Monday, April 28, 2014

Dear Jeff: Good. For. You.

Jeff: You don't know me, we've never met, but you've run across a nasty spate for your post on how men can help address some of the awful things that happen in our industry. I wanted to add my voice of support to you.

The diversity movement, or whatever that movement names itself, is trying to bring some much needed change to our world. Good for them. Some of their leaders have suffered some horrible things in life, and they've got some powerful stuff they're trying to spread awareness of. Good for them too.

That said, I'm incredibly saddened at the venom and bile you've had thrown at you. Too many in the diversity movement have no room for any voices or any views other than exactly what's put forth by those leaders. Ironically, there's no tolerance for diversity of views or voices.

Worse yet, there are some in that movement who explicity want white males to have no voice whatsoever. They'll couch it in fluffy phrases like "people with power should restrict their speaking to amplifying the words of those without" but at the core they're demanding to stereotype and marginalize a group of people while trying to uplift others who've been stereotyped and marginalized. In what twisted universe is that even logical, respectful, or even close to right?

I'm especially saddened with the reaction you received because you made some terrific points which were shouted down or ignored. Looking to Martin Luther King as a model instead of (literally) screaming profanities at people? How's that wrong?

Emphasizing the need to start early in life and focus on kids? We need more people with your reach talking about this. Asking people to line up with Hacker School Rules and calling out guys for bad behavior? YES YES YES!

Yes, you should have done a few things better. I do wish you'd referenced Shanley Kane's post from the get-go. It's obvious she gave you some bit of inspiration or motiviation. I really dislike her tone and approach, but I think it's important folks know more about her--even if for no other reason to say "I can't agree with her approach, but there's a few things to be learned."

At the end of the day you were adding your voice and thoughts to raise awareness in a horribly sensitive, messy, human problem area. My good pal Leon Gersing has a number of amazing presentations he's done in front of thousands of people. One of his best thoughts is something in the lines of (paraphrased) "You don't need anyone's permission to do what you feel is right."

I'm glad you wrote your post.


1 comment:

Marc McVey said...

I was unaware of Jeff Atwood's post until you liked to it here. I breezed through it, got the main points and I agree with his assertion. THEN I got to the comments section. Some of the responses are Jaw dropping.
Indeed. Good for Jeff.

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