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Aside: I've looked at that BlackGirlsCode link a bit more and I'm quite shocked that such segregation is encouraged, lauded even. Now there's some argument to support educating the sexes separately but if you're an asian girl living in Brooklyn (say) you can't go? Just because you're Asian ... ??? Really? What if you're half-Asian+half-African, how about your skins black but you're South American. Damn.

Do people really think you get rid of negative discrimination by doing more of it; how can such racism be positive?

From their website:

    "*Sadly, San Francisco’s digital divide falls along the same racial and social fault lines that characterize so many of society’s issues. White households are twice as likely to have home Internet access as African American houses. Bayview Hunters Point, Crocker Amazon, Chinatown, Visitacion Valley, and the Tenderloin have significantly lower rates of home technology use than the rest of the city. Sixty-six percent of Latinos report having a home computer, as opposed to 88 percent of Caucasians.*
    *Through community outreach programs such as workshops and after school programs, we introduce underprivileged girls to basic programming skills in languages like Scratch and Ruby on Rails.*"
If the racial divide is so disheartening why add your own. If you want to help the disadvantaged then help the disadvantaged not "all the disadvantaged with the right skin colour". Damn.


Edit: I've redacted my over-flamy end comment.

Hey I'm a white dude and I've worked with Black Girls Code on a few workshops. Just FYI girls of any race are allowed, it's just that this particular group caters primarily to black girls.

I'd say from the outside looking in it is a thorny subject, but in my observance BGC are good people who care about their community and are giving back to it through the knowledge and resources they've accrued.

Thanks for your comment and your work - beta is one of the tools being used at BGC isn't it¹. More power to your arm! [or firings to your synapses or whatever].

>my observance BGC are good people who care about their community

It's such a shame then that they promote themselves as only caring for the part of their community that has a particular colour of skin.

¹ - http://betathegame.com/

It's such a shame then that they promote themselves as only caring for the part of their community that has a particular colour of skin.

I honestly can't tell if you're trolling here.

In case you aren't: that is not what they are doing, and it also isn't a shame. Helping out people who are historically disadvantaged and face current discrimination is nothing to be ashamed about. The goal is to level the playing field.

As a white guy, I got plenty of people helping me out for no good reason: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-th...

And I am not the only one who has noticed this. E.g.: http://pgbovine.net/tech-privilege.htm

As somebody who financially supports BGC and aims to mentor at some of their workshops, I think they're doing great stuff.

Thanks for the link to scalzi [1] - "Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is". It was a really good read.

[1]: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-th...

I'm not a SWM and I think this stupid article has done a lot to damage the cause of equality. It is tactically, morally, and ethically stupid. I wish people would stop linking it, but sjws gonna sjw, I guess. Getting an angry response from disadvantaged people is more entertaining than doing the dull dreary or the high risk scary work of actually helping underprivileged succeed.


Could you explain what harm you think this article has done, and which disadvantage people are providing the angry response?

All the liberal white guys growing up to middle class parents in California read that and say "I guess I should feel really guilty for all I've been given in life".

All the white guys that grew up in the poor rural South and fought to learn about tech read that and say "fuck off, Scalzi". And then they spend the rest of their lives hearing from the other white guys about how their accomplishments are hollow for the rest of their lives.

Asians sit on the sidelines, largely ignored, quietly falsifying the "oppressor/oppressed" narrative[1] and driving social justice warriors crazy.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_Un...

Asians throw the "white privilege" theory for a loop, because they face the same challenges as other people of color, and yet still manage to succeed admirably. Victim-lovers don't like them for that very reason, because they don't play very good racial victims - they are too busy succeeding.

Not at all. That one group has privilege doesn't mean no other group can. Here, for example, is a programmer talking about how he was privileged for looking like an Asian guy: http://pgbovine.net/tech-privilege.htm

White privilege by the way, isn't a theory. It's a fact. E.g.: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9873

Or, more entertainingly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4f9zR5yzY

This collectivism grouping of people with 'privilege' is so bogus it's astounding that people follow it so blindly.

Have you ever considered the possibility that people can judge other people based on their individual merits, not by the actions/inactions of people with the same colour of their skin or gender?

Furthermore, you quote one white paper to prove that white privilege is fact - how does that paper prove anything is factual?

If a lot of people see something you don't, they could all be deluded. Or you could just be missing something. Also, people aren't going to take you very seriously if you run around accusing them of being blind. Even when you're right.

Actually, there's a lot of research that shows that the default condition of humankind is not to judge other people based on their individual merits. And that probably includes you. Try some of these on for size: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

That paper proves that just having a name that people perceive as white gives you a substantial advantage in job searches. That is one small aspect of white privilege. There are a raft of studies like this. That's just one that stuck in my head.

I have no doubt that systemic racism still exists, particularly in the United States.

Certainly, that paper provides evidence that those with African American sounding names are at a disadvantage to people with white sounding names when applying for jobs.

Calling this disparity a 'privilege' and not a 'disadvantage' that needs to be corrected only stands as a reason to vilify one group, rather than lift the other, disadvantaged group up.

It's practically become a social faux pas to comment on anything in regards to social equity if you're a 'cigender white male' because of all the 'privilege' that group of people have. Case in point, this entire controversy with PG.

The word privilege has become so loaded that it's almost a catch all to dismiss or denigrate people's character irregardless of the quality of the content.

