I suspect this may make a few people angry, but I felt the need to share.
I was recently asked to go through my contacts and put together calls with some technologists for a series of discussions. OK. I thought about what we’d need, compared it to a mental list of people and what I know about their work in my head and started sending emails. I got in touch with people. Everyone was interested in helping out. It was a win.
Well, I talked yesterday about reading that blog post by Susan J. Fowler and the confusion it caused. I just don’t understand it. Further, I don’t understand it on two levels.
Acknowledging that I’m the most evil, privileged individual on the planet, cis-gendered white male, I just don’t see it. Don’t get me wrong. I see harassment of women… way more than I would like. Further, I see it within the IT community, especially out at bars… What the heck is wrong with you guys… Anyway… Different topic… I’m saying I don’t see it occurring, in front of my eyes, in the working environment. No, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I’m saying if it does happen, it’s pretty well hidden because I’ve sure as heck seen other prejudices on open display in the work place. To my shame, I haven’t always called people out on it in the past (oh, but I have called people out on it). I’ve never once seen someone passed over for a position or help or what have you because of their sex. However, I’m sure it happens, but I don’t get it. I’m pretty sure if you need someone to do VeryImportantTechnologyX within your company right darned now, it doesn’t really matter if they sit or stand when peeing.
This is not a “oh I’m so awesome” moment, but I don’t seem to be able to do it either. Those technologists I contacted in my little story above, later, when I was thinking about all this, I realized, I had invited 3 women and 3 men. It wasn’t intentional. I hadn’t planned for parity. I just knew the knowledge that I needed to get and I knew the people who had that knowledge. It just so happened that some of them were women and some were men. This isn’t because I’m a saint. It’s because I’m a nerd. I need info. You have info. Your sex, orientation, skin color… I just don’t give a rats behind. OK, I need you to speak English. You could call that a prejudice, or you could just point and laugh at the person who only speaks one language (the first is silly, the second is appropriate). I really thought that was the way most nerds worked.
I Don’t Understand
In short, I don’t understand. If you’re hiring someone for a technical position, does it really matter the distribution of their chromosomes beyond how well they can do the job? If you need a problem solved and you know, absolutely know, that a woman has the answer, are you really going to skip by her trying to find a man? I guess I’m crazy, but I just don’t understand that attitude. No, don’t bother trying to explain it to me. You’ll just make me angry.