When you collect a few more life experiences, perhaps get a decade of career under your belt, you'll learn how toxic it is when monocultures form. You'll learn about the blind spots. The exclusion. The lack of productive conflict from varying ideas.
And perhaps at that point you'll learn why "caring about people in tech" means caring that no people feel actively excluded from its prosperity.
Until then, your callousness makes you emphatically the sort of dime-a-dozen, utterly common, entirely unoriginal personalities that make me want to walk out of this industry and lock the door behind me forever.
Good luck on your journey.
Perhaps when you collect a few more life experiences, you will realize that saying "When you grow up/stop being immature/a child/etc you'll share my opinion on X, Y, and Z" isn't providing any support for your positions, and even if you was, it is not an effective argument either.
To me that looks more like a literary construct (intended to make the argument more "beautiful", if that is the right word) rather than a logical construct. I read the "meaning" of their post as: "After I got some experience/a decade of career under my belt, I learnt how toxic ...". Except phrased in a more "literary" way.
If the point of discussions on hackernews is just to take a roll call of opinions, then the first two posts in this thread are on the right track. But if the purpose of discussions are to inform, and persuade, then I would say the posts failed miserably.
I personally would expect that the representation of a given gender, religion or race in an arbitrary body (a school, a company, an industry, a governing body, etc.) would pretty closely match the representation of the gender/religion/race/etc. in society at large.
The tech industry is clearly falling flat on its face when it comes to adequate representation of women.
Do you really need me to spell out why this is a good thing?
> the representation of a given gender, religion or race in an arbitrary body (a school, a company, an industry, a governing body, etc.) would pretty closely match the representation of the gender/religion/race/etc. in society at large
is necessarily true. I mean, how does one come up with a normative stance on the relationship between proportion in a group vs. global population? Given a perfect world free of discriminatory attitudes, would this principle naturally hold?
The distribution of professional basketball players is always going to have more of the tall group than the short group, simply because the rim is arbitrarily at 10 ft.
If a particular ethnic group happens to be taller on average than another, it's likely they will be more represented amongst professional basketball players, all other things being equal.
What we want is not proportionate representation based on arbitrary groups, but rather the correct representation. We want the best basketball players to be playing basketball, because that makes it more fun for the rest of us to watch.
Let me reiterate what I infer from your words: 'black people are naturally more athletic, so they should keep playing basketball, and leave all that pesky business and government-running to white people.'
I was literally thinking about the Dinka tribe from Sudan (who are very tall on average) and the Pygmy tribes of the congo (who are very short on average). Google them for data.
Alternatively, you can look at the well-studied difference in height between men and women. Do you deny this exists?
I could have just as well used tennis, where the vast majority of top players are white or soccer (where there's a quite proportionate distribution within the countries that play). In tennis, the ideal height is between 5'10 and 6'2. If you are much shorter, you have a disadvantage in serving. If you're much taller you have a disadvantage getting to low balls.
What I meant is that it's highly unlikely that the particular set of characteristics that determine success in any endeavor will be spread evenly amongst arbitrary groups. It doesn't matter what those groups are. We want the best set of individuals for the job, whatever it is.
danilocampos' post has no argument at all. It's just a carefully constructed pile of pathos.
You hear from people who are physically handicapped that the thing they hate most is the contrast in treatment. They want to be treated normally.
A different person in a different perspective gets treated differently because they are viewed as different. A common complaint. Is he being empathetic or indifferent? I dunno, but it's hard not to say to yourself "Women are being treated differently, that is what is keeping them out, so I will endeavour not to treat them differently."
Is that misguided?
Women are being treated differently, that is what is keeping them out, so I will endeavour not to treat them differently?
The flaw here is the fundamental flaw in libertarianism: there is no mechanism for evening the playing field. People who already have significant advantage get to keep their significant advantage. Being born into wealth doesn't just mean you have money - you also get a social network, plus you grow up learning about how to handle money and assets, amongst other things. Having classes intended to help people not born into privilege is about trying to level the playing field, not oppress the privileged.
Sometimes I wonder just how many of the vocal "how dare women get their own classes" crew have anything to do with providing education at all.
Your ramp example is spot on. And to take it a little bit further. Some of the posters in this thread are at the top of the stairs, staring down at everyone who can't get up them AND refusing to help them. The fact that these people are validating these attitudes in a way that actually serves to destroy their own point just shows that people in this thread with these views have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
If you are uninformed/ can't follow your train of though to its logical conclusions PLEASE do some reading.
Able-bodied people can use ramps too. If I were in a wheelchair, I'd prefer my friends to walk beside me without talking the whole time about how tragically victimized I am by the existence of stairs and other devices employing 90 degree angles of oppression. I'd definitely be even more annoyed if "well meaning" "activists" tried to ban my able-bodied friends from using the ramps alongside me.