It's not that I think anyone is deluded, or blind. The language used has just become so muddled as to be almost worthless.

So your theory is that when I note my privilege, I am vilifying... myself?

I don't think that's what's going on at all. Privilege checklists, for example, are written by and for privileged people: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Privilege_checklist

Maybe the term is muddled for you, but for me it's a pretty specific technical term, and most usages of it I see are pretty accurate.

I think the "disadvantage" term can have some utility, but for me it misses important nuances. One is that disadvantage sounds pretty abstract, pretty diffuse. E.g., disadvantaged youth are ones that happen to be born into poverty. But differential hiring based on names is active and specific.

Another is that thing many of the actions that make up privilege are positive ones. People helped me out in ways that other people just weren't helped. For example, when you look at the makeup of company boards or executive rosters, it's not like anybody said, "Hey, let's keep the women out." It's just that they happened to promote a lot more guys.

But the biggest thing for me is it puts the focus for action in the right place: on the people who are privileged. With power comes responsibility. White privilege is mainly white people helping other white people. That will only change if enough individual white people notice their privilege and act.

No, that is not what I said. I said calling it privilege only stands as a reason to vilify a group. Whether or not you choose to do that is up to you. You and many others seem to have taken the tact of creating a sense of responsibility to those who you deem to be privileged based on something they have had zero control over - their name, gender or ethnic backgrounds.

The focus of anyone interested in social equality should be to raise those with disadvantages up, not to impart a sense of blame and responsibility on those who fall into Peggy McIntosh's definition of privileged.

Recognising and providing support for those who are disadvantaged achieves that. Blaming those who do not have these disadvantages as if there's a concerted effort to screw the disadvantaged is great if you want to encourage victimhood and a lack of self determination for those you're attempting to help.

You seem to have a lot of opinions on the right way to do this. What experience do you have that would encourage others to give weight to your opinions? Perhaps you can share a couple of your notable successes and a couple of instructive failures.

Having talked with a lot of people you consider "disadvantaged" about this, they mostly disagree with you. As do plenty of other people.

I personally find the framing of privilege useful in evaluating and improving my own actions, as well as evaluating the actions of others. Having never heard of Peggy McIntosh before this moment, I can confidently say that I'm not really interested in her definitions of who's privileged and who's not.

Having been born white, I do of course recognize that I didn't pick that. I don't think people are responsible for things they have zero control over. But when those things give them power, I do think they are responsible for how they use it.

My experience is that of a white male. Does that make my opinions or viewpoint any less valid in your eyes?

I've expressed one opinion on 'the right way to do this'. Help the disadvantaged - and don't vilify those with perceived advantages that they have no control over.

I could ask the exact same thing of your background and why you feel that your opinion is more valid than mine, but instead I'd prefer to address the content of what you're saying, rather than what your background is.

I have also talked with a lot of people that I consider "disadvantaged", and they do agree with me. As do plenty of other people.

The Geekfeminism wiki page that you linked lists Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", which was the first 'Privilege checklist'.

I'm surprised you haven't even bothered to read the original writing that frames the world view you've accepted as fact.

Your opinions are less valid when they make assumptions about the lived experience of other people. This is what the concept of 'privilege' is useful for - removing the unconscious bias that is loaded into your view of how other people experience the world.

When you make statements about how other people should act in a certain situation, it is useful to consider your cultural biases. This is what privilege checklists are useful for.

If you receive a strong 'check your privilege!' response to something you say, it just means that what you are saying doesn't seem to take into consideration what it is like to be the other person.

If you feel that you have taken this into consideration, then you can say so! Or you can ask for help in unfolding your biases. Just be aware that there might be a conversation going on that you are interrupting and that those involved might not have time to help you.

Privilege isn't about vilification, it is about trying to understand the experiences of other people.

Yes. That is one of the ways that the concept of privilege has been most useful to me: in getting me to pay attention to my unconscious biases.

One of the useful analogies for me has been Acquired Situational Narcissism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism_%28psychology%29#Acq...

It's a diagnosable variant of narcissism in which a person, like a young celebrity, becomes convinced that it's all about them because they spend long enough in a context where everybody acts like it's all about them.

I had known about ASN for a few years when I ran across the concept of privilege. Then I took some of the Implicit Association Tests, which made it clear to me that I was, like the rest of humanity, not the perfectly balanced intellect I wanted to think of myself as.

I basically had to admit that I'd spent decades fooling myself. It wasn't, as I thought, that I, e.g., "didn't see color". Instead, it was that I didn't see my seeing of color. What else about my mind and my social interactions did I not see?

Those dominoes are still falling.

Well good news: the reason I talk about privilege is to help the disadvantaged without vilifying anybody. If somebody is doing some vilifying somewhere, maybe you should go talk to them.

I don't think my opinion is more valuable than yours. I do think that the opinions of a non-disadvantaged person (which I'm just going to call advantaged, because that's less clumsy) on how to achieve social justice aren't very persuasive to me unless they've actually tried those opinions out in the field and had some success with them. Similarly, the views of managers on how to code are unpersuasive to me unless they have spent a lot of time coding. Experience matters.

