Hello, commenters! I’ve been remiss in not taking part in this conversation over the past few days, but to be honest I’ve been a bit overwhelmed—thankfully, less by the bits of vitriol I’ve seen sprout up, and more by the thoughtfulness nearly all of you have had in your responses, here and around the web. In fact, here are some follow-up pieces, if you missed them:
* *Margot Bloomstein* wrote about “Using Math to Prop Open the Door”: http://appropriateinc.com/ideas/math-to-prop-open-the-door/
* *Tricia Rosetty* wrote “A Response to Universal Design IRL”: http://triciarosetty.com/a-response-to-universal-design-ir/
* *Squirrel & Moose* recorded a podcast called “Do Not Feed the Trolls”: http://3rdaverad.io/shows/squirrel-and-moose/episodes/do-not-feed-the-trolls/
* *Faruk Ates* explained “The Problem with a Slate of White, Male Speakers”: http://farukat.es/journal/2012/11/673-problem-slate-white-male-speakers
Apologies if I’ve missed some here. It’s been a crazy week trying to keep up.
While I may disagree with some of you, one thing I hope we can mostly agree on is that these are complex issues—issues not as simple as saying we need more women or black people or non-Americans in a conference. I embrace that complexity—welcome the gray areas—because it’s those gray areas that force us to think critically about our values and our actions, and to be, above all, empathetic.
That said, there are many ways in which discrimination happens, and also many ways in which diversity happens. White men can be discriminated against for a wide range of reasons (income level, region, language, education, etc. etc. etc.). However, we’re still largely operating within a societal structure _designed by and for white men._ If we continue to create events that only cater to white men, then we perpetuate that social structure—and we lose out on the ideas and innovation we could be getting from others, if we _actively_—not passively—welcomed them in. This doesn’t help anyone.
Thank you all for reading carefully, discussing passionately, and sharing mostly productive, constructive comments. Carry on.