Also, you just compared the relative ability of men and women to succeed in the tech world as the former being like a person who can walk unassisted and the latter being like a person who is significantly crippled. Given that success in the tech world is largely due to mental ability instead of physical ability, you might want to find a different way to word it to avoid unpleasant implications.
I'm confused by the way you mention class privilege and then assume that somehow this means that women are disadvantaged. Women control 70% of global [consumer] spending. Are you proposing men-only scholarships to fix this?
>"how dare women get their own classes"
When even ACLU says you're on the wrong side of a civil rights issue, it may be time to reconsider your stance.
"Two centuries later, women -- who control more than $20 trillion or about 70 percent of global consumer spending -- account for only about a tenth of the voting power on the world’s key interest rates"
You seem to be ignoring a pretty big 'but' there. Plus its 70% of consumer spending, not 'global spending'.
Then you described someone in a wheelchair as 'significantly crippled'.
Also, this poster's reference to ramps and stairs was a metaphor - a tool for understanding. Not literal.
What I got from their comment was nothing you seem to have. I think they were saying that we need to understand the ways people are excluded, and support them.
Where did I suggest this at all? You're projecting your issues onto me. I wasn't painting people with disabilities as tragically victimised or any of that other shit. I gave one example that happened to be about people with a disability, then talked about advantage and privilege as largely abstract concepts.
you might want to find a different way to word it to avoid unpleasant implications.
You might want to find a way to respond without putting words in people's mouths. The audience that would actually take what I said as saying that being a woman is a physical disability does not exist. It's a bogeyman used for arguments like yours. "But these hypothetical morons might take you the wrong way and take offense!". Well, if they do take offense, no harm done, because they're morons. You're also arguing from hyperbolic outliers - painting 'well-meaning activists' as the ones who fight to ban sharing the ramp (because that happens... how often?) rather than the ones who fought to have the ramp put there in the first place.
The irony is that you've just said you don't like people taking offense on your behalf, and yet here you are taking offense on behalf of these hypothetical morons.
Women control 70% of global [consumer] spending.
Yes, women do a disproportionate amount of shopping for staple items like food or clothing. This is not 'controlling the economy'. It's like saying that since most workers in hospitality are in their early 20s, this means that people in their early 20s know the most about fine dining, since they are the ones that handle the plates.
I'm confused by the way you mention class privilege and then assume that somehow this means that women are disadvantaged
This is a fair comment. I was responding to a comment about women with a more abstract comment about social advantage, using wealth as an easy example. It wasn't meant to be a causal relation.
When even ACLU says...
You also hear that they needed legislation to prevent employers discriminating against them and that the idea of reasonable adjustment was a powerful driver in in reasing employment among people with disabilities.
1) Check the origins of the term handicap - it is derogatory. I'm sure some people will call this OTT or political correctness but whatever. The term 'impairment' is a good choice, mobility impairment, physical impairment. To those reading this who think it is political correctness I will put it in hacker news terms: There are ways of referring to potential customers in a way that ensures nothing you say will stop someone using your service. Anyway, check this out if you are interested in that  - it is a history of meaning of commonly used terms used to refer to impaired individuals. I know this was not the main part of your post but I thought I might as well mention it. Disability studies is a growing field and might as well be promoted here.
2) In order for minorities, for instance disabled people, to gain equal rights - in this case equal opportunity of entry into CS fields, it serves the effort well to be a group of people. It brings confidence that you are right, that you must be taken seriously and that attention should be placed on the issue.
For instance. If I am in a wheelchair and I am being forbidden entry to a building because of no ramp, or if I am being mocked and belittled. These are experiences that non-impaired individuals can empathise with, but they have not experienced it. So if I have experienced oppression I want to talk to other people who have, figure out what is necessary to change it and build up a group of people that can symbolise to other impaired individuals that while they may have to put up with the shit they get from other people, it is those people that are wrong.
So, if you take out the oppression part and look at a different social experience it might become more obvious.
Lets say someone in your close family has died. Whenever it comes up with friends or acquaintances who you know haven't experienced it you might be met with pity, sympathy, apologies or whatever. It makes you cringe a bit because people skirt over the topic because they don't know how to deal with it. Then one time you are talking to someone and it comes up that you have lost a close family member and it turns out they have too, and in a very similar way to you. Not only do you instantly feel comfortable talking to this person about this topic because they have experienced it, you also get to discuss how everyone else is ill-equiped to deal with such news mid way through a catchup, or whatever.
What I am saying is that, in a field such as tech, I would not be surprised if women would feel most comfortable relating to women as it is something that defines their experience and they can relate to each other directly. So, having these female founders as proof, as encouragement and as a tool for not just solidarity amongst women in tech but ALL in tech (because think about it: how many non-gender specific founders conferences have been all men, without specified as such).