Now that you mention it, I did read "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" years ago. But I'm uninterested in the academic side of this except so far as it has practical utility to me. I use the framework of privilege because it has been very useful to me both in sorting out my own bullshit and in working on these issues. Note that I don't accept the frame as fact; frames can't be factual. What I'm asserting is factual is the substantial advantages that particular groups have, the data of which you apparently don't dispute.

So I think where we've gotten to is that you, a white guy with no apparent experience of either experiencing or fighting disadvantage, has some strong opinions on how social justice should happen. And I say: that's great. Go do that and let me know how that works. But having once held your view and moved on to a different one after years of thought and experience, I'm going to stick with mine for now.

People aren't doing any vilifying? Have you not been witness to the absolute carnage that has ensued for Paul Graham since being misquoted? Are we actually communicating on the same website right now?

My opinions are tantamount to a manager saying 'You want to learn to code? I may not know how to code, but I will provide you a helping hand and resources to help you learn.' I see nothing even remotely contentious about this.

You claim that you are uninterested in the academic side of this topic and yet you debate a random person on the semantics of a word on HN and post links to academic research on the topic. Could you be any more disingenuous?

Speaking of being disingenuous, you completely misconstrued what I said in regards to your world view - here's exactly what I wrote:

"I'm surprised you haven't even bothered to read the original writing that frames the world view you've accepted as fact."

I never made a claim that 'frames can be factual', or anything of the sort. A few comments ago you made the assertion that:

"White privilege by the way, isn't a theory. It's a fact."

I think where we've gotten to is actually you, a white guy with no apparent intelligence have nothing better to do with your life than try (and fail, miserably) at imparting your world view on someone. Congratulations, keep at that.

I did not closely follow the Graham thing. I did not say that nobody was doing any vilifying. I said that if somebody was, you should be talking to them, not me.

I guess we disagree on how I should take your opinions, but that is not a surprise.

You did claim that I had accepted a "world view" as fact. I consider a frame and a world view effectively the same, so that's what I meant. You should also decide whether you think I misconstrued what you said, or whether I'm being disingenuous. Accusing me of both at once isn't really coherent.

I'm sure that last paragraph is meant to be devastating, but you're going to have to try harder than that. Like Scalzi, my opinion is that a lot of young white males are going to have little tantrums when I talk about privilege, because that's easier for them than the discomfort of actually accepting their unearned advantages. That's fine. Eventually you'll get over it. Or you'll grow up into a bitter old white male, increasingly resentful about your diminishing privilege. I'd rather it were the former, but it's up to you.

He just hasn't mastered the social justice narrative. He is being oppressed by the white stereotype that Asians are smart.

The Asian article was interesting. It is, however, downplayed

I still don't buy the whole white privilege concept as something distinct from being a simple numerical majority. One paper on some exaggerated African sounding names compared to some typical English names does not prove a whole lot. Among other things, There would need to be a control group with some names that sound both (1) white and (2) strange to English speaking ears.

Obviously, there are advantages to being white in this society as Louis CK points out, just as there are advantages to being black, and advantages to being Asian. Yet almost no one talks about black privilege, or Asian privilege. Except possibly Gavin McInnes, and then only ironically, as a comment on white privilege: http://takimag.com/article/tackling_asian_privilege_gavin_mc...

How about Sunni / Shia muslims in Iraq under Saddam? The Shia population is by far the majority, but Saddam was Sunni. The Ba'ath party violently persecuted the Shia popluation. I think it is safe to say that you would be privileged to be Sunni in this population, even though they by no means constituted the majority.

There are advantages to being members of all sorts of groups, but the advantage of being a member of SWM is particularly strong and has been quantified widely [1].

[1]: http://www.jimchines.com/2012/05/facts-are-cool/

edit: Perhaps you were limiting your first statement to within particular groups, e.g. tech, where there is a majority of SWM. The thing is, a majority of the privileged group is what you'd expect, right?

"Sounds strange" is part of how privilege works.

What those names actually sound to target audience is white and black. If you read the section on how they picked the names, those were the most obviously white and black names they could come up with, using both census data and actual reactions to resumes.

That a typical black name sounds exaggerated and African to you is a pretty good sign you aren't black. Jamal, for example, is an Arabic name. If you look at name frequencies from 1979, some names of equivalent frequency to Lakisha are Janice, Christa, Gloria, Lynn, Shelley, and Alexis. For Jamal, names of similar frequency are Rudy, Josh, Allan, and Gordon. (Source: US Social Security department.) If you think this study would be materially different with Janice and Gordon than Emily and Greg, you're welcome to run it. But I think you'd be wasting your time.

I used to live in Chicago, where they did this study, and definitely knew both of those names, so they didn't sound "strange" to me, not in the sense of "I've never heard of this name," anyhow. They did sound strange in the sense of, "not part of my tribe," though. As a white guy who grew up in a white area of a neighboring state, I didn't personally know anybody with those names until later in life. But I knew they were black names.

And that's the kind of "sounds strange" that can influence hiring decisions. Not one person need say, "I hate black people, so I'm throwing this resume out." All they have to do is start callbacks with the one that "looks best" to them, one they have a good feeling about. One that seems the least strange.

The reason that the people who talk about privilege don't talk much about black privilege or female privilege is that they are pursuing social justice. Their effort is part of a long historical arc going back to when black people were property and women might as well have been. Once we've finished tiding that mess up, I imagine the conversation will shift quite a bit.

I didn't explain what I meant very well.

