“You don’t mediate someone being racist. You don’t mediate someone being groped at the bar. You don’t mediate this shit. You tell whoever was causing the problem to make it right or get the fuck out. And sometimes the only way to make it right is to get the fuck out.”
Annalee Flower Horne is a science fiction writer, Code of Conduct consultant, and co-editor of The Bias, a blog that examines geek culture from underrepresented and marginalized perspectives. You can find Annalee’s writing at TheBias.com and on their personal site, FlowerHorne.com.
Kim Crayton: Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s episode of the #CauseAScene podcast. I am a little tongue-tied today, and I actually happen to have Annalee on here, and you’ll understand why in just a moment. So Annalee, please introduce yourself.
Annalee Flower Horne: Hi everyone. My name is Annalee and I am the co-creator of The Bias blog. I’m also a writer and pop culture critic, and code of conduct consultant. I do a lot of work around educating people about diversity and inclusion in geek spaces, including tech and, you know, science fiction, pop culture conventions, all that kind of stuff. I’m really excited to be here.
Kim: All right, we’re going to start this conversation as we always do. Why is it important to cause a scene? And how are you causing a scene?
Annalee: So, that first question is interesting to me. I work on science fiction conventions, and one of the things that I have going on right now is I just wrote a guideline for my moderators for this con that’s coming up in January, and I was working off notes that I made last year. And one of the things that I have in my guidelines for moderators is a section that is titled “It is OK to Cause a Scene.”
And the explanation under that is that if somebody chooses a conference talk as their venue to make a mess of themselves, they’re not doing that by accident, right? They’re doing that intentionally in front of a crowd because they are counting on nobody being willing to cause the scene by interrupting them and saying, “You need to sit down,” taking that mike away. So I tell my moderators, “You’re not the one causing the scene if you have to intervene in a situation like that.”
And that makes me think more broadly about how we socialize people, “Don’t cause a scene,” and how that it is about reinforcing the status quo in tech and everywhere else, right? Because that scene exists whether you cause it or not, right? If there’s something going on that isn’t cool, and people are telling you not to cause a scene, they’re gaslighting you into saying that you’re the problem, and that you need to pretend that no problem exists.
Because if you are the one that speaks up about it, well, then you’re the one that’s introducing the problem. But, you know, if somebody’s being gross, they’re the ones causing the problem. And you’re not the one causing the problem by saying, “Yo, that’s gross, what is wrong with you?”
Kim: So specifically, how are you causin’ a scene?
Annalee: I feel like I don’t cause nearly enough scenes [laughs], but I do a lot of work on The Bias. The blog post that we were discussing on Twitter last week, which is a post called “Good Intent and How It Undermines Diversity and Inclusion in Tech” [correction: “How Good Intent Undermines Diversity and Inclusion”]. And it’s basically I had that conversation so many times that I was like, “Tou know what? Screw it. I’m just going to write it up as a post.”
That way, the next person who tells me, “Well, but you should assume good intent,” I can just hit ’em with a link, and I don’t have to do all of the emotional labor of repeating this stuff to them again. And that’s how a good two thirds of the posts that I wrote for The Bias get started is I am tired of having this conversation over and over again.
So I’m just going to write up a blog post and put it out there, and that way the next time— and then it’s useful for other people too, right? Because then other people use it in the same way, and then I feel like I’m saving other activists time and energy, because then I’m providing something that they could just link, instead of having to have that really annoying conversation again and again.
Kim: Well, I can tell ya I wanna say thank you because that was a recent post that got a lot of traction in the #CauseAScene community. It got traction right when we needed it. [Annalee laughs] We were in a living, breathing example of why extending good intent to people who have yet to prove it, and actually have a history of doing the absolute opposite… [sighs] so go ahead, talk. It’s just… people you… I really liked—lemme tell you why I liked it.
I liked it on so many levels. I liked it as the leader of the #CauseAScene movement, ’cause like you said, this is why I create videos, and why I do the podcast: I’m sick of having the same conversations over and over again. Before you engage me, go do some research, see what I’ve talked about on this thing, and then we can have a conversation. I’m a college level professor, we’re still at kindergarten. I’m sick of doin’ ABCs. I’m talking about dissertations at this point.
And so the fact that I could just throw that out there—and also how you broke it down, how you showed examples, you scaffolded it very well. The educator was like, “Yes!! Yes.” [Both laugh] You took them along for a journey, and it was like, “Oh, we ended up here? How the hell do we end up here?!” You know? [Both laugh]
Annalee: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of conference safety consulting. And when I wrote that example, I was like, “People are not gonna believe this example.” They’re gonna be like, “Who’s gonna step on somebody’s foot and then throw a hissy fit about the fact that the person got mad?” But, goodness gracious, people like freak out about the mildest criticism. I had somebody once who—we were in a program that was really difficult to get into, not just in terms of competitiveness but in terms of the hoops you have to jump through for the process to get in. And it was shutting people out, and we were talking about how to improve that. And he stood up and said, “I think it’s good that it’s hard because that way, the only people that get here, the ones that really want to.” And I said, “It’s a fallacy to assume that the only reason somebody would fall off of this is because they don’t want to.” And he freaked out. He freaked out in the meeting, and then later he went to our head of people and freaked out at her.
And she was like, “Well, you were displaying unconscious bias, and that’s why you got corrected.” And then, and then he goes, “Oh, well, in that case, I want to apologize Annalee.” And he arranges this meeting to apologize to me where he spends 20 minutes talking about how bad it felt for me to tell him…
Kim: Oh, yes!! Centered, centered! [Laughs]
Annalee: …in a fallacy, and all I said—I didn’t say he was being sexist, I didn’t say he was being racist [Kim laughs]—all I said was that he was engaging in survivorship bias. Like that’s it. That’s all!
Kim: And it’s interesting how much meaning and feeling they extrapolate out of just words. They’re fuckin’ words! How did you get? How did… what? WHAT?!
Annalee: Right! And of course this happens all the time, where people are like, “and just you were so angry,” and I wasn’t angry! I wasn’t mad at all. It was just like, “that’s a fallacy”. I was not [angry], but he freaked out.
And that’s an example of the mildest criticisms people will lose their shit about, and be like, “Well, she wasn’t assuming good intent in me,” and I was like, “OK, well, if you say two plus two equals five and somebody’s like, ‘I think it’s four, buddy’ [Kim laughs], they’re not saying you were lying about it being five. They’re just like, ‘Hey, you did your math wrong.'” [Both laugh] So this assumption, and we saw that last week when this guy—I honestly I can’t remember how to pronounce his name.
Kim: Yeah, it’s John, just say John, whatever his last name is. John the guy [Kim chuckles].
