Iâve been reading the work of @shanleyâwork like âWhatâs Wrong With @antirezâs Post on Sexism in ITââand I can immediately tell that I donât need to be writing carefully around her thinking. I sense an authenticity in her strength of characterâwhether the character is one designed for writing publically or actually hers in ârealâ life.
I wrote in âWhy I failed to talk to Carl Franklin about âRaceâ in the IT (Information Technology) WorldâŠâ that the prejudice against women in the IT workplace is almost identical to that of the racist aesthetic used to poison âminorities.â In âWhat Your Culture Really Says,â @shanley makes my point without really trying:
What your culture might actually be saying isâŠ 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 âarenât a culture fitâ while not having to examine what that means – and it might mean that weâre 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 employeesâ friend and social groups.
I am embarrassed for the self-described Black women and men of tech that Iâve encountered digitally over the years because I know that too many of these folks would not only fail to write like this in publicâeven under an assumed name like âThe Corporate Negroââbut 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, Iâm pretty sure that @shanley is not Black.
Whatâs deeper here is that I am almost certain that @shanley and I would agree that most IT âculturesâ are Lord-of-the-Flies boyâs clubs (you can even have a âdiverseâ boyâs 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 âevilâ about these clubsâuntil they start telling lies to themselves and others that they represent a âuniversalâ 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. Iâve worked in astrophysics labs and some of the first personal computer labs for institutional education in the country. Iâve worked in multi-billion-dollar finance, pharmaceutical and entertainment companies. Iâm not talking out of ignorance. I donât 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-touchingâŠ 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 âteam leaderâ used to openly call his mother a âbitchââto her faceâthen I know itâs only a matter of time before Iâm no longer a âcultural fitâ for the âuniversalâ business team of hurray-for-everythingâŠ