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Subject: Re: [boost] GNOME outreachy
From: brian heim (brianlheim_at_[hidden])
Date: 2018-08-24 13:38:31

On Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 3:44 AM Niall Douglas via Boost <boost_at_[hidden]>

> As anyone who has attended a C++ conference or standards meeting knows,
> there is a wide fluidity of folk, some of the more fluid of which are
> amongst the highest esteemed engineers in C++. Nobody sees anything once
> people start discussing C++. I don't think there is any LGBT diversity
> problem, if anything in terms of percentages I think we're ahead of
> general society, possibly precisely because we don't see anything but
> expertise in C++.

I really feel like I have to say this is completely at odds with my
experience at C++Now this year. It was one of the most intensely white,
straight, male experiences of my life, in other words one of the least
"fluid". There were several instances where conversations were
unnecessarily injected with biases and jokes based on gender and
nationality, and the conference culture seemed to be that this is perfectly
fine. In addition, the final panel of five speakers were all men, a fact
which nobody seemed to notice or even care about at all. The topic was
"What Belongs in the C++ Standard Library", which made it especially ironic.

You may think "nobody sees anything" here, but I guarantee you this
attitude of ignoring the problem makes it even more uncomfortable for
people like me who do not fit into the prevailing in-group and who do
perceive the microaggressions you refuse to see. In fact, there is
established research that shows people who believe they are being objective
and "color-blind" in their decision making show increased bias. In
addition, a statement like "we don't see anything but expertise in C++"
makes it sound like anyone who does experience discrimination is either
wrong or having bad luck. It's also reframing the problem -- I don't think
people get turned off to this community just because the conversations
around C++ itself are problematic, but rather because the opinions people
express outside of that topic are not super welcoming. It's also a matter
of people being habitually hypermasculine in the way they express
themselves about C++, which is not discrimination per se but still has the
effect of disinviting non-men. And I think the community needs to take
ownership of that and not sweep it aside by pretending it isn't part of
True C++ Community.

Having attended several non-C++ conferences where I very much fit in as a
gay man, I feel confident saying that C++Now is nowhere close in either
numbers or inclusivity. I don't know what an LGBT diversity problem looks
like to you, but that conference definitely has it. The point about
percentages is completely vacuous unless you have numbers to back it up.


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