Annalee: John fuck that guy. But people were saying, “Oh, we should assume good intent.” How do you assume good intent in somebody telling a Black woman, “Shut your mouth.” There’s no…
Kim: Calling folx idiots, calling all this stuff. And then, when he wraps it up, does a tweet like, “This is how you do it, folx. This is how you troll them.” And when he finally realized for the first time—oh my god, this is why I was so encouraged and so happy last week—’cause for the first time in real time, the #CauseAScene community got to see somebody havin’ to deal with the consequences of their behavior.
Annalee: Yeah! But that is an example—’cause I talk about in the article about how we extend good intent automatically to certain people and not others, right? And he was out here behaving like this, and people were still saying, “Oh, well, is he OK? Maybe he’s sick?” and all this stuff. I’m like, “Honestly, all right, maybe he did have a breakdown,” and I wanna be respectful, but so many times we get the situation where the only time anybody gives a shit about mental illness is when they can use it to forgive a white man for acting a complete asshole. ‘Cause when somebody actually has a breakdown—OK, yeah, that happens, but it’s very rare. And it’s usually not in—it doesn’t look like that, right?
So, you can be respectful of people who have mental illness while still not being like, “Well, everybody who’s an asshole must just be mentally ill.” That’s not what was happening there. You get up on purpose and you say that shit in public, where you know everybody can hear you. And then you brag about it, right? There is no possible miscommunication there. And yet people were still like, “Oh, well, we should assume good intent.” Why? What good intent could there possibly be of that?
Kim: And that goes back to whiteness’s need to equate feelings with impact. With actual harm. It is your feelings are a 10 and my actual harm is a 10, and it’s like, “No, we’re not playin’ that game. They don’t equal.”
And this is why to me, when people talk about equity—I’m not looking for equity in this shit! I’m not. There is no way we’re gonna have equity without strategically discriminating against some of the policies and systems that promote white supremacy. That is just the bottom line.
And it’s really interesting about—the reason I could say I really I loved your post because it came… somebody tweeted it as a response to something I have been sayin’ for the past few months, ’cause I’ve been seein’ it increasingly in this space, where people are going to conference talks and people are consulting about empathy and compassion and assuming good intent and benefit of the doubt. And I keep pushin’ back and they’re looking at me like, “That’s just wrong, why are you…”
And I’m like, “Mmm…” This only goes to certain people. This only exists for certain people. I’m not even gonna talk about the damn… the steppin’ on the foot. You knew how—and I say this example over and over again, and people don’t—how much energy, emotional labor it takes for a Black woman to construct an email to send to white people?
Annalee: Yeah, I can imagine. Obviously, I do not know firsthand, but I can imagine.
Kim: Because we know that whatever words we use, it will flag its feelings. And so whatever impact we were tryna make, or conversation we were tryin’ to have, the words don’t matter at this point, it’s how the person internalized the words that are in the email, and they trigger your feelings. And so now we’re talkin’ about your feelin’s, and you’ve distracted away from whatever it was that I had a valid point about.
Annalee: Yeah. And then we have to have that conversation first, because god forbid somebody handle their own feelings.
Kim: Oh, I tell them all the time, I am no longer responsible for the feelin’s of white people. You need to get therapy. I’m callin’ this shit out. There was a recent incident in the community with one member of the community, where a young man basically started stalking her. Talkin’ about how much he loved her. And he then used being on the spectrum as a reason and says, “Oh, I’ve done this before.” No, you don’t get a pass. This is… please. Please.
Annalee: Yeah, and that’s not OK. And I get that a lot because I’m doing code of conduct stuff, and people will say, “Well, what about autistic people?” Well, first of all, autistic people benefit from clear rules.
Annalee: Autistic people who are involved in code of conduct stuff will say this all the time: their problem is unwritten rules. If you make a clear set of rules, that makes it much easier for them to figure out how they can interact. And then the other side of that, they’re so much more likely to be the victims of this behavior, because they’re easier to target. And so when you’re like, “Well, what about autistic people?” you’re empathizing with a fictional perpetrator instead of with real victims.
Kim: Reality, exactly, yes. That’s a great point that you make. You have this idea of this thing in your head and you make that… it’s like watching soap operas—I love watchin’ soap operas, because they a great distraction from the shit I have to deal with on a everyday basis [Annalee laughs]. But I understand that these characters playing a role, right? But there are people who would get in arguments about characters on a show, right? And it doesn’t have to be soap operas, it could be any show. They would get in arguments over characters on a show, and will not stand up for what they see everyday happenin’ to people.
Annalee: Yeah and, I come up in the fandom community, and so I’ve seen a lot of that, and sometimes it’s a proxy for stuff that is going on in the real world. People will be talkin’ about these relationships—there’s this whole thing going on in Star Wars right now about the Reylo ship [Rey & Kylo Ren relationship] and whether Kylo is an abusive asshole. [Aside] He is. [Kim laughs]
But people are shipping that [creating a relationship], and so a lot of the arguments about that are like, “Hey, you realize that in shipping this, you’re promoting really damaging stereotypes of what love looks like? And the reason people are pushing back on this is because they dated people like Kylo. It’s not because they’re trying to spoil your fun.”
So you get people that don’t pay attention to what’s going on in the world, and then as soon as a discussion comes up about it, it’s an intellectual exercise for them. So then they wanna look at exceptions, and they wanna talk about, “Well, what if somebody’s autistic?” or “What if these very specific conditions are met?” And you know what? I’ve been doing conference safety code of conduct stuff for years now. Whatever weird situation you can think of, I’ve seen. And you know what? The rules still apply. And the only time the rules don’t apply is when somebody thinks that they don’t apply to them, and they’re like, “Oh, well, I shouldn’t have been expected to know this.”
It’s like, “Well, dude, we fuckin’ wrote it down.” Right? [Kim laughs] And, if you had peed in the middle of the conference hall and we’d kicked you out, nobody woulda cared if you’ve been like, “Well, I didn’t know that I wasn’t expected to do that,” because you’re expected to understand the rules. You read those before you get there. It’s just how it goes.
But people always wanna put good intent in their codes of conduct. And I always try to push back on that, because a positive rule is still a rule, right? If you say everybody has to be at sessions at 10 AM, then you’re setting a rule that people have to be on time.
Kim: And the people who aren’t there, then everybody starts looking at them. There’s a whole ‘nother thing that happens when people show up late, and everything else. Yes.
Annalee: Right. And those people are breaking the rules. Now, whatever the enforcement for being late is, is what it is, but you put it—that’s a positive rule. You have to be here on time. It’s not, “Don’t be late,” it’s “Be here on time,” but it still creates that rule that you can’t be late, right?
