Speaker Deck

Expanding Your Empathy

by Kronda Adair

Published September 19, 2014 in Technology

I believe empathy is the core competency that is missing from much of the efforts to push the tech community in a direction towards more diversity of all kinds. Companies, communities and conferences cannot expect everything to magically change until they're willing to go deep and examine the systemic patterns and structures that keep underrepresented communities from feeling safe and welcome in the tech space.

When confronting racism results in a critique of the manner in which the offender was confronted by the people calling themselves supporters, it makes it that much harder to address the real issues.

If a man's first response to a woman complaining about a sexist incident or a sexual assault is to defend all the men who 'aren't like that,' that shows a lack of empathy. It keeps the focus on how men are being perceived, not empathizing with a woman who has been hurt.

This talk is for people in positions of all sorts of privilege who consider themselves allies to underrepresented minorities and want to learn how to be more effective allies.

We'll talk about what it's like to live as a minority--why someone might have what seems to you like an 'overreaction' to something that seems small.

How to stop, drop, and empathize before you go on the personal defensive for anger that's directed at a group that you happen to be a part of, even if you didn't specifically do anything wrong.

We'll talk about tone policing, derailing, man-splaining and other hurtful behaviors that are sometimes practiced by well meaning people who consider themselves allies.

Presented at:

Open Source Bridge 2013 http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/1148
Madison Ruby 2014 http://madisonruby.org

Further reading: http://kronda.com/diversity-101