[hackerspaces] Safe Space Policies?

Al Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Mon Jan 27 04:26:43 CET 2014

I don’t have anything against them. I’m one of them. I also happen to have queer friends and family and I work professionally in technology with various LGBT folks, women, and, when I’m lucky, non-whites. I hear what they have to say about how they feel treated in “hacker” groups and the like. Have we forgotten the recent controversies at various hacker conventions about how women are treated?

When a white male heterosexual says “We don’t have a discrimination problem! I’ve never seen any discrimination!” or “An anti-discrimination policy is just silly,” it is coming from a place of privilege. Such people are the majority of folks at hackerspaces and in technology. OF COURSE they feel comfortable. Every hackerspace is set up to cater to them and their, often unconscious, perceptions and biases. They’ll feel right at home.

Ask a woman or a queer person of color their impression of hackerspace culture and hackerspaces they’ve visited or just how one is often treated if female and you’ll often get a very different viewpoint.

So het geek guys going “No problem to see here, move along!” should be taken with a grain of salt and people should recognize the biases at play. The fact that I have to explain this is just saddening.


From: Volatile Compound Volatile Compound
Reply: Hackerspaces General Discussion List discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
Date: January 26, 2014 at 7:24:19 PM
To: discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
Subject:  Re: [hackerspaces] Safe Space Policies?  
Gee, Al, what have you got against white male heterosexuals? This is at 
least the second or third time today you've singled them out. 
Al Billings

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