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Checking Your Privilege
A How-To for Hard Things
Leslie Hawthorn
Director of Developer Relations
leslie.hawthorn@elasticse...
The Human Element
in development
Laying the Foundations
Ground Rules for this Talk
My opinions, not my employer’s
Knowledge Sharing
Judgement
Free
Our Story So Far…
Under Represented Groups in Tech
• Women are 25x more likely to be
harassed online than men
• Women are ...
Why This Matters
Diverse teams increase the bottom line
Our System Defaults &
Their Discontents
Bias & discrimination are inherent in our social systems,
making them hard to dete...
Examining Our Defaults
“I can be fooled by
anyone who looks like
Mark Zuckerberg.”
- Paul Graham, Y Combinator, on
whom he...
Hidden Bias & You
Why We Cling to Our Biases
• Biases are part of
how we define
ourselves
• We benefit from our
biases
• We’re uncomfortable
t...
Overcoming bias requires
increasing empathy
Overcoming Bias
Experiment 1: Change Your Speech Defaults
Hi, guys.
That’s gay!
You throw like a girl.
You’re crazy!
What ...
• Use social media to understand other perspectives
• Listen != retweet, +1, reposting, commenting, providing advice
• #No...
Your next empathy building
mission….
Change your online avatars &
profile pics to depict you as:
• a woman
• a man of color...
• Recenter discussions on
people whose points have
been dismissed, then restated
• Bring the conversation back to
individu...
Provide sincere apologies when you make a mistake.
Overcoming Bias
Experiment 5: Ask for Help & Accept It Humbly
Leveling Up
Ways to Improve Your Communication with *Everyone*
Practice Active Listening
Gain More Understanding
Ask more
questions.
Make fewer
assumptions.
Measure Your Actions
• Count how often you
• have the floor in meetings
and discussions
• interrupt other people
• dismiss ...
Leveling Up: Share Your Tips
Questions &
Knowledge Sharing Time
Thank you for attending!
Leslie Hawthorn
Director of Developer Relations
leslie.hawthor...
The Legal Bits
• This presentation is licensed Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0): https://
creati...
Photo Credits
• Creation / Leaf in Hand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smanography/2299171379/
• Foundation: http://www.flick...
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Checking Your Privilege: A How-To for Hard Things

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Presented at linux.conf.au 2015. This talk is an extended version of the keynote address presented at OSCON 2014.

Video will be posted at: https://www.youtube.com/user/linuxconfau2015/videos

Over the past 3 years, we’ve witnessed the discussion of the role of women and other underrepresented groups in technology grow broader, deeper and louder. From Wired to the Wall Street Journal, we’ve heard the message that we all have a problem. Even more exciting, major tech employers are just starting to respond with hard demographic data to back up years of academic research – and lived experiences – on the gender gap.

So, the first step is admitting we have a problem. But where do we all go from here?

The answer is simple, but the solutions are not: understanding one’s privilege requires hard work. Doing something productive with that understanding is even more difficult. We’ll all require a great deal more empathy for individuals whose lives we’ve never led, whose experiences we’ve never shared and whose challenges are all the same, but still quite different – and often greater – than our own.

In this talk, I’ll provide the audience with a how-to for journeying on the path to greater self-awareness and empathy:

* Understanding your own biases
* Taking the first steps toward leveling up in your interactions
* Having more useful conversations and collaborations with everyone you know

The purpose of this talk is to reexamine the topic through the lens of concrete things individuals can do to check their privilege – and to put it to work serving themselves and others.

http://linux.conf.au/schedule/30258/view_talk?day=wednesday

Published in: Technology
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Checking Your Privilege: A How-To for Hard Things

