Facets: Issue 16

April 2, 2016

Your Culture Has Consequences

Amy Nguyen
"I’m talking to you, ally. You want to help marginalized people find a safe place in tech. This is it. Put your career where your mouth is."

For all the talk of getting diverse candidates into the pipeline, Nguyen’s perspective on the hiring process calls on those who have the choice, who are not marginalised, to use their power and privilege to force change in hiring practices. Those who can make a stand should do exactly that, and stop working for the companies who don’t value diversity or the underrepresented communities in tech. She offers a straightforward, diplomatic approach for allies who want to help pressure tech companies to create the safe spaces we want to see.

On Fighting for Marginalized People in Tech

Julie Pagano
"You're involved even if you don’t want to be. As I mentioned previously, just showing up as a marginalized person is a form of activism."

The majority of Pagano’s piece is for those belonging to underrepresented communities, those who are fighting whether they want to be or not. She acknowledges that there is no one way to do so, but offers a variety of approaches to that fight. She describes how to ask questions of our heroes, how to choose a tactic (satire, teaching, support), and how to stop fighting against ourselves. And if the fight becomes too difficult, she reminds the underrepresented that sometimes, just showing up is an act of activism.

How to Talk to Minorities, Part 1

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
"the power balance between you and the other person is uneven, and it is up to you as the more powerful person to ensure that you don’t abuse that disparity."

An essay about the intricacies of communication, power dynamics, and the consequences of bias. Prescod-Weinstein describes the damage that an assumption can do to a marginalised person; in the process, she urges us to understand those we’re speaking to before making assumptions about their identity, and describes how to go about gaining that understanding in a respectful way.

Guides

The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally

From 2009, but still entirely relevant. A straightforward list of ten do’s and don’ts for those wanting to be a good ally. Among other things, remember to not to expect a pass into safe spaces, remember to stand up to bigots, and most importantly: keep trying.

Transwhat? A guide towards allyship

An excellent site, with the aim of providing "good and relevant beginners’ information” about those who identify as transgender. The information (a glossary, a guide to allyship, and debunked misconceptions among other things) is for everyone, but especially those who have someone close to them who is transitioning in some way.

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