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What We Can Learn about Diversity from the Liberal Arts

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and and and and and and and and this is that's my Twitter Arnold cover and up before I start this talk today I need to give a couple of disclaimers most because I picked this title before I I wrote to talk the number 1 the having the word up their diversity now I originally thought and stuff like only act out but are kind diversity you know I that diversity religion and ethnicity and disability and 0 my god this reading is piling up really fast has so for the sake of my sanity on limiting receptive were talking about gender physically of men and women but gender gender and also race as race issues happen in America so getting little specific there OK this Semenovich you see those last 2 words down there liberal arts there's a lot and then do and talking about all of them is just you know not really feasible so for reasons that are going to be unclear in a moment are mostly focusing on English language and literature if the member 3 is that it does is give me for a moment and be talking a lot about race today as a white woman and then we talking a lot about gender even and as a woman who experiences gender in my own limited way I'm not engendered II there's also store 2 different ways to be a woman that I'm not so please please please of with the please do not let what I'm saying today be the only thing you hear about race and gender in this industry and we really go on Google I find out what people call have to say about these issues of a lot of what I'm saying appears based on what they've been saying for years and as well personal reading that's been accumulating arrears us so please educators cells that and my last is clear and a little hesitant to say but you know what
I am 1 of them up off the speaker and buy back now this is me
graduating with a bachelor of arts in English and a minor in Medieval Studies yeah and here I am today figure I on another year graduate again with a master of arts in English and then I moved to Louisville Kentucky a little bit later
to follow my dream of becoming a high school English teacher and it is really low Kentucky that I would learn with most valuable lessons of my life which is that you can love are amazing English language and its power and its beauty and its new wants it sounded you can love sharing that with other people especially young people and at the same time you can hate the American education system so I got a teaching and sort of fell into my current job is the roles to go over that's its own story and I as I changed industries I noticed something for different and some of those things were great like for instance I am a huge fan of the fact that in this industry you guys pay people with real life actual money
like I remember going to my 1st interview my boss saying almost arch often such a such dollars an hour on a URI can renegotiate like all well I don't have to do a nine-month month unpaid internship followed by a three-month unpaid internship followed by you know maybe a minimum wage part time jobs this amazing I have some things lower so great I think we're all pretty
familiar with the statistics that you know women and he will color we got a very small percentage of people in this industry and that is interested me so I want to find out why and read a lot little on people's had to say about this and I noticed a bit of in intellectual Bigfoot running around
it's so it's kind of blurry never explicitly shows its face but there seems to be a widespread belief that it's there and that it would this
just by the nature the arts naturally attract women and people of color and they always have now this is a little this is kind complicated like there's a grain of truth in this maybe you've got like a quarter of a Bigfoot running around which
is you really get look that up and but let we talk about a few things to just problematized us from 1 I won't talk about the cat that
C over those of you who don't ever hearings words high school C. a n o N. it's the writers and the works of literature that we consider to be really really good not the start of the 20th century like up until about the 19 fifties this was the can you may notice something that all of the traders pretty much all of them have in common and we got a few exceptions with the Jane Austen end Alexander do model the right hand corner here he wrote uh can monocrystal among other works but for the most part it felt that people who were considered the luminaries of English and language and literature were like it's as acting on talk about
80 is apt 1 it's 1 we say a liberal arts that that's actually shortening for liberal arts and sciences there's a reason why sites is appended to the end of its because up until before Sputnik the division in higher education wasn't so much arts versus science it was location-based higher education so in things like Walt medicine dentistry step that's tend to be a little bit more steady and everything else the and everything else including things like chemistry physics but anyway so this is a picture from the 19 22 at from the University of Lowell and all the ones that I've circled in red are that this is the liberal arts and science department and all the people I circled in red are professors that that true do traditionally already are we associate with subjects so you know there is a lot bunch of women out there and this is where greater truth is there would have been more women in this department then there would have been pursuing and the OR and same goes for people of color although of for African Americans in particular