Facets: Issue 14

March 5, 2016

Unpacking my Knapsack: The Privileges of a Hispanic Male in Tech

Danilo Campos
"While none of these events is unique on their own, what is unique is that together they accrued certain privileges that allowed me to become the first person in my family to earn a six figure income in their 20’s. I’m the first to make a career in tech."

A member of a minority himself, Campos still takes the time to examine and identify the privileges that have brought him to where he is. He takes an outsider’s perspective on his own life, and begins by identifying his presence in America as a privilege on its own. It’s a refreshing step back as he traverses his personal history, and both the challenges and privileges that have come with it. Hard work has helped him build his career in tech, but he also acknowledges luck, and accepts that without certain components of privilege, he wouldn’t be where he finds himself today.

ME, YES ME: A white Latina woman’s story of working in Tech

Bruna de Goes
"Privilege is complex like that. It’s not just black and white, men and women. It’s race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, income, food security,<insert 100 more things>."

In her response to those around her who expressed surprise that she was going to a tech diversity event, Bruna de Goes takes the opportunity to identify both her privileges and her differences. Her piece functions to galvanize, to inspire us to keep pushing for diversity, and dissuade from expressing the same surprise her colleagues did. She reminds us that we can be privileged in certain ways, and disadvantaged in others. It doesn’t mean that we don’t belong, and that we can’t contribute to the diversity debate. It leaves us asking ourselves the big question: why she had to justify her attendance at all.

Poverty and Classism: The Silent Diversity Issue

Jacqueline S. Homan
"“Teach a man (or woman) to fish...” yeah, sounds great. Except you first need money to buy fishing gear, you still need to eat while you’re fighting for the right just to get access to the fishing hole to learn how to fish in the first place."

This one is a longer read, but an excellent one. Homan turns our attention to the uncomfortable perspective, that of the permanent underclass, that diversity efforts do not consider. After escaping trafficking and entering the world with little to her name but the clothes on her back, she describes just how difficult it can be to get a foothold in a career in which the floor continually collapses out from under her. We see what happens when free resources actually aren’t free, what happens when asking for those resources leads to labels like “con artist” and “lazy moocher,” and how the very foundations of most diversity movements aren’t foundations, but barriers.

An intersectional take on technology, rights and justice

Meena Harris details a conversation with Duretti Hirpa, Erica Baker, and Megan Anctil— all black female engineers working at Slack (which recently updated its diversity report). They describe feelings of isolation but also of togetherness, the misconceptions that come with coding as a practice, and the importance of accountability in diversity positions. Most importantly, they identify the crutches that are being used as people attempt to make excuses for failed diversity efforts, the ones which attempt to draw clean lines and categories for “diverse” people. There are consequences to these excuses, and their very presence shows how misguided our processes can be. Anctil underlines this when she says, "it's important to acknowledge the things that fall outside of that Venn diagram. “

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