What I had in mind was that for a white English speaker, the 'black' names would probably sound foreign and unfamiliar, but non-English names from white countries (e.g. Norway, Iceland, Sweden) would also sound foreign and unfamiliar.

The question I was curious to answer was, are the people who are assessing resumes responding to an impulse (conscious or unconscious) of:

- "hmm, that name sounds black" or

- "hmm, that name sounds unfamiliar and foreign"?

With the former, it sounds like racism, with the latter, it sounds like generic suspicion of foreigners, concern about English communication ability, etc.

Maybe it's an academic point because in a US context, there are probably more people with "American Black" names that sound unfamiliar to white, English-speaking Americans, than there are Norwegians or Icelanders with similarly unfamiliar names.

Ah, I see what you're saying. Sorry for the confusion.

In some sense, I suspect the two aren't totally distinguishable, because I expect the underlying mechanism is at least partly an in-group vs out-group mechanism. Indeed, the social justice technical term "othering" is about how people take actual present people and dehumanize them by activating negative intergroup biases.

In this case, the researchers used in-person surveys to judge that the names specifically were perceived as black, rather than merely unknown.

From the [FAQ]:

4.I’m a straight white male and my life isn’t easy! My life sucks! Your “lowest difficulty setting” doesn’t account for that!

That’s actually fully accounted for in the entry. Go back and read it again.

This one’s a stand-in for all the complaints about the entry that come primarily either from not reading the entry, or not reading what was actually written in the entry in preference to a version of the entry that exists solely in that one person’s head, and which is not the entry I wrote. Please, gentlemen, read what is there, not what you think is there, or what you believe must be there because you know you already disagree with what I have to say, no matter what it is I am saying.

[FAQ]: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/17/lowest-difficulty-sett...

I'm certainly not saying that anybody's accomplishments are hollow, and I'm not saying anybody should feel guilty. Neither I nor Scalzi feels guilty about having privilege. The question for us is what we do with it.

Haha, I see that you are still posting links to that scalzi crap.

And as long as guys are still acting in ignorance of their privilege, I'll keep posting that and similar resources.

But as long as we're talking about it, you might benefit by reading his FAQ in response to the post: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/17/lowest-difficulty-sett...

He's mainly addressing the straight white males of the Internet who thought the piece was crap, so it's basically for you.

How do you know he's a straight white male? Can you tell race, genitalia, and sexual orientation by typing style? Are you going to tell me to check my male privilege next?

If somebody other than a straight white male has freaked out about the Scalzi piece, I haven't seen it yet. If Jim Zvz is not among that group, he is welcome to correct me, and to be clearer about his concerns about the piece.

Until you've been a victim of the kind of systemic racism they are trying to reverse, maybe consider that you know nothing about how such efforts should market themselves?

Thanks, I guess? I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic it's hard to tell online. Just so you know I am not trying to argue with you, just sharing my experience with BGC.

You are correct that Beta is a tool being used at BGC, and we collaborate with other organizations listed by mikeleeorg.

I understand what you are saying however it's my opinion that any community (racial, ethnic, religious etc) that is attempting to impart knowledge is doing a good thing. Particularly when that knowledge is important and beneficial to the future, as I believe programming is.

Every time...

Theory: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6441795

Potential examples:

  1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6885123 - Homeless coder starts app
  2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6365495 - Africans genetically more corrupt?
  3. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6448409 - Rick Ross's history
  4. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6857739 - Nelson Mandela dies
  5. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6035263 - (Most obvious)Resume with black vs white name
  6. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6902563 - Cover up of racist+sexist mindset in Harvard
  7. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6907915 - Homeless coder finishes app
  8. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6975732 - BlackGirlsCode event
I'm going to just keep on collecting these links and post the list on every instance I see. This will be added as the 9th.

That's the amazing thing about threading. One can comment on a specific issue without derailing a main thread. I noted it was an aside (OT if you prefer) - I don't see how allowing the promotion of racism helps the thread any more than my your injunction to others to ignore it. If you don't want to comment, don't. It's an affront to the community here IMO for you to tell us what we may or may not discuss.

Edit: I think you edit-bombed me? The person running blackgirlscode and the other volunteers seem to be doing a fantastic job. The girls attending seem to be enjoying, getting encourage, learning. I don't know the community it's based in. Racial segregation is not the way.

Yes I did edit. My original comment was congratulating & encouraging HN for ignoring & downvoting your comment but then the replies started coming in and your comment was no longer greyed-out, so instead I just changed my comment into my standard copy&paste list and you are now the 9th on the list when the next time I need to post it arises.

That is all.

Why the fuck is this being downvoted?

The comment isn't stupid: such gender/race discrimination _may_ backfire(for example, if your message is read not as "black girls have the same abilities but may need extra help" but as "black girls need extra help because they are black & girls -- inherently less smart and talented". Now, I'm not saying that it _will_ backfire(I guess it probably won't) but it _may_.

Also, the author makes a really good point that you probably want to help all disadvantaged(unless you're racist/sexist for some reason): why exclude asian girls if they get less help?

I get that, in fact, race/gender discrimination may be the best way to fight race/gender discrimination of the past, but this point of view requires much more explanation than simply hitting downvote button.

> Also, the author makes a really good point that you probably want to help all disadvantaged(unless you're racist/sexist for some reason): why exclude asian girls if they get less help?