who were studying medicine at this time your employment opportunities really limited so there also would have been a lot of them out there were the number but not hobbyists per obviously disagree loose not as many studying medicine dentistry that wall the sorts subjects are but 1 thing I would point out is you see those 3 women at the bottom of were not circled in red that that 1 was studying 1 was teaching chemistry and 1 was teaching mathematics and that I think and the other was teaching home at but it wasn't uncommon to see women who were studying at chemistry and physics and biology in college at this time the and so something I want emphasize here is that you know the liberal arts have had their own diversity demons to face down and the diversity that you see today in most the liberal arts that has to do with has there because of a lot of strategies that would deliver it there were employed to on to combat these demons and some of those strategies are employed unseen copied in stem and tech and some will not so much the and I wanna talk about those strategies today that aren't being copied that we could become a first one which I'm calling Fun With
Dick and Jane and power Rangers but had the of and I will find out so for those of
you who are unfamiliar the fuck Dick and Jane serious was a very popular up children's primary series it started being published in 19 twenties stopping publisher the 19 seventies it was for teaching children how to read and featured that these 2 characters had there was that the the brown-haired kid and sat at excuse me j in his the bond and who went on these little white bread suburban adventures and chased spot and all sorts of things and what you see with finding Dick and Jane it is pretty representative of what children's books look like at the start of the 20th century
I'll model not not 1 way people and obviously with 1 big exception here but the black little black sambo books were pretty popular I can find a cover that was a horrendously offensive by you that up in your own time can but you know a lot of that not a lot of people of color the but and mostly very traditional gender roles it tended to be boys that were taking the active role and girls who were learning to cook I know this is a problem because the kids have a super super super super concentrated form of what every human in the world has which is that is and to demonstrate my point that 1 talk a little up
how ranges greater and if you're going up and power and was the big thing on TV open number people might have I a lot of allowed what power rangers that didn't stop me from watching have ranges and playing Power Rangers with my friends so just as a quick experiment here it when you're playing Power Rangers with your friends racially entities to pretend to be the red region but then well what about the blue ranges what about the pin Granger it the the girls raising their hands is saying people tend to gravitate toward people that look like that and that it's not limited to kids I'll be the 1st person to admit that every time I watch the prior to the
Caribbean series and will what's his space goes because there's pirates and I love you Elizabeth I go over Orlando suddenly felt that way yeah it the for those of you forgot my name is Elizabeth which it's OK I don't know your names in the so what the heck is this have to do with text well this is important but with unsightly backtrack a little bit when you have all of these books they're catering towards 1 very specific demographic intestines I get people who are in that demographic to sort of phase out not pay as much attention and in the 19 seventies eighties nineties and continuing there's this big push to make sure that children's literature the stuff that introduced people to language and literature that pull people into our subject what's represented the kind of diversity that we wanted to see so I got a couple of examples up here uh I've got but state the an anklet for a princess a Cinderella story from India but all these came from my local library and I've also got you know for a little bit older there's that be forever American girl series and this is 1 is about 8 native American girl named Qi at our we're still a long way to go here but for the most part you know if you are looking for starters their balls that make sure that the books that were using in our classrooms represent diversity and if you are a Native American man and you wanna make sure that your daughter can see herself in the book she's reading it's not that hard to find so I was happy to attack while wide started thinking you know are really introductory materials that that brings people into this industry are they representing the kind of diversity that we wanna see and to some extent I can answer this
question because I kind of I came into this industry in a little bit of a unique way I didn't use a boot camp on not a computer science major I can however talk about some of the things that I did use to to learn about coding 1 of them was less
anybody here use rougher rovers obvious what people it's a fantastic program it's been wonderful teaching the rails on but for this presentation i went through real on these 1 and 2 and I took a screenshot of every single example of a person or a zombie that was that came up and I wrote down every single sample name that was used and this is the result of for names we have
