Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.

The diversity backlash

How conversations about diversity at technology conferences start…

“Oh, you are organising a conference about web design? That’s cool. You know, it’d be really awesome if you had a few more women and ethnic minorities presenting at the event. You may need to work a bit harder to get these people, but there are well-documented ways of doing this kind of outreach. I’m not suggesting a quota or tokenism, just maybe a few speakers who aren’t white dudes. Because girls rock too.”

How conversations about diversity at technology conferences probably ought to end…

“That sounds cool. Sorry, we kind of sucked at it this year. We’ll try better next time.”

How conversations about diversity at technology conferences actually end…

How dare you suggest that I’m a sexist, racist, homophobic bigot? I’ve got loads of non-white and gay friends and if I hated women, why am I married to one? You are demanding that we give one of our speaker slots to someone who is less qualified and by doing so you inherently suggest that the only thing that makes someone worth listening to is their gender or race or sexual orientation. Which makes you the real racist, sexist bigot, so ner-ner-ner!!! You are bullying conference organisers by suggesting that they are racist and sexist and are destroying the technology industry, you horrible socialist Nazis.

Yes. Hacker News sometimes gets into such a froth, I have difficulty telling it apart from Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News. First they come for our gigs speaking on panels at technology conferences, next they’ll come for our guns!

Want to see what I’m talking about? Go read this.