Expanding Your Empathy

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Intermediate
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B204

Excerpt

I believe empathy is the core competency that is missing from much of the efforts to push the tech community in a direction towards more diversity of all kinds. Companies, communities and conferences cannot expect everything to magically change until they're willing to go deep and examine the systemic patterns and structures that keep underrepresented communities from feeling safe and welcome in the tech space.

Description

I believe empathy is the core competency that is missing from much of the efforts to push the tech community in a direction towards more diversity of all kinds. Companies, communities and conferences cannot expect everything to magically change until they’re willing to go deep and examine the systemic patterns and structures that keep underrepresented communities from feeling safe and welcome in the tech space.

When confronting racism results in a critique of the manner in which the offender was confronted by the people calling themselves supporters, it makes it that much harder to address the real issues.

If a man’s first response to a woman complaining about a sexist incident or a sexual assault is to defend all the men who ’aren’t like that,’ that shows a lack of empathy. It keeps the focus on how men are being perceived, not empathizing with a woman who has been hurt.

This talk is for people in positions of all sorts of privilege who consider themselves allies to underrepresented minorities and want to learn how to be more effective allies.

We’ll talk about what it’s like to live as a minority—why someone might have what seems to you like an ‘overreaction’ to something that seems small.

How to stop, drop, and empathize before you go on the personal defensive for anger that’s directed at a group that you happen to be a part of, even if you didn’t specifically do anything wrong.

We’ll talk about tone policing, derailing, man-splaining and other hurtful behaviors that are sometimes practiced by well meaning people who consider themselves allies.

Leave your ego at the door and come with an open heart.

Slides for this presentation can be found at: https://speakerdeck.com/kronda/expanding-your-empathy

Speaking experience

I am a black lesbian woman living and working in Portland, OR, one of the whitest large cities in the U.S. I have spent most of my adult life educating those around me about racism, sexism, homophobia and privilege as a matter of survival.

I began speaking formally on panels about my experiences as a queer black woman starting in high school and continuing through college. Last year I participated in a six week dialogue series, Uniting to Understand Racism http://www.understandracism.org/

I am relatively new to the technology field and have not spoken at a tech conference before, but I am comfortable speaking in front of groups. I intend this talk to be more of a dialogue than a lecture.

Speaker

  • Kronda headshot small

    Kronda Adair

    Karvel Digital

    Biography

    Kronda Adair is the founder of Karvel Digital, a WordPress consultancy and development company. In addition to developing websites, Kronda gives business owners the training they need to own and manage their digital presence.

    She is a regular speaker at WordPress meetups and Wordcamps. She has been invited to speak at Ada Developer Academy, Beyond the Code, Lesbians Who Tech Summit, and others. She has given talks on WordPress deployment processes, successful site planning, starting your own business and more.

    She also writes and speaks about issues of diversity (or lack thereof) in the tech industry. She has been interviewed by sites such as Revision Path and Less Than or Equal. You can read her personal blog at kronda.com or sign up for her weekly newsletter at tinyletter.com/kronda

    Her latest project is a book for business owners on managing your website and other digital assets, to be released in the fall of 2015.

    When she’s not working, she can be found enjoying time at home with her wife and two cats, reading dead-tree books, riding one of her five bikes, or enjoying the postcard vistas of the state of Oregon.

    Sessions

      • Title: Expanding Your Empathy
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B204
      • Time: 1:302:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        I believe empathy is the core competency that is missing from much of the efforts to push the tech community in a direction towards more diversity of all kinds. Companies, communities and conferences cannot expect everything to magically change until they’re willing to go deep and examine the systemic patterns and structures that keep underrepresented communities from feeling safe and welcome in the tech space.

      • Speakers: Kronda Adair