That one group is focussed on dealing with the problems experienced by one disadvantaged group does not imply intent to exclude others, it can just mean that they feel that the particular reason that one group is underrepresented are specific and that that is what they are focussed on addressing.

Particularly if the problem they are addressing isn't outright racism/sexism, but disadvantage due to mainstream educational systems being culturally maladapted to the target group, other groups -- even if similarly disadvantaged by the mainstream system -- may naturally not be well served by their particular programs either, and making clear where the focus is helps people to find the right fit for their needs.

Obviously, the ideal state would be to not need such targetted groups, but the existence of disadvantage doesn't mean that there is a good short-term one-size fits all solution.

Come back when black women run the Federal Reserve and have corrupted it to their own benefit. Then, maybe, we can talk about "backfiring."

It is not like profit from white males running Federal Reserves automatically goes to underadvantaged white males.

My point is that if you believe in equal abilities regardless of race/gender then you probably want to completely get rid of race and gender fields in your application form. And if you actually support discriminating against these fields, then you have to explain your decision rather than simply hit downvote button.

I can see how BlackGirlsCode may help people, but I also can see how it may harm. My guess: it probably helps(although I'm not an american). Downvote irrelevant comments not comments you disagree with.

> My point is that if you believe in equal abilities regardless of race/gender then you probably want to completely get rid of race and gender fields in your application form.

You probably want to avoid them being used in selection decisions, but you may -- particularly if you are a group whose mission is dealing with the specific barriers to a specific disadvantaged race/sex subgroup -- want to have them on your admission form so that you can assess (a) whether you are effectively serving your mission, and (b) whether your program has broader utility than you expected and perhaps should be described differently.

Polling can be done anonymously and posteriori.

Doing it a-priori is not needed and has serious implications.

I didn't downvote you.

Having grown up in a poor rural area without access to the internet until the age of 18, I get pretty pissed off when leftists judge me based on my genitals and skin color. Where do they get off assuming that I've had everything in life handed to me because I'm a white male? When did it become acceptable behavior to say that to a person's face?

That's not the only way a project can backfire.

For example, if BlackGirlsCode produces a generation of black women who are perfectly capable programmers but believe that they're only capable "for black girls" and not by the tougher standards of asian men, that's backfiring. Such graduates will not go on to found startups or even apply for jobs at the best companies. They will probably have less overall life success than if they hadn't entered the program.

Or if the graduates are fine, but it's a resume stain, because everyone who hears about it thinks "These are people who need special help. I don't want to work with people like that. I want to work with self-sufficient people." So the graduates can't find jobs or investors. That's a backfire.

Or if it works well for the small number of people directly touched, but the much larger number of people peripherally touched become more likely to think that programmers are divided into "black" and "nonblack" and subconsciously act on that. It's a smaller effect, but a larger group of people and could easily be a net loss. That's a backfire too.

everyone who hears about it thinks "These are people who need special help. I don't want to work with people like that. I want to work with self-sufficient people."

Funny, fraternity/sorority membership is not interpreted so negatively as to mean the person needs special help acquiring social connections.

Your comment is insinuating that Asian, Indian, etc women and men have corrupted it for their own beefit, and that this corruption somehow benefits a mutual-aid society of white males. Is that what you intend to claim?

I don't think so, but I can't quite make out what words you're trying to ascribe to me.

Have you ever heard of the term "old boys club", how about "glass ceiling"? These terms didn't come out of a vacuum.

How about the "glass floor"?

This is troll under the guise of charity.

It's provocative, distracting and subverting - Introducing a politically sensitive, racially charged, artificial problem.

This will incite anger through political correctness. The cause is bogus.

Snubbing it is politically incorrect to criticize women and ethnic minorities in the west.

Non sequitur, PC trolls like this can do as much distracting as they please.

Why not bring up english? There are many people who are engineers who would benefit from localized API and developer documentation and understanding english better.

If you want discrimination in engineering - I'm surprised no one brings up english.

Edit to below: Sorry for editing this after your reply. I didn't notice.

You make a great point aboit the use of English for documentation, and the need for translation to other languages to promote computing in different nations.

See how I didn't mention race or sex or sexuality? That's because you don't need to mention that other stuff when you have a tight focus.

"Help girls code" does not mean "stop translating documentation to Portuguese".

"Help translate all these documentations and apis to many languages" doesn't mean "don't bother spending time teaching girls to code".

Dan, even using english as a first language - I have a difficult time articulating this subject.

1. English

English is the more topic subject dividing engineers and programmer's from reaching their potential. These are people who are already on their path and passionate about growing themselves into programmers.

Can you imagine how we can help them? Their potential if they have localized documentation?

A story of disadvantage - imagine having an issue and being powerless to articulate yourself to a predominately english-speaking world of engineers. What about their hearts, their passions?

And this is effective, safe. Helps people. Constructive. This is great news man.

Now you see where I'm going?

2. The PC troll issue

I feel tempted to blurt out every emotion. But when a particular group is mentioned - we have to make everyone happy? Why is pycon code of conduct pulled off geekfeminism.org (http://jessenoller.com/blog/2012/12/7/the-code-of-conduct). This is sensitivity not to woman, but I feel it's creating a culture of hysteria.