I think this is a good thing and I think that being indifferent to the problem is really not worth posting about on a forum. Good for you, you want everyone to be treated the same but you don't want to do anything about it. And you feel so strongly about it you decided to post it here (that is aimed at the guy you replied to, not you).
Change does not occur by ignoring difference. It requires being pro-active and the organisers of this conference and the females speaking at it are doing just that.
 - http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Clark-La...
A fantastic explanation and I appreciate your measured tone against my own frustration.
> Is that misguided?
Being a woman isn't having a handicap. Being brown isn't having a handicap. At least it isn't to my mind. Is it to yours?
When you go and talk to people who are women or brown or some intersection of these, one thing that's clear is that they feel much more comfortable when interacting with other folks whose lives and paths look like theirs. Their life stories are different from those most commonly represented, so increasing representation means finding people who can speak from a common perspective.
And that's before I even get into the patterns of harassment and aggression that are reported to me consistently from every. single. female colleague I know. That's before getting into the challenges female founders face in presenting their companies to a VC industry that's overwhelmingly male and therefore under-equipped to evaluate a huge swath of verticals and opportunities.
None of this is abstract. All it requires is knowing people who aren't young, white males.
Is being handicapped a handicap? I can't walk. Am I handicapped when it comes to creating code, or starting an tech company? I'm not in my mind. Am I in yours?
> When you go and talk to people who are women or brown or some intersection of these, one thing that's clear is that they feel much more comfortable when interacting with other folks whose lives and paths look like theirs.
Good job of lumping billions of unique personalities into a single viewpoint. I'm sure some women and brown people feel that way. I'm also sure some women and brown people feel the exact opposite, and some women and brown people have an opinion that is neither of the two stated.
> And that's before I even get into the patterns of harassment and aggression that are reported to me consistently from every. single. female colleague I know.
Really? Every single female colleague you know consistently reports patterns of harassment and aggression? Did you ever consider that maybe your workplace is broken, and not society? Why isn't your workplace getting rid of the harrassors and aggressors, or taking any action at all to fix its obvious brokenness?
> All it requires is knowing people who aren't young, white males.
I'm not young, and I'm not a white male. But that's also irrelevant.
The rest of what you said is silly and not really worth responding to, but I was a dick and need to own that.
(I also hated the disability metaphor.)
> I don't care about women in tech.
... > I care about people in tech.
Why would you conclude my position was:
handicapped -> different perspective
women -> different perspective
women -> handicapped
I agree completely. I'm way more comfortable with my tech friends (of any race, sex, or ethnicity) than I am with people who have a single or multiple exterior characteristics in common with me.
It's HOW and WHAT you think that matters, not what you look like. Being subjected to the discriminatory policies people like you keep forcing on us "for [your] own good" only reinforces our desire to both perceive and be perceived for our minds, not our bodies. This was once readily available in tech; thanks to your efforts, it is now a much rarer experience.
If you have to misrepresent the views of those you disagree with in order to argue your own point, it might be the case that your own argument has no value.
I would say that people that make such statement don't care how people feel. If you can't behave, do please walk out.
>You'll learn about the blind spots. The exclusion.
>you'll learn how toxic it is when monocultures form
>The lack of productive conflict
Said the SJW to the minority, with absolutely no self-awareness at all.
Pro-tip: women are capable of independent thinking. Some of them are not going to agree with what you decree is best for them.
The people attending Conj are bright, well-spoken, polite. I didn't meet a jerk in three years, a crowd I was proud to be seen with. But WHERE WERE THE WOMEN? What is going on here?
We must do something. I don't know what. I'll agree with you that exclusionary events are counterproductive, but I can't see the harm in recognizing successful women who can show us how it's done.
My take has always been that women are simply too smart to enter IT.
And perhaps the support of segregationist policies is the thing we're doing wrong.
However, you have a very testable hypothesis here with the idea that these policies are the source of the inequality. And much like "Wet ground makes it rain," the hypothesis is easily disproven by considering the order that the correlated things happened in. The ground gets wet after it rains, and these events started being organized in response to the conditions you're suggesting they may have caused.
I assume that by "these events" you mean events targeted towards women. I never claimed anything about what events targeted towards women cause. I only mentioned events which support segregation, of which these events are a subset.
Let's hear your proposal for addressing the already segregationist technology industry.
Let's hear your proposal for elevating female/non-white founder percentages out of the single digits.
What've you got?
I'm doing something
something has been done.
full disclosure: I have no skin in this game, nor opinions. Just making an observation.
Stop supporting segregationist policies.
Definition of segregation for your convenience:
the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart
If you truly care about people in tech, you should applaud any well-meaning effort to get more people excited about tech, such as this, irrespective of how the event is phrased.
That this particular event is geared towards women doesn't prevent other events targeted to other groups: a conference for older founders, for example.
