Blameful Post Mortem: Male Allies Edition

by The Editor on October 16th, 2014

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Blameful Post Mortem

Our blameful post mortem this week goes to male “allies.” As women in tech and gaming withstand weeks of coordinated attacks by hate groups, male allies are busy doing what male allies do best: taking the stage to talk about themselves.

At the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing “male allies” panel, a number of white men (including the CEO of GoDaddy) presented a truly mediocre, fumbling and uninspired parody of allyship as they encouraged women to “lean in” and “BUILD AMAZING THINGS!!!” They also discussed how difficult it is to be a male ally from the safety and glory of the stage, with no mention of how women in tech are literally driven from their homes and careers by harassment and abuse.

Then, we got this gem of regurgitated, tepid advice from Andreessen Horowitz board member Steven Sinofsky, sufficiently intoxicated on a16z’s trademark arrogance to pen “Fostering a better work environment for women” when the vast majority of his portfolio companies are run by white men and too many (cough, Github, cough) are known for systemic abuse of women at work. Not that that should prevent his immediate accession to expert status!

Happily, Steven was able to overcome those pesky obstacles of “experience” and “competence” to present us with INNOVATIVE NEW ADVICE ABOUT WOMEN like “Know the women on your team!!” and “Hire, promote and mentor women.” Thanks, Steven! We’re so happy you’re here to guide us — it’s not like there are literally hundreds of women in tech who have written on this topic with more insight and eloquence but aren’t “thought leadery” enough to get their editorials placed in major industry platforms!

With allies like this…

Tech, Culture and Diversity News

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“On average, just 2% of technology workers at seven Silicon Valley companies that have released staffing numbers are black; 3% are Hispanic. But last year, 4.5% of all new recipients of bachelor’s degrees in computer science or computer engineering from prestigious research universities were African American, and 6.5% were Hispanic, according to data from the Computing Research Association.” Here’s a must-read that challenges the “pipeline argument.”

Attacks on women in gaming have continued unabated, and are even escalating. While the mainstream press has picked up the story, it’s important to remember that while these attacks have particularly targeted some of the most visible women in the industry, many, many women are right now experiencing ongoing harassment and abuse. For every rape and death threat that is reported, there are dozens if not hundreds that aren’t. The current climate holds a huge threat not only to specifically targeted individuals, but to thousands of women in the industry: these attacks are deliberately designed to terrorize, silence and drive them out.

Revision Path is a showcase of the world’s Black graphic designers, web designers and web developers and they need our support!

We have a new “news” blog that we’ll be posting in a few times a week. Yay! This week, we covered the recent Snapchat hacks, previous FTC complaints against the service, and the ethical implications of apps that cater to underage youth.

On the heels of Snapchat hacks, the Washington Post reports that Whisper, an “anonymous” messaging app, has shared information with the U.S. government and lied to users about the privacy and ephemerality of messages.

Cate Huston writes about “tweeting shit that men say”, on GHC, tone, empathy and bearing witness.

Trans*H4CK Boston is coming soon! Taking place at Harvard November 14-16. Awesome speakers have already been announced. And, they are still seeking sponsors!

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