Blameful Post-Mortem: Fires, Class Action Lawsuits and Bears

by The Editor on March 27th, 2015

Ok, actually no bears, but:

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and now:

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Joining the recent high-profile discrimination lawsuits against Facebook and Kleiner Perkins: a new lawsuit against Twitter cites race and gender discrimination and is seeking class-action status, asking “all current and former female employees of Twitter denied promotions in the three years prior to the filing of this complaint” to join.

Related, from our news section – an editorial on the barriers, limitations and potential of discrimination lawsuits across the industry: “With the results of the Kleiner Perkins lawsuit coming soon, we can hope for a precedent that may lead to greater culture change across the industry as well as financial restitution for victims of discrimination within it. However, it’s important to also consider factors of access to legal resources, the personal and career costs of filing to marginalized people, lawsuit-suppression intimidation tactics by tech companies, and the role of intersectionality as we monitor the state and growth of discrimination lawsuits across the industry.”

18F, a US-government organization focused on digital services, puts its code to the “Bechdel Test for Tech,” stipulating that a function written by a woman developer must call a function written by another woman developer to pass.

The Baffler whines that “radical critique of technology in America has come to a halt,” completely erasing and ignoring the massive amount of tech criticism produced by marginalized people over the past five + years — criticism which is more visible and more effective than ever. Hmmm…

Twitter has added a user filter for abusive content, but it’s only available to verified users. Verified users are typically people associated with large news organizations or who are celebrities, leaving unaffiliated and marginalized people who may actually be targets of more abuse and impersonation attempts behind. The pattern of offering higher-quality abuse tools to verified users than to unverified users is concerning, especially when not backed by promises for broader roll-out.

Hacker School, an educational retreat focused on programming, is changing its name to Recurse Center, citing cultural implications of the term “hacker”: “‘Hacker’ is bad because so much of the world thinks of hackers as computer criminals and not clever programmers, which is the meaning we intended. And even for many people familiar with our use of the word, ‘hacker’ can feel exclusionary. (‘Hacker’ was also not exactly helpful to the roughly 30% of each batch who cross the U.S. border to get here.)”

From ThinkProgress: How Asian American Women Are Forgotten In The Tech Diversity Debate — “Professor Joan C. Williams, author of a recent groundbreaking report on women of color in STEM, told ThinkProgress diametrically opposed images of Asian American women in the industry aren’t odd or uncommon at all but part of the very specific oppression Asian women face in STEM. Her research shows while all women are forced to navigate a tightrope between being seen as too feminine to be competent or too masculine to be likable, Asian American women walk the thinnest line of all. ‘The tightrope is literally narrower for Asian American women,’ Williams said. Asian American women are more likely than other women to report pressures to play traditionally feminine roles, such as office mother or dutiful daughter, but also backlash for stereotypically masculine behaviors such as being assertive and self-promoting.”


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