And the same is true of “Assume good intent.” People want it to be a positive thing of promoting community, but, what it does is it puts the question of blame front and center. Because then every time there’s an incident, you have to stop and be like, “OK, well, did you assume good intent in this person? And is this person…” And you have to deal with that question before you deal with whatever the hell actually happened. And if you actually want to assume good intent in your conference attendees, then you should assume that they should be willing to accept correction.
So the one time I was in a group where I couldn’t get “We assume good intent” out of the thing, I modified it as “We assume good intent in everyone, which means that we assume when a marginalized person gives us feedback about our behavior that that is coming from a constructive place,” instead of being “We assume good intent,” so if you say something racist, people are just gonna be assuring you that you’re not really racist. Because it doesn’t matter. Who cares if you were trying to be racist? You were racist. Just apologize and move the fuck on with your life.
Kim: And so this—I’m so happy we’re having this conversation. What you’re talkin’ about is the micro, and people don’t want to talk about the macro of this. And the macro of this is: who gets to define what good is? The pack or the power? People talk about “nice,” and who gets to define “fair?” The people in power. So when you start out the gate—again, this is not about equality—with something like that… assume—let’s break that down.
Assume good intent. So those are the words. If we’re looking at it from a perspective of, as we know, marginalized individuals are not having the same—that’s another thing, people keep fighting us, assuming that we’re havin’ the same lived experience. So if we look through the lens of white supremacy, privilege, and who has power, “assume good intent”—just those three words—who who gets to define the assumption? Who gets to define the good? And who gets to define the intent? And just the three words just tell you that there is an imbalance in power right there. [Laughs]
Annalee: Right? And talking about lived experience is another really good example of a place where people that “assume good intent,” don’t. Because when a marginalized person tells you how something felt for them—even just at the micro level; they’re not telling you their whole life story, they’re telling you, “This happened to me 10 minutes ago, and I’m really upset by it.” Do we assume good intent in them and assume that their upset is valid, that they’re hurt, and that they’re being a human being? No. We assume that they’re causing problems and that they’re not assuming good intent in whoever did it. That they’re feeling—their internal feeling about what happened to them—is a violation of the rules. Because if they assumed good intent, then they wouldn’t feel bad about what happened to them.
Kim: But let’s switch that ’cause—oh my god, you just spoke to that—because this is a literally a Black and white issue of what the problem is, because the marginalized person, you don’t assume good intent, and you don’t validate their feelings. But the white person is always assumed good intent, and always their feelings come first.
Annalee: Right? Exactly. And that’s… a lot of why I try to keep that out of codes of conduct is because a code of conduct that is working properly is not a conflict negotiation document. It’s not about solving a problem between equal parties that are having a disagreement. All right? These are adults. If two people are just having a normal disagreement at a conference, they can fuckin’ stay away from each other. [Kim laughs] If it’s just that they like different baseball teams, they can just fucking avoid each other or talk about anything else, right?
Kim: Or get the fuck out! If you’re causing a disturbance. [Laughs]
Annalee: Right. If they can’t be civil to each other—and we’ll get back to civility in a bit [both laugh]—but if they disagree with each other about something where they’re actually on equal footing, then they can fucking ignore each other. This is not a kindergarten classroom. But where a code of conduct is supposed to help you is where you have systemic issues. And if you’re not treating it as a document to help you address systemic inequality in your community, you’re fuckin’ doin’ it wrong!
Kim: Yes! Thank you!
Annalee: If you’re trying to address systemic inequality by treating it as individual conflicts between peers, you’re fuckin’ doing it wrong!
Kim: Fuckin’ doin’ it wrong! Yes! [Laughs]
Annalee: That’s the other one I always try to get out of codes of conduct, ’cause people are like, “Oh, well we should have a mediation thing in there.” And I’m like, “No! First of all, you don’t have trained mediators. [Kim laughs] Second of all,”—I’ve done this before, and I’m like…
Kim: [Laughing] OK, go ahead, finish, ’cause you just hit something I did wanna talk about.
Annalee: I’m like, “I am a trained mediator”—I mean, not a lawyer trained mediator—”But first of all, you don’t have trained mediators. Second of all, you don’t mediate somebody being racist. You don’t mediate somebody getting groped at the bar. You don’t mediate this shit. You tell whoever was causing the problem to make it right or get the fuck out.” And sometimes the only way to make it right is to…
Kim: Is to get the fuck out. Oh my god!
Annalee: …getting groped at the bar. You don’t mediate this shit. You tell whoever was causing the problem to make it right or get the fuck out. And sometimes the only way to make it right is to…
Kim: Is to get the fuck out. Oh my god!
Kim: So this is what I’m gonna… ah, I’ve been saying I’m gonna do this in a talk. So, I’m gonna be on the stage, and I’m going to say, “Hey! You are a person who’s new to this community. First of all, raise your hand if you like sports.” OK? Most people like sports. I wouldn’t raise my hand, but most people like sports. So let’s say you’re new to this environment, and you’ve seen this thing called football, right? And, you like the way that thing looks, and you wanna be a part of the community, so you want to learn this thing called football. You have two options. There are two people who are there who can help you. Two types of people. There’re people who have actually played the game, and then there’re people who’ve only watched the game. If you want to learn how to play this game effectively, who would you choose?
Most people will say, “The people who play the game.” All right! So then that right there—next up, most white folx [laughs]. So if we’re talkin’ about race here, that’s just gonna knock out most white folx, ’cause you don’t have the lived experience. Everything you learned about racism, oppression—most oppressions—you’ve learned from somebody else. All right! So…
Annalee: I mean, if we’re being honest, [laughs] that’s also true about literally football if you’re looking for the best players. [Both laugh]
Kim: Exactly. So now you’re playin’ football, but you want to know more strategic. You wanna know how the game actually works. You wanna know how the back end works, how the offences work. So now you have to—are you gonna choose the person who’s only been on the field? Or are you gonna choose a person who’s been on the field plus also worked in the back office, coach, that kinda thing. Hmm!
So if you wanna know that stuff, you want the person with the lived experience of all that, you’re gonna go with the person who has that. Yeah, that knocks—that right there knocks out when we’re talkin’ about white feminism—that wipes out white women from there, because you don’t have that intersectionality.
