I think it’s really important that everyone in technology or really anywhere practices this.
There are a lot of marginalized groups in this world and yet in those groups there is also always excellence and even barring excellence, good people! Good to have a list of groups to keep in mind: Races, genders, sexes, orientations, religion, heritage, disabled people, etc. A huge host of the greatest discoveries and contributions to this world have historically been from people in one or more of these groups. Whether or not those people were recognized for it or were destroyed by brutes while alive is a different matter altogether. The list of these people is huge… I won’t copy pasta it here. But it’s more than a trend. Why? I think it’s because these people make easier targets for serious jerks…
But lately there’s been solid discussions world-wide about the broader effort, “inclusion”. Not just “stop targeting specific people/groups you biggot”. Just creating a healthy welcoming environment for all people, because it’s better that way and actually heals communities. Good buzz word is equanimity.
Jeese people can even be discriminated against for their lack of familial wealth, nonattendance to a single school/event, or degree attainment, etc. Meanwhile I’ve learned a ton from people who were dirt poor, crazy wealthy, didn’t go to school, or had serious distinctions after post doctoral studies, had severe disabilities, were healthy, were dying, were black, yellow, red, brown, and white, gay, straight, something in the middle, etc. Inclusion is paramount to growth and health of individuals and thereby communities… It’s not a “gift” or a “pitty” move, it’s literally about correcting the ills of society, the wrongs committed by others. In my opinion it’s a bare minimum expectation for conscience(Gen Z’ers seem to call those “Woke”) creatures.
But its more than a sentence on a web-page, a paragraph in a newsletter, or posts on social media that doubles as advertising(cough a business move). It’s a lifestyle commitment: to not fearing your neighbors, to raising someone up who has improved your life/project/livelihood/etc, to being okay with someone else having a good idea/contribution and that person not looking/acting/coming up the same way as you did.
Over the internet you really never know who you are working with/talking too. I speculate that this community has lots of people who need inclusion efforts and even protection…
Rules for success:
Educate. Some of those marginalized people had their scientific contributions stolen from them without accreditation, were killed, suffered career assassination, comited suicide, were condemned to live in destitute isolation and deteriorated into madness, etc. Especially in physics and math. Share their stories - the history repeats itself. Celebrate their successes publicly and condemn the injustices.
Be human. All people deserve respect. Ask instead of assume. Admit when you made mistakes. Apologize for ignorance. Speak up when someone says something marginalizing. Let the marginalized people know that it was unacceptable “face-to-face”.
Be humble. Recognize even the newest of new things that is done is a compilation of many others contributions. Work together, not against one another.
Have fun. Sharing and growing with new people is a blast. That’s really the point of all of this OSS stuff anyways right?
Where I see problems: It’s much easier to do this in a nonprofessional community. Less brutes, less stakes, and less of a group to protect at all costs. When business interests step in, you’ll pretty much always see less people speaking up for one another, sharing their minds, letting things slide, or even “targeting” the minority because its less effort than correcting the actual issues. Not to say it cannot be done, but it does require input energy to get an output result.
Two people to read about today involving this field: Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace. We’d be so far behind without them.