2013/Expanding Your Empathy

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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.

Speaker: Kronda Adair

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Contributed notes

#OSempathy - hashtag

Need to be aware of the bubble that's your own world

"Don't like beer" may make you get marginalized

  • true - lots of tech events focus on alcohol


  • stop street harassment

priveledge is like browsers

  • we see the same pages, but we don't see them the same way
  • being a trans differently-abled person is like running IE6 in quirks mode - no one supports you.

Stop drop and roll - so that when you're on fire, and you can't think, you just do

  • when an ally screws up and someone calls you on something:
  1. Stop (shut up, take your hands off the keyboard)
  2. Listen (with an open mind)
  3. Apologize (sincerely)

Expand your empathy by branching out and talking to people who aren't like you.

Book - How to be Black

Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler

Uniting to Understand Racism

Race talks at the Kennedy school

People to follow on twitter:

  • Arrakis of Sarcasm - @yeloson - racism in america
  • Julie Pagno - @juliepagano
  • @tiffani
  • @shakestweetz
  • @ashedryden

Kronda (Kuh-rawn-duh) @kronda kronda.com

prepared for this talk as a 42 yo gay black woman in the whitest city in the USA.

African American 2% in 2011 census.

kidnergarten empathy - your circle.

on the internet: pygate instance of a phenomenon that keeps going.

she wrote a php function about oppression and there's a while loop...... the end while is commented out. it happens, there's backlash.

geek feminism wiki examples of sexism in tech. back to 1973

last month at drupalcon.... alienated folks by using a mom doesn't know tech slide for the 3rd year in a row.

even nice people make mistakes sometimes

but there are hopeful things!

  * black girls code
  * pyladies
  * revision path

     * shows interviews with developers of color.
        * gives a wider vision of who is in the industry

Future of tech... photo of GitHub.... look, they're all white. Whoa.

we all live in a bubble


  * marginalization vs privilege

there's an xkcd.... you suck at math.... vs girls suck at math pressure of representing your group. how about escaping to the movies?

90% of DC movies are focused on men. women are the supporting characters.

        • me as gunea pig poking Sam Livingston 156 times over 2 minutes

an example of microaggressions. they add up over time. like 1000 tiny papercuts.

Things to Avoid:

 1. derailing
   1. I'm pissed off about ____...... 
   2. 77 cents on every man's dollar..... 
     1. what's your source.  that's not the issue.
   3. how to tell people how to respond doesn't help.  
 2. tone policing
   1. "i'd be on your side if you weren't so angry"
   2. no, it isn't about you.  its about the 1000 tiny papercuts.
   3. she got into a twitter fight the other day:  storify.com/ephanypdx/tone-policing
 3. mansplaining
   1. "oh wait, I can explain!"  funny
   2. let me tell you what its like to be a woman.
     1. mansplained.tumblr.com
   3. for every time she tweets, there are 150 times she didn't
     1. and then she gets:  its not that bad really.....
     2. not relevant

so now what? (quicksand pic) you will screw up.

here's what she's learned: let it go. apologize.

you know how there things drilled into you? stop drop and roll. why? when you're on fire, you need an instinctive response.

eg: keys, wallet, phone.

so, instinct on this is fight or flight. three step plan

 1. Stop
   1. shut up, don't speak, take a breath
 2. Listen
   1. first before second.
   2. she notes she's pretty able bodied.  in a chat room she said something is lame.  some responded with that being ableist.  in her head, she's like whats that mean?  
 3. Apologize
   1. this is hard, but not that hard.
   2. just has to be sincere.  
   3. this magic happens... you get to move on.  

so you know: need to find more people, and now, evaluate.... what does my world look like? Evaluate your circle. branch out of your comfort zone

Baratunde (thurston) quote about going on facebook for black friends. haha.

race talks every month, check em out! place to ask all the questions. http://www.understandracism.org/ http://www.mcmenamins.com/events/87117-Race-Talks-Opportunities-for-Dialogue

people to follow on twitter: @femfreq @yeloson - on race and culture @juliepag....? @revisionpath @tiffani - awesome dev in LA @ashedryden

being a good ally is a process, never a state of being. your homework should you choose to accept it:

 1. listen
 2. share, talk
 3. speak up for others

You can be that person! kronda.com/diversity-101