White male privilege

I'm a developer and tech lead, working in the tech industry. An industry that is predominantly consisting of men, both among the developers and the leadership.

We're also an industry that is growing both in Norway and globally, and we're in desperate need of more people.

At the same time, it's an industry with unhealthy ideals of rockstar developers, people checking work e-mail during vacations, long hours et cetera.

And it's an industry blind of its privileges.

Most people in tech are men. In Norway, most tech people are white men. We're also typically upper middle class, and we're privileged in so many senses.

Sexual harassment, discrimination and the likes tend to not be directed at us. So I, and most white male developers with me, could respond with "I've never experienced that, so that's not a problem", to whatever negative experience shared by someone from an underrepresented group in the industry.

When we do that, we accomplish several things:

  1. We undermine the experience of the person sharing it with us
  2. We reduce the probability of people being brave enough to share problems with us the next time
  3. We waste the opportunity to learn
  4. We waste the opportunity to improve the situation
  5. We make the industry an even less appealing place to be for those with less privileges than us
  6. And more

Several women have spoken brilliantly of this. Here are just a few examples.

Set aside some time and just listen. That's what we white men should do when women share what we remain spared of. Listen carefully. Shut up. Believe them. It's not all about you. Their experiences are real.

Thank them for sharing, listen, and think how you can be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.