And so, when I when I place it like that, it’s startin’ the people to think—’cause I’m bringin’ this up because we continue to get, “Show me data,” “Show me what this is wrong, how I’m wrong.” We’re tellin’ you, “It’s my lived experience,” and yet a white person can come in and reiterate the same damn thing I said, or share the resource I shared, and then they’ll get a “Thank you for that, because she wasn’t nice,” or, “She duh duh duh duh.” And I’m like…
Annalee: “She had a tone of voice I didn’t like.” And it’s like, “How—It was Twitter! What the fuck tone of voice are you talkin’ about?” [Both laugh]
Kim: Well, I know I can be—I intentionally put tone in there. And so when I responded to Mr. Charles whatever the fuck his name is, I did all caps, ’cause that was my go to ’cause there is no bold. [Laughs]
But I had stopped doin’ that because someone told me that people with dyslexia have issues, and screen readers have issues, but I wanted to make sure everybody knew what my intention was when I comment retweeted his message. And this! Until we respect—and you just said that—until we respect the lived experiences of the people who are impacted, we’re gonna continue to have a problem.
Annalee: Right. Right. And that guy, that’s another thing, ’cause we were just talking about civility a little bit ago. People don’t get—and it’s completely disingenuous, because within white society, the idea of cutting somebody to their core, like cursing the next seven generations of their family without raising your voice, everybody fucking understands that. But then as soon as we get into a conversation about any of these difficult subjects, it’s suddenly like, “Well, I’m being civil!” And what they mean is, “I didn’t raise my voice.” And it’s like, “Come the fuck on!” You know exactly what you’re doing. You’re not being sneaky and you’re not like, oh, not understanding that you’re bein’ fuckin’ rude.
When you say, “Well, why don’t you come and debate this person?” it’s the same as like, “Let’s just mediate this conversation. I’m sure it’s just a disagreement between peers.” No! We have one person intentionally being a racist asshole and then getting on Twitter and saying, “Hi, I’m a racist asshole because this is the only way to deal with social justice warriors,” and then somebody being like, “Hey, stop being a racist asshole”. These are not equivalent, right? And the fact, even if—but she wasn’t even being polite—but even if one person is supposedly being civil and saying, [mockingly] “Well, I’m not going to use any cuss words or all caps; I just think that we should have a discussion about whether women are actually good at programmers.” And then a woman comes and says, “How ’bout go fuck yourself?” Right, yeah, sure, she’s cussing, but he’s not being polite! Like, come on!
Kim: But again, it goes to who gets to define the terms. Who gets to say that cursing is bad? Who gets to say that all caps is wrong? Who gets to say… that is the people in power. And it also goes to—and I say this all the time, and this is why I have the shirt “fuck civility”—civility is optional for white people; it is the expected behavior marginalized groups, because it helps us manage ourselves so that we are not a problem.
And so this is why we sit back and spend forever draftin’ a email. This is why we have to have—if you’re even our subordinate and we’re your manager—we have to spend all fuckin’ night thinkin’ about how we’re gonna say whatever feedback we have to say, because you’re gonna take the tone of it. This is why you take up space when we’re on flights and walkin’ down the street, and I’m like, “Fuck you, I’m running into your ass.” This is what civility is. White people can decide when to push the civility button when they want something, when it benefits them. But Black, brown, marginalized people, we’re expected to be civil at all times, because we need to make everybody else comfortable, while it makes us—and this is the part that got me—because it makes me uncomfortable! So no one gives a shit about my comfort. I just need to make everybody else comfortable.
Annalee: Right! And your feelings, if you even show your feelings, even if you’re not saying, “I’m angry,” but he detects that you are angry. And this comes up with crying too, because we talk about how with white women, it impacts us a little differently, right? In that we still get that like, “Oh, you’re not being civil,” but only when we’re talking to white men. As soon as we’re talking to anybody else, then suddenly that privilege comes into play. And when a white woman is crying about anything that a Black person…
Kim: The fuckin’ world stops!
Annalee: Right. [Kim laughs] But when a Black woman is crying, it’s because she’s angry, she’s upset. That is aggressive. A Black woman’s tears are seen as aggressive, and a white woman’s tears are seen as genuine. And that is so fucked up, but it’s a perfect example of what you’re talking about in terms of it doesn’t even just cover civility, it covers everything about how we interact with each other. That’s an autonomic response. know there’s some people that can cry on command, but I sure as fuck can’t!
Kim: And it speaks to why I say whiteness is always cast in the role of hero or victim, and Black people are always—or anybody else—is always the villain. It’s never the villain. So when we go back to this John situation, although you and I know he was the villain, he can’t stay a villain because that’s not the role. He has to be either cast in victim or hero, so if Charles comes in to make him a victim, but also a hero because he was comin’ in to save Amy. You see all of this play out in front of my eyes, and I’m like, “Oh, shit, this is an interesting experiment right here. This is social science right in front of my face.”
Annalee: Yeah, and I didn’t even see what Amy said because she deleted her tweets.
Kim: Yes, and that’s why we always screenshot them because she’s done that shit before.
Annalee: OK, because I had never heard of her. [Kim laughs] But, I’ve also seen cases—and I don’t say that sarcastically, I honestly had just never heard of her—but we also see this situation come up too where somebody does something, and then you get this situation, we get these accusations of white knighting, of white guys coming in to protect marginalized people. But it seems to me like it’s always happening on the other side, where somebody does something and you’re having a conversation about it, and then some dude has to come in and be like, [mockingly] “Whoa, stop fighting, ladies. Let me solve this for you.” And it’s like, “You were not required!”
Kim: Yeah, so she’s done this before, so I’m gonna read you her tweet. It was from October 19th. It says, “Grateful I didn’t start my programming journey in 2019. All of these people pissed off, cussin’ and looking to start arguments in the name of empathy and diversity. You’re literally scaring people from wanting to enter the industry by your behavior.”
Annalee: OK, so again, this is an example about whose empathy counts and who… ’cause…
Kim: OK, now I’ma stop you there, because this is not the first time she’s done that and deleted. So let me—exactly a month before, September 19th, she posted, “Super unpopular opinion: as a woman in tech, I’ve benefited far more than I have been discriminated against. More gratefulness, less hatefulness, please.”
Annalee: Oh god, I think I did see that one, and I had just forgotten about it. But this is a perfect example of what we’re talking about, right? Because she’s saying you’re literally scaring people away from the industry. I used to be part of the Geek Feminism blog, where we maintained a list of incidents in tech. And it was just long lists of racist and sexist behavior. And I’m sorry, you’re worried about us scaring people away from the industry by sayin’ “don’t be a fuckin’ racist”? Where the fuck were you when people were getting scared away from the industry because they were getting groped at industry conferences? Which p.s. is still happening.
Where the fuck were you talking about you’re scaring people away from the industry when people are refusing to hire somebody just because they’re Black? Which is still happening! All of this crap about, “Oh, you might hurt my feelings by cussing at me on Twitter.” OK. Quantify that in dollars [Kim laughs], because we can quantify in dollars…
Kim: Yes! Yes!