ash Bob Jim Billy Greg Eric Kim Jo Tony package and Amy as were but pictures we've got these 3 down at the bottom those are the 3 examples of explicitly gendered female some these were people and 1 of them's a logo I we have a couple a gender-neutral lobbyists as also as well which I about should point out that for the most part zombie apocalypse is very male-dominated and in goes a little worse it gets a little worse than this when you think about it because you know None of these armies are wearing he job none of these are these are wearing hearing aids None of these zombie are I have a appeared in term that would indicate were seek when they were alive but I mean there's really not a lot of diversity represented here and to be clear this is not not not not an exclusive to code school problems but another book up here which some of you might be familiar with HTML and CSS by John docket but this was my if you can see how well what is this was my valuable when I was learning HTML and CSS but representations of men outnumber representations of women in this book by about 3 1 representations of women excuse me out when people number representations of people of color by about border 1 which is actually it's worse than that because most of those representations people color come from exactly 2 examples half of them the whereas out white people or more scattered throughout the book so to be clear on not trying to call anybody out or embarrass anyone in it this eventually gets back to code school like uh I'm not trying to accuse anyone of trying to be discriminatory and also code school for heaven's sake if you get this like please don't just go back and put a pink bow on half these obvious because for 1 may ask you something was the last time you actually solve of what a woman with a giant pink bow right here who like how I did that become the universal signifier the but but I think if anything this just demonstrates that you know if you're not actively trying really really hard to make sure that the URI you're making something that's diverse it's easy to fall into a pattern where all the sudden everybody's a guy a good long next part calling on
canon and characters so
don't take you back in time to this slide around this this was the canon at the start of the 20th century you could find me on a few of these names about you know when they were included in you you probably used to be honest but anyway but so this is
various artistic representations of the main characters of some of their more of the most popular work or 1 of the most popular works at the same meeting any we have a couple of exceptions here there's Lovell Dom sounds received in the middle and for people of color there's all the men deists AKA Ramsey's the 2nd but who would have been obviously rejection descent but of for the most part of white dudes tender about white dudes the no this is a
slide of the US during the sixties seventies and ongoing there's this big movement to say you know how hard the people that were overlooking that have not deserving to be called to be put into the canon who are writing really well we might have dismissed them before because they're a woman or a person of all our work at his Oscar Wilde ad that gay or bisexual depending on whom you ask and so there is a big push to go and find these names and this was the result of there's a lot of modern people a lot of people from back in time but Abrantes down the corner and all of these people wrote works that are amazing and just as worthy of being called in literature and and this is a slider
representations of main characters in their books that you might notice the speed is a lot more diverse and the previous 1 because again people like to write about and I did can identify with people who were similar to that In would usually weighs about race and gender so what the point I'm trying to illustrate here is that you know there was this pushed to really have valorise and celebrate women and people of color who were writing books that we might have overlooked but it came out with the simultaneous push to get to make the content itself more diverse to make the literature that were reading represent the stories of more kinds of people and the results are amazing so what does this have to do with fact well 1 of the strategies that that text and copying is celebrating
the names of people who have contributed to this industry of who might even overlooked before and I have 4 as especially with women people color other of poorly represented groups I mean Grace Hopper's everywhere and rightfully so she's amazing up but it has a really come up with a simultaneous pushed to make our content itself represent more diversity and to be fair this is kind of hard because low we got to work with but
it's not impossible for instance a
maybe you we can start celebrating applications of technology that helps underrepresented people just as much as we celebrate Grace Hopper I mean guys we have an app that maps safe restrooms for transgender inter and gender nonconforming individuals technology is making people's lives better who were traditionally underrepresented that's awesome we can start talking about that too know that we can
talk about video games I it's 1 of the most direct way that you can see actual diversity represented in content and so so this is another thing that we can celebrate anyway but keep going next part
getting rid of genius now 1 of the limitations that I was talking about earlier if you remember at the start of this talk was that are mostly can be focusing on English language and literature and the problem is you know not all the liberal arts see the same kind of diversity that English language and literature have at and also not all STEM subjects have a problem with lack of diversity at for instance philosophy has about 30 per cent female representation i in undergraduate majors and it gets even worse when you consider that the canon philosophers really are aren't as diverse as they really as they could be on the end in the subjects like microbiology for instance that about 54 per cent of female representation so it's on some researchers set out to figure you know what the heck is microbiology have in common with English and what is philosophy have in common with physics and they figured out that the answer was genius at without
