Writing 03: Diversity in Computing and Technology

I think the computing and technology community should not work towards creating a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community, but I highly disagree with the way in which things are being done. We are trying to balance out everything, down to the ratio between different people that are in the bathroom at the same time. There will naturally be unevenness in certain areas of computing, such as what people are attracted to what teams in a big company. For example, I learned about a certain person who was visually impaired, and he went to work at Google and joined the team that works on accessibility. No one complained that he chose that team, because it was his own interest. No one tried to encourage him to go to another team just because they needed a blind person for quota purposes. What I think we should work on is making the people who are already in computing and technology not feel discriminated against or harassed. So, there is a difference between encouraging people to join, and making them feel safe. We need to work on the second one before we can focus on the first one. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise. We would be inviting people into a space that they wouldn’t feel comfortable in, just so that we meet the numbers. James Damore spoke about certain groups being more suited for certain things. Instead of trying to force a reality that doesn’t exist, just accept it and use it to understand reality more. For example, people say the bar has been lowered for minorities. I 100% agree. However, just because the bar was lowered doesn’t mean minorities are less capable. If a minority has a lower test score, it may have more to say about his training than his capabilities. For example, I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. If there was a copy of me, except that that person speaks English at home, you would and should expect that on average, I will score lower. So, me scoring lower is a result of uneven preparation, not so much a difference in capabilities. This is what I mean when I say, accept reality and use it to understand reality. I accept that the bar has been lowered. Then I ask myself, “why?” Then I answer that question to get the full picture. Again, this is on average. This is not to say that every single minority that walks in the door will be less prepared than the majority, but on average, yes they will be. So, I think we should not force things, and accept them as they are in order to solve the issues in a realistic manner. I read an article that stated that external biases are less pronounced nowadays, but internal biases are just as strong. This is because we aren’t having the real conversations that allow us to target these internal biases. We are shamed into not sharing out opinions, which is why we don’t externalize them, we just internalize them. However, this does not solve the issue, it only makes it harder to be addressed properly. The only way to have this is to have true conversations where people can accept facts and not see them as an offense, but as an attribute that they can use to understand themselves, their situation, and the world.