Annalee: …the cost of being Black in tech.
Annalee: We can quantify in dollars the cost of being female in tech. We can quantify that. We can say this is exactly what it costs you.
Kim: And we can quantify what it’s like to be a transgender individual in tech.
Annalee: Right! Or disabled, or anything else.
Kim: Exactly. Exactly! And this is the shit, this is what they—and so she does that, and she gets her ass handed her, and then she deletes the original tweet and comes back with this obscure apology that has no context. So, then the Johns of the world, now—because they don’t take the time, because “why would we?”—she’s doe-eyed, she’s innocent, she’s the white s… and white women literally breed white supremacy. So she is doing her job for white supremacy, and so they come in and protect her, and they don’t have context. They don’t care to have context.
Annalee: Right. It wouldn’t even matter if they did. They would still assume good intent. And you get that situation and it’s like, “You could just not get into that conversation.”
Kim: No one was talkin’ to you!
Annalee: Right! And this is something that I talk about probably way more than I should on Twitter in terms of—people think of me as argumentative, and this gets back to causing a scene. I avoid arguing with people on Twitter. I really do. Because it’s usually not productive, and it’s a lot of emotional energy, it physically upsets me, and I don’t wanna do it. So if I just see something that I disagree with, I am probably gonna let it scroll on by. I might reference it. I might say, “Hey, I saw somebody say something,” paraphrase, and “this is why I disagree with it,” where I’m talking to my own followers. I’m not gonna involve them in that conversation.
If it’s a friend of mine, sure, we might have that conversation. But if it was just some random person, I don’t want to get into a fight with them, so I’m probably just gonna let it scroll on by and then have my own conversation with my own followers about “This is the point that I think this person was trying to make, I didn’t agree with that, and here’s why.” I don’t feel the need to go and pick a fight with people. But then people will come into my mentions and pick a fight with me.
Kim: That’s it! They always come to us!
Annalee: Right! They’ll come and pick a fight with you, and then you get the situation where they’re like, “Well, I don’t I don’t know why you’re so upset about this,” and I’m like, “I’m not the one in your mentions. All you have to do is stop replying to me and this conversation ends. But I have to see your shit in my feed. Just stop! You started this.”
Kim: Or when I tell in to fuck off. “You don’t have to be…” Bitch, you came to my mentions! I didn’t go to you.
Annalee: Right, exactly! I tell people—they’ll get in my mentions and be like, “Well, I don’t understand this”—and sometimes I’ll just be like, “Well, here’s the resources,” or I’ll say, “OK, well, you need somebody to explain that to you, [Kim laughs] but I’m not going to do it right now.” And people get so mad about that.
Kim: Yes, oh, yes! “How do you expect me to learn if you won’t…?” What the fuck?
Annalee: Well, you clearly have a keyboard ’cause you’re using it, or you have some kind of software with which to [Kim laughs] dictate words to your computer. So why don’t you go to google.com instead of twitter.com and figure yourself out? It’s not that hard. And we also get that—I have these articles on The Bias where I will literally link to the fucking article, and be like, “Here’s the background reading.” And people will still be like, “Well, I can’t read all that,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m not gonna fuckin’ explain 2000 words to you tweet by tweet. You can fuckin’ read it there!”
Kim: Well, so yesterday’s episode of the How to Be an Antiracist was a strategy, ’cause I see how that’s failin’ us. And I broke it down to understand—I came up with a strategy of evaluate first, engage, and then evolve. Because we need to evaluate—and I’ve been doin’ this, but I hadn’t put a name to it—’cause I’ve said before I only engage with people—usually, not only—the majority of time, the people I’m engaging with are in tech spaces. I’m a Black woman. I’m not tryna argue with a white nationalist. I’m not tryna be a target for this shit.
And I rarely, rarely speak directly to them, I comment retweet, ’cause it’s not for me, it’s for the community. And it’s something that I’ve seen. What I saw this past week, though, was how often people in my community don’t take the time to read what’s already been shared. And so they’re talking over more marginalized voices. And also they’re wasting time with people who—and I define it in that episode, because in that episode we’re talkin’ about segregationist, we’re talkin’ about assimilationist, and antiracist. And so I really break down what the segregationists in tech looks like, what those conversations look like.
That’s not a conversation you fully need to engage in, because those are the ones that get you the dog chasing your tail, runnin’ around in circles. Because they have absolutely no intention of changing. They’re just wearin’ you down.
Annalee: Yeah, and if you ever go to the shit holes of the Internet, like 4chan and 8chan and whatever, they talk about this is an intentional strategy: “Oh, well try to get them to give you resources and then debate those resources.”
Kim: Thank you! Yes!
Annalee: I don’t wanna tell people how to spend their time on Twitter, but I really strongly encourage you…
Kim: No, I am. I am.
Annalee: …not to engage with that shit, because they’re wasting your time on purpose. And just look at it like that: that’s a deliberate tactic to waste your time on purpose. If they actually have good intent and want to educate themselves, they will figure that shit out.
Kim: And so that’s why I did yesterday’s podcast, because I saw that in real time in that conversation—’cause that conversation went on for five days, so you got to see…
Annalee: Yeah, you get to see the whole range of all of these strategies.
Kim: Yes. Yes. And I learned so much. Because I knew 4chan that they were doin’ that, but I hadn’t translated into how to engage this. ‘Cause moving forward, for me it is about how to create an antiracist tech agenda. And so how do I educate and train people in their various communities on how to do this in an effective way that not only doesn’t waste their time, but they’re not negatively causing harm to people to who they’re tryin’ to advocate for. ‘Cause that’s what normally happens.
Annalee: Right. And we’re talkin’ about assuming good intent in terms of people asking for education. People that actually have good intent are going to go and figure out how to educate themselves, because even somebody that really thinks that their intent is good and really wants to learn, they’re coming into that conversation, assuming that teaching them is the best use of your time. Right?
And there is an inherent arrogance in that. Even if they honestly don’t mean anything by it, there is an inherent arrogance in them assuming, especially when they come back with “Well, I just don’t understand how I’m gonna learn, if nobody is willing to talk to me about this,” they’re assuming that teaching them should be your primary goal, which is again centering themselves in that conversation and setting themselves up as sort of a judge of saying, “Well, if you can convince me that this is true, then I will help you.”
Kim: And that’s what the Charles dude tried to do with the podcast—well, that’s how he tried to position that shit, until people started doing… and this is the thing: I say when given enough time and enough pressure, the white supremacy shit comes out. Because after when I went to sleep that morning, came back, we saw people who’ve been on podcast with him sayin’ they had this conversation with him years ago. Somebody showed a picture of him, what he called “Visiting the new White House,” which is a tower in New York, with a MAGA hat on. All this shit comes out. So it’s like, “You need to do your research.” This is why you have to evaluate before you engage.