Truly, I do not believe woman in the first world (I'm sorry if this offends people) are at risk of rape or sexual harassment at conferences. Most conferences do not have codes of conduct that state this because it makes you ask, "Why?". Do these people ever go outside, to starbucks, etc? Do they live in a Chapel away from vulgar language and stringent political correctness? I'm deeply sorry to offend anyone here.

But how do you even get to Pycon if you're in this feminist Cabal? Do you go around in a bubble when you're outside? Especially in SF where radical free expression is so prevalent, it's amazing how the when it gets to the workplace and conferences, women (a select few), pull what we may see as a 180. Now they're ultra-chaste, "triggered"* by humor they probably laughed out at dinners before, especially in front of more confident and boastful company.

I feel I can't talk about anything. I feel it's a sand pit meant to distract and divide. I feel like I can't express myself in the most basic ways.

* Triggered means PTSD for traumatic events in their past. So now it's not a matter of political niche. Ever study cognitive-behavioral psychology? People can link a bad memory to anything!

The problem is that you don't understand what racism is. Racism isn't just treating someone differently because she belongs to a different race. Racism has more to do with power dynamics than with color of a person's skin.

For example, just because a college has different standards of admission for different races to promote diversity is not racism but to give preferential treatment to the group of people who have more social and economic power. That's racism.

BlackGirlsCode is not a racist organization. Actually to the contrary, its trying to improve the opportunities to the most under-represented group of people in tech industry. This is a good thing for the tech sector. To focus on blank girls, this organization can be much more effective in its goal (to make tech sector more inclusive) than if it was a "PeopleCode" or even a "GirlsCode" group.

While that's an interesting view, it's also wrong. It might make for a good way of justifying things in your mind, you should really take a look at the more common definitions of racism to understand why this point of view you have in one held by a minority of people.

Hey, you know what? If every black person sees you and thinks "honkey," you will likely experience hurt feelings, and a slight discomfort when in certain neighborhoods. You probably will stop going to those places. It would be very hard to blame lack of progress in your professional or academic career on this perception. You could go almost your whole life without that perception having any tangible manifestation in your life.

If every white person thinks the N-word when he sees a black person, that fact creates an inescapable environment of hostility where anyone would feel completely helpless to create any sort of positive future for themselves. Of course we don't live in a world where everyone is this blatantly racist. The point of this is to explain to you in a different way why racism is more powerful than just "you exclude people based on race." Some people need environments where they can feel comfortable learning, before they can get up to speed and have the confidence to defend themselves against criticism and hostility.

...you should really take a look at the more common definitions of racism to understand why this point of view you have in one held by a minority of people.

Right. Because letting the majority population define which terms an aggrieved minority can use to describe its own situation is completely sensible. What a surprise, the discriminated minority has a different view of the majority's behaviors than do those in the majority!

> "Right. Because letting the majority population define which terms an aggrieved minority can use to describe its own situation is completely sensible. What a surprise, the discriminated minority has a different view of the majority's behaviors than do those in the majority!"


Perfectly stated. Seems like the people at BCG are trying to help girls learn to code, with an emphasis on those who are black--because of a range of obstacles that might otherwise prevent these girls from learning.

And let's be honest here: if BCG didn't do this work to encourage black women and girls to code, who would? I see nothing wrong with their desire to encourage black girls to learn more about coding.

>Right. Because letting the majority population define which terms an aggrieved minority can use to describe its own situation is completely sensible. What a surprise, the discriminated minority has a different view of the majority's behaviors than do those in the majority!

Ha! I've had to respond to this "point" more times than I can count and I really like how you put this. I think I'm going to steal this for next time :)

Not that it changes your overall point, but note that California no longer has a majority population along racial lines.

(Sorry, accidental downvote while attempting to select text)

> Not that it changes your overall point, but note that California no longer has a majority population along racial lines.

California still has a very substantial White racial majority (74.0% as of the 2010 census), it just doesn't appear to when people of Hispanic ethnicity are counted as a separate group from their race (non-Hispanic Whites were only 39.7% in the same census), as is frequently done in the US.

It makes sense to divide Hispanic and non-Hispanic White if we are performing this categorization for the purpose of analysing discrimination. This is because traditionally Hispanics have been discriminated against by non-Hispanic Whites. The same could be said for the Irish, or Catholics... but Protestant/Catholic discrimination seems to have simmered down in the US.

Or to put it simply: Does a Hispanic in California currently experience White privilege? If no, then they should be counted separately.

Christopher Lane

It is racism. It's just that it's racism you appear to like.

Nonsense. It is not racism at all, especially considering the group is open to girls of all racial backgrounds.


>an opportunity created for one person //

An opportunity only offered to one person out of a group who would similarly benefit from that opportunity simply based on their racial heritage is racism. Yes. It's entirely unnecessary discrimination.

"All the blue-eyed children may leave early for recess." [not a direct quote AFAIK] - the brown/green/whatever eyed children would equally benefit from early recess.

There are plenty of other isms besides racism. Eye-colorism is a different kind of discrimination than racism, unless eye color is just a proxy for race (which is quite possible). Discriminating based on gender is called sexism, discriminating baed on nationality is called nationalism, etc...

Discrimination based on femins is feminism and discriminations based on socials is socialism and discrimination against babars is barbarism.

People learning English might be interested in my English Stack Exchange question: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/142750/why-is-fem...

