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Why It's Easy to Ignore the Lack of Diversity in Tech w/ Rebekah Michael

Found this great talk and wanted to share it with the DEV community.

Main Argument

When individuals feel different, they feel forced to "fake it"/appear to be someone else in order to work in technology environments. Rebekah feels that it's crucial to an industry founded on problem solving, that we seek out those that have experience with different problems than our own and who can bring to light solutions that would otherwise not be considered. But, for that to be possible they need safe spaces where they can stop β€œfaking it”.

Let’s Discuss

How can we build work communities where no one is "faking it"? Where it's safe to talk about your challenges, to fail, and to have a different background/perspective from the others at your company?

Top comments (3)

rina profile image

Ty for sharing this video.

To answer your question: I think a community like is a great example of such a place. One of the many things that have attracted me to it and keep bringing me back, is that many of the articles here show some of the dark sides of development and don't shy away from admitting the issues faced by many but talked about by a few.

As for the speaker: I am glad that she stressed the importance of different backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. What I wish she would up covered is that having a safe place to learn does not mean that people will be free from criticism, I firmly believe without constructive criticism no one learns anything.

edunham profile image
E. Dunham

I feel least pressured to "fake it" in contexts where I know my behavior won't be taken as characteristic of everyone who looks like me. I put on the least facade in media like IRC, where no race nor gender nor age nor cultural data is available about anyone until they choose to volunteer it.

I personally feel the greatest pressure to put on a facade when I believe that I was primarily invited to an event for my appearance, or to tick the "we have X% people from Y group" box. This happened constantly when I published a traditionally female name on my social media but has very nearly stopped once it occurred to me that I have the freedom to only offer people the information about myself that I want them to act on or discuss.

andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

I think a work community that provides opportunity for advancement and speaking your mind creates an environment where people don't have to fake it. Creating that sort of environment is the harder part (and the question at hand). I've only had a few jobs, but the ones where I felt there were little or no opportunity were the ones I felt least comfortable presenting my opinions and true self.

Wish I had a good idea or answer to the question. It's a hard one, alright.