Saturday, August 2, 2014

Privilege of different kinds

Privilege can come packaged in multiple forms. Here are a few I've experienced.

As a male software developer, I am given privilege that is undeserved. When I speak at conferences, or in front of a client, or while facilitating a workshop; I cannot help but be aware that if I were a woman, it wouldn't be as easy. For one, I would probably not have as many opportunities to speak in the first place. For another, I'd probably be taken less seriously when I did speak.

Being a man in my industry gives me undeserved privilege. And I despise that.

As a dark-skinned man with a security-alert-causing-name who was born in what, according to one news outlet, is the most dangerous country in the world, I lose privilege when I walk into an airport. It is depressing to know that in the US, even the law isn't necessarily on the side of justice and equality. It requires a much higher burden of proof to show discrimination in the civil, as opposed to statutory context. I have to accept the reality that I am subject to a different set of laws and regulations when I'm in an airport.

Laws that suspect me because of my ethnicity, name and place-of-birth take away my privilege. And I despise that.

Then there's the privilege of working with people who I call my friends. The privilege of learning from them, being able to share with them what I've learned before. The privilege of their company, the insight into their thoughts and feelings, the human connection that is the underpinning of all creativity and an indispensable prerequisite to crafting beautiful software.

Working with creative, passionate, motivated, empathic friends is a privilege that I acknowledge consciously and for which I am very grateful. And I love that.

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