> The problem is that you don't understand what racism is. Racism isn't just treating someone differently because she belongs to a different race. Racism has more to do with power dynamics than with color of a person's skin.

Some smart people cleared this up for me: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskSocialScience/comments/1rwvc3/why...

To answer "is this racism?", you have to ask "which racism?"

erm, it is a potentially racist organization, here's why: BlackGirlsCode is specifically geared for one power dynamic, black girls vs white girls. While they may be attempting to level the playing field between white and black which is politically and socially acceptable, they are furthering the gap between black and (pick an underrepresented minority). This exclusivity is exactly how every power came into power and subjugated the rest. From the very beginning the set of principles that guide this rationale of pragmatism while understandable, is hypocritical.

No: Black Girls Code is focusing on

black vs white (dominant paradigm in US)

female vs male

young vs old

It's attempting to do successful intervention & marketing, essentially, by focusing on a specific demographic. As we all should know, focusing on a specific demographic is a fine way to produce a product targeted to that demographic's needs. Young black women have different pain points in tech than Zuckalikes or male first-born children of Chinese immigrants. It is obvious that other organizations with mainly white or male constituents are not effectively serving the market and it's no surprise that something better for this target group has come along.

The rest of your comment is pure silliness. Every power that came into power, to repeat your phrasing, did so by claiming they were the best and then grabbing the money. When I see the black girls of code claiming they are racially and morally superior to everyone else, and making tons of cash, I'll consider believing you.

You're right, but I'd say my comparison is at least a subset of what you're covering.

Yeah, targeting is one thing, exclusion is entirely another. If you're excluding other races from your product that's well...racist.

>The rest of your comment is pure silliness. Every power that came into power, to repeat your phrasing, did so by claiming they were the best and then grabbing the money. When I see the black girls of code claiming they are racially and morally superior to everyone else, and making tons of cash, I'll consider believing you.

Well, I said potentially and you said 'claiming' implying an active process of obtaining power. We are in agreement that black girls are not a powerful force in the development community, but neither were (pick small exclusionary group/minority that came to power). Rwanda anyone?

They aren't now, but could be, especially with the principles they are using that are in place.

Ah, please regale us with your tales of successfully combatting racism and evening a tilted playing field. I know many people who need the benefit of your undoubtedly extensive experience in the trenches. I'm sure that your comment is not merely an uninformed effort made from your armchair.

I'm half black half white, born of a polish father who managed to make it from Poland in 1975, and an army brat african american mother. I grew up in a predominantly white irish and white jewish community on the North Shore of Chicago, racism was subtle but it was there. My older sister has significant experience in this particular field as a woman who was pushed into various programs like this. I happened to end up in CEED at UCLA, a minority focused engineering program and went through the fun stuff of National Achievement related stuff.

So, I know something of the subject.

This in no way diminishes the ridiculousness of the statements you have made. In fact, it makes it all the more perplexing why and how you think that BGC is on the same spectrum as the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda, as given your background, perhaps it should be expected of you to know just a little better than that.

The analogy is one of how principle matters. There are plenty historical examples of minority groups defending and supporting themselves, rightly so, some would say, and eventually gaining power and subjugating others. The one thing that rarely changes in those organizations is the principles behind them. Those with little power in the beginning can only defend themselves, with great power they can do that by subjugation of others.

So I will reiterate, it is the principle of exclusion that puts it on the same spectrum. No they haven't and I will assume most likely will not cause a genocide. However, principle...matters. It is unwise to perpetuate the same beliefs and systems of an oppressor and expect a different outcome! 'Only certain people of a certain group because of race and gender can be here'.

Since you insinuated I could know nothing of the subject because of my background, and then upon revelation suggest I should know better because of it, I'd suggest to you that instead of making assumptions about me and my background what I should be like, and chaffing at the fact that I don't fit the mold of someone you'd expect with this background, maybe heed what I have to say as it is from a unique position that is not common.

No. Your position is ridiculous, as in it deserves ridicule. A stupid but equally valid conclusion falling out of your absurd insistence that the principles at play -- as you identify and interpret them -- must not have any overlap with those of historically oppressive regimes would be for me to stop segregating my flour and sugar in my cupboard. These same principles of segregation -- as you define it so broadly as to be without meaning almost -- are at play in my kitchen and I can extend your silly argument to conclude that I also have been sowing the seeds of oppression in the place where I keep my food!

As far as I can tell, your argument is,

1) BGC starts out by identifying a target population based on race.

2) All genocidal massacres have begun with this step.

3) Ergo, BGC may result in a genocidal massacre.

> BlackGirlsCode is specifically geared for one power dynamic, black girls vs white girls.

I'm pretty sure its not geared for that at all.

This was in context to the previous comment about power dynamics, but you're right.

> This was in context to the previous comment about power dynamics

There is no reasonable sense in which it is accurate to say that Black Girls Code is geared for "black girls vs. white girls".

There might be some vague sense (though its still a very bad and misleading way of putting things by inventing a conflict which is not essential to the focus) to saying it is geared for black girls vs. white boys.

can a white girl join black girls who code? a conflict nonetheless exists whether or not it is intended by the organization. remember the segregation concept of 'separate but equal' ? it wasn't intended and it was not the focus of segregation to deliver unequal qualities of life, but by the implementation that is exactly what happened and I'd say, conflicts created by organizations like this shouldn't be ignored. you call it misleading, I say it should be addressed. I wouldn't sacrifice the principal for the pragmatism.

