On Social Justice Movements in Tech

Angel and Devils

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

This is from a series of posts I made on Twitter today. The fact that I’m having an anxiety attack while I type this probably tells you how scared I am about the reaction. While I’ve for the most part kept quiet about this stuff for the last several months, I felt like I should post this. If it rings true for you, great. If not, that’s fine too.

So I’m going to post some things now. They’re probably going to make some people hate me (more). But I feel a need to say it.

I’ve been really conflicted about how much of the social justice in tech stuff has been going.

To be clear, I was an advocate and donor to many causes related to gender diversity in tech. That’s not to brag, just to give background information.

I’ve been concerned about some stuff I’ve been seeing, so I talked some to friends. One was very active in feminism online. She told me lots of things that rang true to me. Maybe they will to you too. If not, that’s cool. So I’m going to quote a few things.

My choice was to drop out of the community and do something less soul killing.

The focus turned on me – I have folks out there on tumblr who, five years later, still call me out by name as being a travesty to feminism.

So consider whether the most vocal among you are dealing with this in a maladaptive way, and if they are, my advice is to not engage them.

There’s no one right path to liberation and anyone who tells you that is selling you something.

I’m not saying they’re all wrong or should be ignored, but I do take all the “my way or the highway” talk with a grain of salt.

I’ve seen this over and over and over and over again.

My folks who have been involved since the BBS days, and even the brick & mortar activist days say that this is just part of the landscape. Liberal movements eat themselves.

So, that’s why I don’t really talk about it anymore, and that’s why I don’t participate in it anymore. Where I feel I can address these issues in my daily life, I will. But I’m done with gender diversity advocacy work in tech for the forseeable future. It is, in its current form, unsustainable for me. More power to those who have the strength and energy I do not.

I believe in the ends. I don’t believe in using bullying language and ignoring empathy to get there. I won’t support organizations or individuals who advocate it.

And that’s that.