Annalee: Yeah. ‘Cause right, that guy might have been “civil” quote unquote in his tweet, but he was never planning to actually have a dialogue.
Annalee: He just wanted you on his show so he could make fun of you to his audience. And then he’s gonna come around and say, [mockingly] “Well, if you’re not gonna be civil, blah, blah, blah.”
Kim: Exactly. “She’s just angry.” And that’s how he positioned it: [mockingly] “Well, I knew you were gonna respond that way.” I knew you knew I was gonna respond that way. That’s why this message is not for you.
Annalee: Right? [Kim laughs] Right. Exactly. So, I do try to encourage people also to call out the like, “Do you realize the arrogance of assuming that engaging with you in any way is the best use of my time.”
Kim: Yes, exactly! [Laughs]
Annalee: Right? Because that diffuses that [mockingly] “Well, I knew you were too chicken to talk to me.” It has nothing to do with chicken. You think Bruce Lee fought every asshole that [Kim laughs] was like, “I wanna know if Bruce Lee can fight.” He’d have been like, “Fuck no! I got places to be.” Right? [Kim laughs] “I’m tryna go eat lunch with my daughter. I’m tryna live my life. I do not have time—even if it’s only gonna take me 10 seconds to kick your ass [Kim laughs]—I don’t have the fuckin’ time.”
Kim: “I’m gonna fuck up my suit, damn!”
Annalee: Right, exactly.
Kim: “I’ve gotta take off my shoes.” [Laughs]
Annalee: People are busy. We have shit to do. And I don’t have to smear shit on my shoe just to prove that I can get it back off. I’m gonna step around it.
Annalee: I don’t have to smear shit on my shoe just to prove that I can get it back off. I’m gonna step around it.
Kim: And wou don’t have to… and you will not be centered in my life. And that’s where whiteness is used to. Everybody defaulting and centering it. And this is where a lot of the anger—when people wanna talk about economic anxiety, that’s bullshit. This is where the anxiety is coming from. It is no longer the center, and it does not have the skills, like other marginalized individuals, of how to navigate this stuff. It has no resiliency because it’s not been challenged in these ways. So it is just lost, like, “What the hell is goin’ on?”
And so everything—hell, we get slights every day. Every day, we are uncomfortable. But we sit back and we can assess quickly is this a discomfort that’s gonna cause me harm, or is this just some bullshit discomfort? Do I want to engage with it? We have all that things runnin’ in our head, and we take a decision. Whiteness doesn’t have that.
Annalee: Yeah. And so this is what baffles me about White Feminism—capital W, capital F White Feminism—is I didn’t grow up knowing—people on the podcast can’t see me, but I’m pretty sure they figured out by now that I’m pretty freakin’ white—I didn’t grow up understanding racial justice in America. I went to the kind of school where MLK Day and Black History Month was about how [mockingly] “Judging people by the color of their skin is wrong,” instead of “Hey, white supremacy is fucked up!” [Kim laughs]. Right? I grew up with all of that, but when I got into college and actually looked at it, I was looking at the parallels between that and the way that toxic masculinity behaves.
And that’s where I was like, “Oh, these things are actually—it’s not the same impact, but the mechanism of action is very similar.” And I was like, “OK, the way that somebody is talking to me about their experience with racism in America, I wanna react the same way that I would want a white man to react to me when I’m talking about sexism.” But you get these people that totally get the one, and then their brain just falls out of their head when it comes to the other. They just cannot draw that parallel.
Kim: Well, it’s the thing of—and I talk about this often—when you come into these spaces, it’s the space of… the agenda is to only focus on those things we have in common. Anything else is not the thing right now. So it’s like, “Let’s work on gender parity issues, and we’ll get to everything else later.”
Well, that has shown over the more than 100 years that does not work, because that is rooted in white supremacy, which means that only white women are benefiting because you only have the gender thing to deal with.
Annalee: Right. So there was a creative writing class that I took that I really loved, and it helped me make my first professional fiction sale. And a little later down the road, I had some extra cash on hand and that writing workshop was going up again, and so I contacted the person that ran it, and I was like, “Look, I want to sponsor a seat for a woman of color specifically.”
And so she put it up. She was like, “Hey, we’ve got a free seat for a woman of color.” People got so fucking mad. Got so fucking mad! And I had to go in there—because they were blaming her—and I had to go in there and be like, “Yo, I’m the one that is sponsoring the seat. Don’t blame her. I’m the one that said that it was only for a woman of color.”
And it was white women that were getting mad and being like, [mockingly] “Well, I don’t have the economic resources either. Blah, blah, blah.” And I was like, “OK, well, there’s two things there.” First of all, if you only focus on gender, we’ve seen exactly what you said that white women always go to the front of the line. And so when you say that Black women don’t have a greater need so they shouldn’t get priority, what you’re saying is that they should go to the back of the line. And so, in this one specific instance, this one class, they get to come to the front of the line; and fuckin’ deal with it!
Kim: And it’s so funny, because they don’t even realize that they’re demonstrating what you’re saying. They’re teachin’ a lesson that you’re saying, and it goes back to—this brings us back to the full circle of, this is about strategically discriminating against the power. I mean, yes, and it’s not even about you losing anything, because you didn’t have it.
Annalee: Right! It wasn’t your class. It’s not like someone took that [Kim laughs] seat away from you. You can pay for it and attend the class yourself. It’s just nobody’s giving you that free seat. Then the other side of it that I was trying to explain that I’m concerned—which is difficult when you’re talking about things like scholarships, because that has a very individual impact—but I’m concerned about the larger community impact of that. Because, yes, there are economically disadvantaged white folx. Getting more economically disadvantaged white folx into the science fiction community does not actually increase the diversity of the science fiction community, because there are a lot of already economically disadvantaged or formally economically disadvantaged white folx already there.
But getting people of color in the door, and honestly, giving that scholarship isn’t about assuming the people of color are broke, it’s about saying, look, to enter the space, you’re gonna have to do a whole fuck ton of emotional labor. You’re coming into a space that isn’t for you, and asking you to pay to do that is an additional barrier of entry.
Kim: [Clapping] Yes!
Annalee: And look, you can have this free pass, you can go to this class, we’ll pay for your badge to this con; that’s not about saying, “Well, we don’t think you can afford it,” that’s about saying, “You’re already paying your fuckin’ dues! You’re just not doin’ it with money.”