Moreover events geared towards underrepresented groups have a greater practical effect for getting people into tech, because people from these groups sometimes feel like they don't belong and avoid events like Startup School or PyCon.
I doubt, for instance, holding a "male founders conference" would have much of an effect: it's not like anyone from that demographic, like myself and probably yourself, feels alienated at tech events. But no one is stopping you from trying to organize such an event. It's just unlikely anyone will attend, since they'd have nothing to gain.
In the 90s, there was a networking group called The Indus Entrepreneurs, which aimed to help Indian immigrants start companies, get funding etc. Nowadays, the idea of having an tech group for Indian people seems ridiculous: because there are so many successful Indians in tech.
In 10 years, here's hoping that these efforts will make having a female founders conference seem just as ridiculous. But right now, caring about people in tech includes caring about getting more women into tech.
What if it was phrased "whites in tech". Would you be okay with it?
I wouldn't even be against it, I would likely just not care about it (what's the point).
When Whites are an oppressed minority, sure.
If you want to fix scenarios that look segregationist, fix the root cause. Reinforcing one segregation that appears to be a polar opposite of what you have too much of is just as damaging. it's not a tipping scale scenario.
How? Just tell women to stop feeling marginalized?
There are countless subtle ways a all-male (or all-female or all-Christian or all-straight or all-gay or all-white or all-black or all-[insert demographic here) subculture will do things unwittingly that make people not in that demographic uncomfortable. As a member of the majority in almost every respect, I've rarely experienced that, but I'm not so self-absorbed to insist it's not a real, legitimate thing that happens. Identifying each and every one of these things is nigh impossible. Convincing everyone to STOP doing these things IS impossible. So what do we do? We attack it the only way we can: identify and point out what issues we can (the happy majority will inform us that they're silly, over-sensitive complaints) and do everything we can to bring in people who can change that culture simply by being there, being someone who is NOT part of the problem culture.
But we're too damn busy being offended by this conference and threatened by the idea that there's subtle sexism in the tech industry (or the world) to even try listening to any sort of feminist theories about privilege and power and marginalization.
I know, modern feminist theories about oppressive patriarchal culture sound really, really outlandish at first, and my first instinct was to reject them and just say "everyone's equal; let's treat them equally". Many are stated really inflammatory and surely some are way off-base.
But shit. The world's a fucked up place. And if you start looking at what earns people respect and power and what invites derision, you begin to recognize that maybe this overly-sensitive complaint about subtle sexism, and that gripe about feeling uncomfortable as a minority in a group, and it all starts to reveal itself as, well, reality. It's hurting us as a group, and it's oppressive each one of us as individuals. (Unless you're a handsome, masculine, white, Protestant, alpha male, football-playing frat bro, in which case maybe you're 100% on the privileged side--congratulations!)
(Sorry, this rambling rant isn't really directed at you. It's directed at most every comment here, and the tech industry, and the world.)
I've often experienced that. I'm experiencing it right now, in multiple places in this discussion.
>And if you start looking at what earns people respect and power and what invites derision...
...you would find that as science predicts, class privilege is the greatest factor in success.
I am simply upset at the idea that people think that large problems that were caused by painting with 'too wide a brush' can be solved by exactly the same methodologies.
If I started a gay male-only developer conference, people would freak. If I started a female to male transsexual only conference, people would freak. If I started a socialist dog-only developer conference , people would freak.
It's not that people are against a certain ethos or political movement. That's not why they are upset. People get upset at exclusion, and by creating these specialist conferences, we do nothing but further an exclusionary rift that we already know exists.
If that's what you think, then you have a pretty shallow understanding of the issue. That's OK. People have shallow understanding of all sorts of things. Maybe you should keep quiet about it instead of embarrassing yourself, though?
Why is it that SJW types are so quick to insult and demean anyone who disagrees with them? It's very unpleasant. Your beliefs are not the forgone conclusion you treat them as.
Is this the angle that you're coming from now? I thought that it was liberals and white knights and feminists that were so thin-skinned and sensitive?
At any rate, you've not really addressed my comment (the one you're replying to) - but I do feel as though your reply is meant to mock me, which, to my thinking, reinforces said observations. Excuse me if mockery wasn't your intention.
If Crake has such as a shallow understanding of the subject, as you say, perhaps you could enlighten all of us with your deep understanding of the subject? Merely asserting that someone's incorrect doesn't carry much weight by itself. This might lead one to think that you're unable to demonstrate the validity of your assertion by argument - i.e., that your statement is invalid.
Calling an event that is trying to integrate a community "segregationist" is about as ridiculous as it gets.
the funny thing is that you see nothing ridiculous about trying to use this as a hypothetical counterpoint.
I am having a hard time picturing exactly what that could be. Law enforcement, maybe? Romance literature?
though... that was because I did not read the title clearly.