> can a white girl join black girls who code?

From everything I've seen about their actual policies, including in this thread, yes.

Well that just sunk a big chunk of my argument, hah!

>For example, just because a college has different standards of admission for different races to promote diversity is not racism but to give preferential treatment to the group of people who have more social and economic power. That's racism.

So, building women founders, is, as is building male founders, a way to create a few more people with "social and economic power" to rule over the rest of us.

Is BlackGirlsCode, not OnlyBlackGirlsCode. Is a message that something is possible, not that the skill is exclusive.

I suspect you are fully aware of this anyway and are just disrailing the argument for fun.

No derailment intended - I was genuinely shocked. That may have made my response more emotional that it should have been.

Well, your language does not read as being genuine. To be frank, it reads like someone faking caring for rhetorical effect in order to to cause an argument. I currently do not believe that you are arguing in good faith.

Your language does not read as being genuine. To be frank, it reads like someone trying to derail the discussion by critiquing someone else's tone. I currently do not believe that you are arguing in good faith.

Do you see how stupid you sound?

Oh yes, he's shocked, he's genuinely shocked, he finds it all such a shame.

I mean, really.

People claiming outrage and shock at having just discovered the existence of affirmative action in a country that practiced aparthied in some parts within living memory are either outstandingly ignorant, stupid, or lying through their teeth.

I haven't just discovered the concept of affirmative action. I don't live in the country in question either FWIW.

I have just discovered the concept of widespread support for racial and sexual segregation in a tech education [charity?] group in the USA. I have just discovered that not only was this link mentioned in the highest voted comment on a HN thread but also my objection to such racism - passed off as you so nicely word it as "affirmative action" - was immediately downplayed.

I do find it a shame - have you seen what they're doing with this group. They're getting kids involved in programming in a way that's exciting to me - indeed one commenter mentioned they've worked with them and wrote (IIRC) betathegame which I'd just been looking at to use with my own kids. They're well resource and completely up-front about what they are "black girls code".

So you believe I'm outstandingly ignorant? About what? I was ignorant of creeping support in the tech community for racism, for segragation in learning, for exclusion based on skin colour.

Division by age; no problem with me. Division by sex; can be argued for (and BGC do). Division by skin colour, in learning to code, how is it in the least bit relevant.

I do sometimes proffer opinions that I do not hold in order to develop better understanding or to develop my rhetoric but this is by no means one of those times.

Rather than questioning my sincerity perhaps you can convince me that skin colour is pertinent when offering access to education in computing? If you don't want to do that then perhaps you can say hat it is that's convinced you that it is acceptable?

Ok, the reason I was questioning your sincerity was not because of the argument presented, as much as that the subject combined with some of the language cues and the context set off some sort of baysian based bullshit detector in my head that was ringing like a big fucking gong. It isn't always perfect, but it is usually good and it was ringing pretty loudly, which is why I stopped beating around the bush. I am not the only person here, looking at the other comments, that strongly suspected you of trolling here. If you are not, then you have my complete apologies.

Now as to why I think that this club is ok, is not because I think that skin colour has any relevance in learning to code. Also, if I thought they were being exclusively for black girls, rather than just targetting them, then I would not give this any time, but that seems to be evidently not the case.

The sad fact is that skin colour has deep relevance in the US because it is still such a deeply divided and institutionally racist country in many ways, especially if you do not have enough money to sugar the pill.

If you are a teenage black girl in poverty in the US you are bombarded with media telling you what defines a teenage black girl in poverty in the US. You are marketed to as a teenage black girl in poverty, you are educated as a teenage black girl in poverty.

And unless you are unusually idiosyncratic, you will already have bought the story you are being sold by the time you are a teenager.

Most people buy the story they are sold by the society around them.

As far as I am concerned, given the society and history of the US, the club BlackGirlsCode is not spreading the message, "coding is a black thing", it is spreading the message "black girls are able and allowed to code", which is a positive thing. It isn't forcing people to think of themselves in a certain way, it is trying to start with how the people they are trying to help are already viewing themselves, it is accepting that the society is really screwed right now and so sod trying to destroy tribalism in one fell swoop, as that is a big job and may take a few more generations, lets try and get people to widen their horizons and do something about the massive technological literacy gap. Clubs called BlackGirlsCode in the US are needed for exactly the same reason that organisations dedicated to literacy for Dalit women in India are neccessary.

Personally I would rather that society drop the whole black/white thing altogether as a description of skin colour, as not only is the binary designation one of the most heinous divide and conquer traps that is going, but I think that the terms are also woefully inaccurate and unfit for purpose as descriptive adjectives. However I rarely get a good response to that, so convincing society in general of that one is really more of a long game.

You've added nothing but questioning his character and then a string of baseless insults.

I'm sure if you had anything of value to say you'd have said it by now, so I'm just gonna let this one go.

To be fair, your main addition in this so far has been to parrot me then to say I sound stupid, which I may well do and I completely entertain it as a possibility, however I am not sure it puts you down for insightful contribution of the year here either.

I'm registering these domains as quickly as I can.

WhiteMenFromReallyPoorBackgroundsCode HalfDominicanHalfHaitianOrphansCode TransgenderThaisCode DarkSkinnedBraziliansWhoArentOfAfricanDescentCode

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