Kim: Exactly! Exactly! We’ve already out the house been told growin’ up that we have to give 110%. We’re already doing the hard work. This is what people don’t get about fuckin’ affirmative action. It’s not like—to even be considered for affirmative action, do you know how much goddamn work we have to do to even get to the consideration, and how mediocre whiteness is? And when we come in, it’s not like we’re like, “Oh, we got it, we have to sit on the…” No, we have to work our ass off just to stay in the space.
Annalee: Right. And, I see that too, because people are talking about—I was in a job where we weren’t allowed to do any kind of affirmative action, but we could do outreach. So we were trying to improve our outreach to try to—treating a pipeline problem, it’s not a fucking pipeline problem.
Annalee: That was the only lever we could push. And even then, people were saying like, [mockingly] “Well, I don’t want to lower the bar,” and I’m like, “Do you hear yourself?” Because when you’re saying you only want to consider white candidates, you’re instantly lowering the fucking bar, because you’re saying that you don’t care how qualified somebody is if they don’t meet this particular criteria you’ve already set up in your head. Right?
Come on! That’s not what lowering the bar looks like. If you’re actually worried about lowering the bar, then you would be all about—first of all, affirmative action just straight out—but also about any kind of diversity and inclusion effort, because that’s what raises the bar. But that guy that I was talking about earlier that freaked out because I said he was doing survivorship bias? He’s really litigious, so I should watch what I say about him [Kim laughs]. I’m just gonna make a more generic statement.
Kim: Yes, yes. Do that.
Annalee: You know, there was a study about this…
Kim: Oh, stop right there, though! Stop right there! The fact that you said that, I’m not fuckin’ surprised, because how often these—I have business clients, and these aren’t my business clients, but you hear it all the time why we have these whisper networks and all that. They don’t have job descriptions, they don’t have shit in place for a business, but they have an NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement]. These folx know how to use the law against these things, but they don’t have shit else!
Annalee: Yeah, they’ve got nothin’, and yet they’ve got that. But yeah, so there was a study looking specifically at the video game world about the harassment and abuse that women face online playing online games. And what they discovered was that the biggest vectors for that abuse—the harassment, the shouting racial slurs, shouting, calling people bitches and cunts, and all that crap on audio for these Fortnight games, these massive online games—it was the male players who scored the lowest.
Because those are the ones that feel threatened by other people entering the space, because if they lose to a woman, then it’s a threat to their masculinity. So those are the ones shouting all this vitriol. The ones that are at the top of the charts, they’re just playing the fucking game. Now, I’m not going to say that nobody at the top of the charts is an asshole, because I’m sure there are, but as an overall pattern…
Kim: And this speaks to what I keep talkin’ about: it is Black excellence against mediocre whiteness. That’s what it is. [Chuckles]
Annalee: Right. Right. Because if you’re already living your life and doing really well—imposter syndrome is a whole other thing—but you are not gonna feel threatened specifically by people of color, by women, by disabled people, by any other marginalized group; when you actually know that you’re succeeding on your own merits, you’re not gonna worry about that. It’s when you are insecure about your stuff, because maybe it isn’t that good, that’s when you see the people that are really freakin’ out about other people coming in. Which again, I don’t want to say like, there’s nobody that’s like at the top of their field who is not a racist asshole.
Kim: Oh, no, you know that. Yeah. You know that, yeah.
Annalee: There certainly is.
Kim: But what I’m seeing in the work is exactly what you’re sayin’, and that’s why I keep sayin’ when they come after me, I’m like, “Yet another mediocre white dude in tech,” and they get so pissed off, because it knocks them down a peg. And I tell ’em, “You’re not my equal. Why the fuck am I gonna have a conversation with you?” You have not earned—I do not owe you an audience. You are not my same level. You’re not as intelligent as I am. You’re not as creative as I am. You are not as… nothing. You’ve gotten by because you’re a white dude. And when they start to think, that’s when they get really angry.
Annalee: Yeah, and honestly, if they wanna have that conversation, they can go and do the work. Especially when they’re asking you about racism, or asking you about sexism, or any of this other stuff, the resources are out there. They can go and fuckin’ educate themselves, and then come back with a dissertation level question, instead of asking you this level 1 bullshit.
Kim: Thank you! Thank you! That’s my point! Can we have a real—can we get past the bullshit? People’re like, “Are you inclusion an inclusion and diversity expert?” No, the fuck I’m not. I’m a business strategist! But we can’t get past this shit. We can’t get past the big—inclusion and diversity should be the foundation on which you build a company. Period. But we can’t get there. [Laughs]
Annalee: Yeah, and that’s why I do a lot of the very entry level conversations on The Bias, because I’m like, “Alright, you complain that there aren’t any of these resources. Here are the fucking resources!” And I want those available to other activists so that they can then link them out, because they don’t wanna have those conversations over again. I want us to be able to be like, “All right, you want to do the background reading? Here’s the fucking background reading. Now we’re gonna have this other conversation, and you can catch up when you’ve done the background reading, but we’re not gonna…”
Kim: Oh my god, I have a shitload of damn resources that I just throw at they ass. I just start a whole damn thread. There you go. [Laughs]
Annalee: Yeah, and if you actually have good intent, if you actually are trying to educate yourself, you’re gonna do the work to go and find those resources, and when somebody hands you a link, you’re gonna thank them, and then you’re gonna fuckin’ read it!
Kim: That’s it! And that’s where people fuck up, because you have people who keep engaging with these people. I know the people who are really genuine, because when you throw something at them, a link or whatever, they’re like, “Thank you,” and then they go off and read. Everybody else, you give them a—as they say, “Can you give me more?” I’m like, “Yup, you’re not here for it, you’re not here for learning.”
Annalee: You’re not here for reading, you’re here for tutoring. And it’s like, “OK, well I..”
Kim: And trolling!
Annalee: Right! I know some people that actually just put up a tutoring rate. They’re like, “All right, you want tutoring on this shit? It’s $100 an hour. Paypal in advance. Go.”
Kim: Yeah, I don’t have the bandwidth for that bullshit.
Annalee: I don’t have the bandwidth for that either.
Kim: That one-on-one shit doesn’t scale. [Laughs]
Annalee: Yeah, it doesn’t. But I respect the people that are like, “Pay $100 an hour and we’ll have this conversation.”
Kim: Definitely! Everybody has a place to play. Like my audience is not Black people. Because what I realized—and this is what I tell people all the time—I am educating the oppressor while also processing my own oppression. That takes a lot. I cannot do this work with other marginalized people ’cause now I have to change, ’cause when I do that, I can go in with classroom management. This is my barriers, my boundaries, this is how we’re gonna work.
If I’m workin’ with other oppressed, marginalized individuals, I have to create a different level of safety, which is a lot of emotional labor, and does not scale. So I leave that to other folx to deal with that, and I work right on—I’m working on changing the systems—and let other people work on dealing with the individuals. And so it’s like there are spaces for many of us to be in here doin’ this work.