  1. 1. Checking Your Privilege A How-To for Hard Things Leslie Hawthorn Director of Developer Relations leslie.hawthorn@elasticsearch.com @lhawthorn
  2. 2. The Human Element in development
  3. 3. Laying the Foundations Ground Rules for this Talk My opinions, not my employer’s
  4. 4. Knowledge Sharing Judgement Free
  5. 5. Our Story So Far… Under Represented Groups in Tech • Women are 25x more likely to be harassed online than men • Women are more likely to be interrupted • Women make up 20% or less of tech workforce at major companies • The numbers for most people of color are much, much worse • Transgendered people receive disproportionate & violent harassment both on & off the job • The list goes on ….
  6. 6. Why This Matters Diverse teams increase the bottom line
  7. 7. Our System Defaults & Their Discontents Bias & discrimination are inherent in our social systems, making them hard to detect & even harder to combat.
  8. 8. Examining Our Defaults “I can be fooled by anyone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg.” - Paul Graham, Y Combinator, on whom he’ll choose for Venture Capital investment
  9. 9. Hidden Bias & You
  10. 10. Why We Cling to Our Biases • Biases are part of how we define ourselves • We benefit from our biases • We’re uncomfortable that we have these biases at all
  11. 11. Overcoming bias requires increasing empathy
  12. 12. Overcoming Bias Experiment 1: Change Your Speech Defaults Hi, guys. That’s gay! You throw like a girl. You’re crazy! What a retarded idea. This code is lame.
  13. 13. • Use social media to understand other perspectives • Listen != retweet, +1, reposting, commenting, providing advice • #NotAllMen is not a useful addition to a conversation Overcoming Bias Experiment 2: *Listen* to People Who are Not Like You
  14. 14. Your next empathy building mission…. Change your online avatars & profile pics to depict you as: • a woman • a man of color • a woman of color • a person of size Overcoming Bias Experiment 3: Change Your Online Persona
  15. 15. • Recenter discussions on people whose points have been dismissed, then restated • Bring the conversation back to individuals who were interrupted or ignored • Point out individuals’ mistakes with respect Overcoming Bias Experiment 4: Speak Up for Others
  16. 16. Provide sincere apologies when you make a mistake. Overcoming Bias Experiment 5: Ask for Help & Accept It Humbly
  17. 17. Leveling Up Ways to Improve Your Communication with *Everyone*
  18. 18. Practice Active Listening
  19. 19. Gain More Understanding Ask more questions. Make fewer assumptions.
  20. 20. Measure Your Actions • Count how often you • have the floor in meetings and discussions • interrupt other people • dismiss ideas without working them through with the other person • Use the results of these measurements to change your behaviors.
  21. 21. Leveling Up: Share Your Tips
  22. 22. Questions & Knowledge Sharing Time Thank you for attending! Leslie Hawthorn Director of Developer Relations leslie.hawthorn@elasticsearch.com @lhawthorn
  23. 23. The Legal Bits • This presentation is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0): https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ • Please reuse, remix and share widely! • The images used in this presentation are copyright their respective owners and used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
  24. 24. Photo Credits • Creation / Leaf in Hand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smanography/2299171379/ • Foundation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/city-amsterdam/12101321055 • Justice: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ensh/6204837462/ • Harassment / Hand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keoni101/5132652314/ • Money: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/8463683689 • Bandaid: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanie_in_love/5434424913/ • Young man in a hoodie: http://www.flickr.com/photos/100013566@N03/12853691273/ • Young women in orchestra: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcomartinscosta/418200303/ • Static cling kitten: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31333486@N00/1802425453/ • Empathy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/15925430129/ • Speech bubble: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/2979328682/ • Social media: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/9894304255/ • Avatar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31333486@N00/2037593361 • Megaphone: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazzat/5412540184/ • Humility: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indymetro/13310400055 • Can and String ‘Telephone’: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiertz/13195153284 • Listening is an act of love sign: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneworldgallery/2245563352/ • Assume: http://www.flickr.com/photos/x1brett/3949835761/ • Broken bulb: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uaeincredible/1458303830/ • Bridge: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kpaulus/14574838075/

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