Facets: Issue 27

December 10, 2016

I don’t belong in tech

Saron Yitbarek
"no matter how many conference talks you’ve tweeted about praising code as craft, open up your company’s production-level app right now and tell me how much of that has made its way to your product."

Yitbarek's piece, as she says, is not about gender or race, but about a fundamental difference between what we say and what we are. It is about how our declarations of love for moving fast, for respecting each other, and for solving problems the right way are lost as soon as we try to act on them. Most of all, it is about how we don't want to acknowledge that conflict, and how those who truly do value those things are cast aside.

When Bias in Product Design Means Life or Death

Carol E. Reiley
"I refuse to believe that it’s harder to hire minority candidates than it is to build self-driving cars."

If we want to build safer products, we must begin with diverse teams. Reiley takes us through a history of bias and its potentially fatal consequences, from 1960s automotive design through modern artificial intelligence, with recent examples of blunders from the tech community.

C is Manly, Python is for “n00bs”: How False Stereotypes Turn Into Technical “Truths”

Jean Yang & Ari Rabkin
"Judgments about language use, despite being far from “objective” or “technical,” set up a hierarchy among programmers that systematically privileges certain groups."

The possibilities for those new to programming are endless, and this should be exciting! Despite this, we're far too quick to ridicule the choice of one language or methodology over another. Yang and Rabkin take a deep look at the vocabulary we assign to programming concepts, and how it affects participation and perception. If we truly want to make tech inclusive, they urge us to look at it as a social construct, with all its accompanying intricacies.

How I Ended Up In Tech By Chance

Randolph Brown
"we rarely talk about how you need the privilege or luck of being in the right place at the right time to even find the thing you want to practice in the first place."

This retrospective on Randolph Brown's journey into tech is a reminder of the importance of luck, no matter how many stories about others' beginnings we may read. Because of the lack of representation in tech, it can be too difficult to see ourselves in those stories and find inspiration (and accessibility) in them.

Guide to Allyship

Created by Amélie Lamont, this open source guide is constantly evolving. Its purpose is to provide resources for everyone looking to truly understand what allyship is, and how to be a more effective ally. And if you identify as part of a marginalised group, you're encouraged to contribute on Github.

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