What links could I use to teach tech geeks about inclusion?
October 28, 2011 9:08 PM   Subscribe

What are good basic resources for teaching about privilege and access, particularly in the context of the tech industry?

I'm very familiar with identity and feminist/minority theory, but I need some introductory resources to share with people that cover the basics. You know the usual "I'm blind to color! You're the racist!" kind of tedium that could be well-addressed with a FAQ.

I know (and love/respect!) sites like Geek Feminism, but even there have had some trouble finding a basic set of starter explanations for people, particularly about how privileged white men in the technology industry could get educated about how to be more thoughtful about the exclusion felt by minorities such as African Americans.
posted by anildash to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have specific links to resources, but I know of an organization that might have some resources to point you towards. The Institute on Social Exclusions. http://www.adler.edu/page/institutes/institute-on-social-exclusion/about

They *might* be able to help.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 9:22 PM on October 28, 2011

Well, there's always White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Backpack [pdf].
posted by mynameisluka at 9:53 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can fix it!: Racism by Damali Ayo.
posted by embrangled at 10:11 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

When you say Geek Feminism, do you mean the blog? Are you aware of the vast wealth of resources that lurks within the Geek Feminism Wiki?
posted by rdc at 7:40 AM on October 29, 2011

Best answer: This is not quite an answer to your question but might be a good lateral way to approach it. There's a lot of discussion about the "empowerment divide" within the digital divide. That is, certain people are subtly privileged to have better and more access to things and other people are not. Looking at demographics you can see that there is a lot more tech penetration, say, within young caucasian educated males. You can sometimes walk backwards from people who are citing those statistics and get to some decent discussions about why that would be. Pew Internet and American Life project, for example, regularly published stuff talking about who is online and who isn't and why. So doing some looking into who is citing them heavily [using Google Scholar] is a great start and also looking at eterms like "digital inclusion". Articles like this one even though it's about rural Peru can help people understand that the "it's not what you know it's who you know..." concept trickles down in all facets of connected lives and has analogs in US tech communities as well.

Also, and I'm blanking on links at the moment, the open source documentation projects are often good places to find explanations for some of this stuff. Documentation is seen as a great way for women and other people who aren't necessarily hotshot programmers to really start working and contributing to open source projects and becoming part of the OS community. This, of course, has come with some backlash.

But actually when I'd do is contact Leslie Hawthorn and talk to her about some of this since she's been working for Google and others trying to make tech awesome for women and girls and I'm sure she could rattle some of this off the top of her head. If you do find some great sources I'd love to see them.
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's 20 years old, now, but Ellen Spertus' Why are there so few female computer scientists is sadly still relevant.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:12 AM on October 30, 2011

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