Annalee: Yeah, and there’re so many approaches. And sometimes you’ll see people backbiting about like, “Well, you’re not doing the most effective thing.” And it’s like, “OK, well, I’m doing the most effective thing that I can do, [Kim laughs] so you go to the most effective thing that you can do, and then eventually we’ll get there.”
We were talkin’ earlier though about the football players and would you talk to somebody who’s only watched the game? And how people will go to those bystanders. And you see that play out on Twitter too, where I will be explaining, or any marginalized person will be explaining something, and then somebody will be arguing with us and arguing with us, and then any white guy comes in and is like, “Dude, she’s right. You need to listen to her. Dude they’re right. You need to listen to them.” And then suddenly they’re like, “Oh, well, thank you.” And then even if they don’t bring in the like, “Oh, well, you were being rude,” they’ll be like, “Oh, thank you, now I understand.”
And what I want—bless those allies for coming in and taking those people off our backs, and pulling that conversation out of my mentions—but what I want them to do is that follow up, and be like, “OK, now you understand, and the next step is I want you to pay attention to the fact that three different women tried to explain this to you, and you argued with all of them, and then I explained this to you and you agreed with me, and you need to sit with why that is.”
Kim: OK, so you do it behind the scenes, I do it in front. So when I see that happen, I call it right then. And I tell the person who came in—not the asshole, but the person who came in to help—and I bring that to their attention. I was like, “So I want you to see what just happened here. We have been having this conversation. You came in and you got a thank you. What are you gonna do about that?” And that right there is—’cause a lot of times they don’t recognize it. And so again, I can’t do a bunch of shit behind the scenes. That’s why I don’t like people coming into my DMs. That doesn’t scale. This shit needs to be out in public.
And it helps them understand: “Oh, shit!” So next time when they come in, I need you to word that question or your statement differently so that it includes the people who’ve already been havin’ this conversation, so you don’t come off as the facto expert.
Annalee: Right. And then that also is another example of the insidiousness of assumed good intent. Because people that are in that ally position that do that—their experience is, “Well, I just explain it to them, and then they see that they were wrong and they apologize.” And so then they’re like, “Oh, well, I should assume good intent in people, because when I explain it to them, they apologize.” And they don’t understand that that’s not the experience that other people around them are having.
Kim: And that’s why I call it out right then. ‘Cause—that’s why I call it out right then—’cause I was like, “Do you realize that they’ve been engaged with me for over an hour, you came in, and they see you as an expert and not me? How you gonna fix that?” The fact that you are seen as an expert over me, and all you’re doing is repeating my lived experience. Because, again, it’s not for the individuals, it’s for the whole community to get this information.
Annalee: Right. And the ones that will actually do that and be like, “All right, good. Thanks for thanking me, but did you notice what just happened?” They’re actually helping, they’re actually doing the work. I don’t wanna discourage people from trying to help, but they also need to notice when their help is perpetuating these patterns.
Kim: Well, that also goes to why I created—like I said—I created that strategy: you need to evaluate before you engage.
Annalee: Scroll up! Just scroll up! That’s all you have to do!
Kim: Yes, exactly. And I talked about that in yesterday’s podcast. There’s a strategy: before you hop in, you need to go and see what has already been said, who said it, because if you come in and you speak over a Black woman or a person with a disability, you’re causin’ a problem. And so you don’t get off either. So that’s one thing I love about my community—they know that I’m gonna call they ass out, just like I’ma call anybody. This is not favoritism. This is not anything else.
Annalee: Yeah, and that again is about good intent, right? Because if you say something shitty to me, and I don’t say anything, that is me insulting you. That is me saying I don’t trust you to take this feedback, or you are not worth the time to me to give you this feedback. That is the insult. If I take the time to say, “Yo, that was really sexist,” or “Yo, you realize that you said something really ableist there,” that is me paying you the compliment of assuming that you fucked up and wanna fix it.
Kim: Yes. Exactly.
Annalee: That you didn’t do that on purpose. And that—if we’re actually assuming good intent in people, then why don’t we assume good intent when they’re actually offering that feedback?
Kim: Exactly. Exactly. Wow, this has been a great conversation. What would you like to say in your closing thoughts?
Annalee: Oh, gosh. [Kim laughs] Thank you so much for having me. It has been a delight being on your show. And thank you so much for all the hard work you do to educate everybody about these really important issues.
Kim: You’re very welcome. My whole thing is I am trying to move the tech—I am determined—to move the tech space to a place where we’re prioritizin’ the most vulnerable. It’s not about equality for me, it is about looking at the most vulnerable, and once they’re safe—just like those code of conducts—once the most vulnerable feel safe, everybody else feels safe by default.
Annalee: Right. Right. People talk about that rising tide situation, but some rising tides don’t lift all boats and some rising tides do. And I always tell people that are tryin’ to work on gender equality, I was like, “Alright, focus on Black women, because when Black women get equality, everybody else will have equality.” Our white supremacist world is not gonna tolerate a world where Black women have equality and white women don’t. That’s just never gonna happen.
Kim: Exactly! Exactly! Exactly. Exactly. So for even for me, I look at trans Black women: what can I do so that I’m not—yeah, because I used to say trans women, but when whiteness comes into the space, trans women do the same thing with white feminism, so I have to be mindful there—but when I’m looking at trans Black women who are being slaughtered, when people are like, “Why are they doing sex work?” People aren’t hiring trans individuals, and so they have to survive, and so they should be… and then they’re they’re being slaughtered at the hands of toxic masculinity from Black men. So that’s a whole ‘nother thing that we need to address.
So yeah, there’s always someone who has a situation that I can focus my lens on, and get out and stop centering myself, and put the energy on them. And that includes people with disabilities. Yeah, that’s why, like I said, I stopped using all caps, because someone pointed out that someone with dyslexia has a hard time reading it. So yeah, it helps me—yeah, I loved doin’ all caps because it helped me emphasize a point—but I don’t want to be exclusionary.
So just like we were talking at the beginning of this conversation, I found out that a trans woman who is a community sponsor has been locked out of PayPal because they’re requirin’ her to use her dead name. So now, yes, she’s one of the sponsors, so I could come with a alternative just for her, but I won’t. We’re gonna have to look for a solution for everybody—an automated solution for everybody—that doesn’t exclude those individuals from participating fully in the community.
So thank you so much for being on the show. This is a timely, timely conversation. [Laughs]
Annalee: Thanks so much for having me.
Kim: And I look forward to seeing you on the web. [Laughs]
Annalee: Alright! Take care.
Kim: Thank you.