academic field that emphasize the need for all brilliance were more likely to endorse the claim that women are less well suited than men to be top scholars in the field and further that such field are less welcoming to women now this study focused on i gender representation but you can copy these results are almost exactly the same for people of color as well and the reasons why this is the case on that hard to figure out I mean all of us are growing up in living in the same sort of toxic do that misogyny and racism that that permeates our society in ways that we don't realize and when you grow up the associating the word genius and brilliance and intrinsic worth with about people were white and then then it's gonna permeate you the way you think in ways you don't even realize so English is to
have a really big problem with this in terms of like saying 0 there they're luminaries ingenious is that is that that that that our you know absolutely untouchable such as this guy you might heard of them I think is name is William check spirit but no shared this theory that was a 1 point considered this is the high point of literature he's the greatest writer that ever was that ever will be that ever could be probably came from Krypton 1 is being destroyed but these these amazing and nothing can ever touch him and you know only around brandished number 1 takes the by Shakespeare right about the experiences of Chinese merchants in the 12th century shakespear us you know what was coming from a very limited understanding and he did a pretty good job actually for his time of representing voices of women in particular and also to some extent people of color but it was still all still extremely limited and so we know there was a in this room in the sixties and seventies and ongoing like this calls a OK shakespear was brilliant but let's step back and say you know there are other pictures of the root learned more room for brilliance in this field it so what is a set U of Taq well 1 thing I noticed when I changed industries that wasn't so great is that when you look at job postings it becomes clear that there is yet another mythological beast permeating the subconscious the field and that this you receive the
wizard ninja guru rock developer can the it becomes clear and even if not using these words exactly it becomes pretty clear that p everybody's looking for this mythical genius who's just intrinsically talented decode who you can do the work at 10 other developers that it takes in the same amount of time and to be fair we all know these people exist but the way that you ask from some set as you phrasing it as just I'm looking for a genius isn't going to be as helpful because guess what internalize misogyny and racism exists and you know women they found that women are far less likely to associate themselves with the title genius than men are so maybe if we can change our job postings to something like under look instead of I'm looking for a wizard injured guru jet I say that I'm looking for somebody is never satisfied with the quality of the code on looking for somebody who's dedicated to test driven development I'm looking for somebody who patches commitment to make sure that their code is still readable i in in the future and to other developers like that for a really looking for right so maybe if we can share the job posting see something about this and less about mythical creatures we can free up space in our brains rather mechanical creatures that are much cooler like dragons I'm 1 of the things I wanna point out before we move on take a look at those words wizard ninja guru rock star with the possible exception of rock star all of those are male gender terms uh just as an experiment I went looking for a programming on which programming priest S and programming Amazon and the only 1 that turned out any it's with Amazon and that's because I was on the company that hires programmers so it is my point here is that you know be careful the words you use it might reveal who you're actually looking for in terminology the last part following that get a lot
of Asgard then when it mobilize my favorite part is because there is so much fun the same so let me explain what this is about this comes from a quote from this guy as name
is Nathaniel Hawthorne some of you might know him as the guy who inflicted the scarlet letter on you in high school I had a hard time and for a bit of a rough patch in the 18 fifties were his books really just words selling it like they could have been any you know he wrote to a friend for the reasons he thought of why and this is a part the letter that
America is not a a given another do it Jamil the scribbling women I should have no chance of successful other public taste is occupied with their interaction OK flagrant reinvent misogyny aside of what's he talking about well at this time there were 2 very popular
