Human cognitive diversity exists for a reason; our differences are the genius – and the conscience – of our species.
Dyslexic children often have better imaginations than non-dyslexics, after all, but nobody labels the “normal” children as having an “imagination disability.”
These children’s brains are organizing themselves differently, and it should go without saying that their developmental arc may therefore be different. When we interfere in the process of this organization, when we stigmatize it and test it and remediate it prematurely — when we try to teach dyslexics to think like other children by aggressively drilling them in phonics — Cooper says we are robbing these children of the opportunity to build organically on their many strengths rather than being treated as something broken that needs fixing.
Some simply have a different learning strategy; one that absorbs, considers, consolidates, integrates, and then suddenly blossoms fully formed.
If your learning style doesn’t fit this year’s theory, you will be humiliated, remediated, scrutinized, stigmatized, tested, and ultimately diagnosed and labelled as having a mild defect in your brain.
People all over the world know these things about children and learning, and interestingly, they are as workable for learning how to design software or conduct a scientific experiment or write an elegant essay as they are for learning to hunt caribou or identify medicinal plants in a rainforest.
But we don’t know them any more.
Source: A Thousand Rivers: What The Modern World Has Forgotten About Children And Learning
If you really care about diversity, don’t let unpaid, unrewarded labor be piled on marginalized people – your people.
Source: Whose job is it to D&I anyway?
Don’t make underrepresented people work a second job as diversity champions. – Natasha Litt, Data Engineer at New Relic
Source: Is Your Employee Resource Group Helping Or Hurting? | Ellevate
Underrepresented employees already have to overcome discriminatory barriers in their careers; they shouldn’t be expected to volunteer their time to help their companies do the same.
Source: Exclusive: How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boys’ Club | Vanity Fair
The vast majority of this activism is being led by underrepresented people – some working at tech companies, some starting their own, and many working outside of traditional structures as independent activists or as part of new collectives. In addition to managing the daily toll of existing as a marginalized person in technology, they are also taking on the challenging, taxing and often thankless work of culture change… and it doesn’t come without a cost. Diversity in tech work is having a profound, negative impact on advocates’ happiness, mental and physical health and work/life balance, as well as their safety, relationships, careers and security.
Activist burnout is something more widely documented in other social justice communities, yet less understood and discussed in tech itself. In fact, it remains a highly taboo topic: in our recent informal survey on tech activism and burnout, we found that the vast majority of respondents chose to remain anonymous. Still, their responses made one thing absolutely clear: burnout is one of the #1 challenges facing the movement.
Source: Putting a Spotlight on Diversity in Tech Burnout by The Editor | Model View Culture
One thing that short vote to impeach the president makes visible: the degree to which impeachment pits a diverse America of women, people of color, and immigrants trying to uphold democracy against a white, largely male past trying to use corrupt means to cling to power.
Source: emptywheel on Twitter
The Republicans who voted against were all white. Just two were women. These Republicans voted to permit a racist white male President to cheat to get reelected in violation of the rule of law.
This is about a clash between the rising America and the past.
Source: A Diverse America Votes to Uphold the Constitution; A Largely Male White America Votes to Abrogate It | emptywheel
For that white male past to retain power, this impeachment makes clear, they need to abrogate the Constitution and join Trump in his fondness for authoritarianism.
Source: emptywheel on Twitter
Trump’s political movement is pro-authoritarian and pro-oligarch. It has no interest in preserving pluralism, free and fair elections or any version of the rule of law that applies to the powerful as well as the powerless. It’s contemptuous of the notion of America as a lofty idea rather than a blood-and-soil nation.
Source: Opinion | Democracy Grief Is Real – The New York Times
The idea of neurodiversity suggests a much more complex system, a more deeply heterogeneous social system, than most people realize. This neurodiversity is what makes human society so dynamic and creative. The lack of it in other social species it what keeps them relatively stagnant in comparison.
My diagnosis, then, has had a significant impact on the way I think of myself and on the way I think about social issues. When you begin to realize that so many important people in the past and present were on the autism spectrum, and that autism is over-represented among creative people, you start thinking about creativity and social evolution quite differently. You also think about the importance of autism in society differently.
Source: Adult Diagnosis: Now What? – An Intense World
White feelings are now the center of legal decision making about Black experiences with racism.
Source: Diversity is a Dangerous Set-up – Space + Anthropology – Medium
Over and over, the humanity of certain people is allowed to be put up for debate in the name of “ideological diversity.” How can a liberal institution square its essential humanism with an ideal of inclusion so baggy as to promote the sort of cruelties that liberals, at least publicly, mean to oppose?
And I think the problem for us, or the essential conflict for us, is that we set ourselves up with I think a pretty admirable value that says, OK, we are going to debate different poles of politics in this country. And we want that well-represented, and we want people that can do it effectively, write well. But if one pole is — and again, I’m only speaking for myself here — if one pole is batshit crazy, you’re in trouble. It actually throws the whole endeavor out of whack.
Source: Leak: The Atlantic Had A Meeting About Kevin Williamson. It Was A Liberal Self-Reckoning. | HuffPost
I updated “Bring the backchannel forward. Written communication is the great social equalizer.” with a selection from “Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking”.
One day someone will write a history of the Internet, in which that great series of tubes will emerge as one long chain of inventions not just geared to helping people connect in more ways, but rather, to help more and more types of people communicate just as nimbly as anyone else. But for the story here, the most crucial piece in the puzzle is this: Disability is an engine of innovation simply because no matter what their limitations, humans have such a relentless drive to communicate that they’ll invent new ways to do so, in spite of everything.
You could describe this in that old cliche that necessity breeds invention. But a more accurate interpretation is that in empathizing with others, we create things that we might never have created ourselves. We see past the specifics of what we know, to experiences that might actually be universal.
Source: Microsoft’s Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking: By studying underserved communities, the tech giant hopes to improve the user experience for everyone.