselves.

And they will perish…

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