movements in the literature 1 of them was sentimental literature i which really get got way earlier but it was very popular at this time and sentimental literature was primarily written by women about women and for women and sentimental literature attended any kind of formal formulaic it when something like this is the young woman are in her adolescents falls and terrible misfortune she's about to give up a virtue but low she is saved marries a nice Christian husband this happily ever after but somebody dies of tuberculosis the other very popular movement at this time was got literature and got literature I was very very distinct from sentimental original explain there's a woman on the cusp battle on her in adolescents who falls on terrible misfortune to that the of virtue would love she is saved marries a nice Christian husband somebody dies of tuberculosis but they lived happily ever after in his castle so these were very very popular at the time these were the reality TV shows of the day there actually are of preachers would say women do not read books because they will spoil your mind like it that hard to comprehend today but that's really what people thought of these books they regarded solo and the women your of mostly women all although some and who are writing these books but they didn't even consider themselves writers they were just women who were writing books but for the general public consumption no in the sixties and seventies there's been omitted to you know find people who might have been overlooked as a and this came up and people said OK let's step back with our prejudices and see you know are the books of work in these 2 purposes and the answer was yes have of the top that's a screenshot from Little women by Louisa May Alcott very sentimental book out to right that's from Jane Eyre that's gothic at the bottom that's actually a little bit of a more recent discovery from her it's called Carmela which is it's kind of amazing how much uh Dracula completely forever flagrantly ripped off this book our only in this book there's lesbianism along with emperors and so very very cool but anyway so a there they found these amazing can works in here and did fair there was also a lot of not so can works but is said you know what these women were talking to other women all the time about the things that they were struggling with so there is value here this is something worthy of study and all of these women were writers so what is this have to do with text book I when I was writing this presentation I think you know this this text had its own damned of scribblers that maybe were ignoring as well and at this time tweet come up in my Twitter from this woman means Kate ash
when she writes a webcomic called widdershin which is fabulous and everyone in the whole wide world to read it but that's beside the point she's spent the whole day talking about 0 Mary I need to clear up the CSS 3 with the website Garcia SSM I write just so you know that's but my once a week Garcia Sesame right of you know she's a full-time artist and she works on this web webcomic as well as other art commissions but you know she probably 1 think of herself as a developer or programmer but she still coding and I thought about my never
ever use WordPress blog don't even look for it it's just never ever use and how it's got that have up there in the corner it's a little hard to see next to visual it's an HTML so you can write your blog post in HTML if you want to and from what I can tell most the statistics on who is blogging says it tends to be 50 50 male-female and it has be fairly good representation people of color here so these people are coding tech the sum of and thought about my sort of Moria of high school I went to an all girls high school when Facebook was discovered and suddenly everybody had Facebook and that within a month of me getting facebook I learn to hack just enough to get past the school firewall so I could go on facebook during the day the I was decoding and there's more experiences is there's people who were making rest web sites for the restaurants there's people more engaging in code and women are not writing very dry code test-driven the development type of stuff but the coding and you know also that have pretty clear called action and everything I've mentioned so far and this will actually have to turn over to you guys to think about like I think we do have this on our own damned mob and is there 1 that has that kind of diversity of seeking in this industry and you know is there a way that we can say number 1 you guys are programmers number 2 there's tremendous talent here in summer in at least some of you and 3 you have a place in our community so this 1 know I don't have an answer to this uh about turning you audio anyway that is the conclusion of presentation hope you want something
you may now question the vocationally confused developer this time would it the end of the and in my community and my consumes
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel What We Can Learn about Diversity from the Liberal Arts
Serientitel RailsConf 2015
Teil 23
Anzahl der Teile 94
Autor Certa, Liz
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Unported:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen und nicht-kommerziellen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/30721
Herausgeber Confreaks, LLC
Erscheinungsjahr 2015
Sprache Englisch

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Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract Fostering diversity is a commonly cited goals for the tech community, and - let's be honest - the liberal arts are kicking our butts at it. This was not always the case, though; until very recently, the faces of the liberal arts were exclusively white and male. This changed thanks to distinct strategies and deliberate cultural shifts brought about in the late 20th century, some of which the tech community has copied and others we can use more effectively. In this talk, we will explore some of those strategies by examining the education, history, and culture of the liberal arts.

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