On 1/24/13 3:09 PM, Shaun Ellis wrote:
> To be clear, I am only uncomfortable with "uncomfortable" being used
> in the policy because I wouldn't support it being there. Differing
> opinions can make people uncomfortable. Since I am not going to stop
> sharing what may be a dissenting opinion, should I be banned?
I can't come up with a word for it that is unambiguous, but I can
propose a scenario. Imagine a room at a conference full of people -- and
that there are only a few people of color. A speaker gets up and shows
or says something racist. It may be light-hearted in nature, but the
people of color in that almost-all-white audience feel....
I had a great example that I can no longer find -- I think it came
through on Twitter. It showed a fake ad with an image of border patrol
agents rounding up "illegal aliens" in the desert, and used the ad copy:
"We can take care of all of your papers" as the ad line for a business
computing company. It's a "joke" that you can almost imagine someone
actually doing. Any latinos in the audience would be within their rights
of jumping up and shouting at the speaker, but in fact sexism and racism
work precisely because people struggling for equal status are least
likely to gain that status if they speak up against the status quo. What
I think we want to change is the social acceptance of speaking up.
There's a difference between an intellectual disagreement (I think the
earth is round/I think the earth is flat) and insulting who a person is
as a person. The various "*isms* (sexism, racism, homophobia) have a
demeaning nature, and there is an inherent lowering of status of the
targeted group. Booth babes at professional conferences are demeaning to
women because they present women as non-professional sex objects, and
that view generally lowers the social and intellectual status of women
in the eyes of attendees, including the professional women who are
attending. Because of this, many conferences now ban booth babes. No
conference has banned discussion of alternate views of the universe.
It's hard to find a balance between being conscious of other peoples'
sensibilities and creating a chilling effect. The best way, in my mind,
is to somehow create a culture where someone can say: "you know, I'm not
ok with that kind of remark" and the person spoken to can respond "OK,
I'll think about that." If, however, every "I'm not ok" becomes a
battle, then we aren't doing it right. The reason why it shouldn't be a
battle is that there is no absolute right or wrong. If someone tells you
"You're standing too close" then you know you've violated a personal
space limit that is specific to that person. You don't know why. But
there's nothing to argue about -- it's how that person feels. All you
have to do is listen, and be considerate. Eventually we all learn about
each other. It's an interaction, not an interdiction.
> It's an anti-harassment policy, not a comfort policy. If you want to
> see something different, it seems that now is the time to step up and
> change it. :)
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>> Of Shaun Ellis
>> Sent: Friday, 25 January 2013 10:38 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>>> I am uneasy about coming up with a policy for banning people (from
>>> what?) and voting on it, before it's demonstrated that it's even
>>> needed. Can't we just tackle these issues as they come up, in context,
>>> rather than in the abstract?
>> I share your unease. But deciding to situations in context without a
>> set of guidelines is simply another kind of policy. I'm actually more
>> uneasy about ambiguity over what is acceptable, and no agreed upon
>> way to handle it.
>> I don't think the current policy is ready to "go to vote" as it seems
>> there is still some debate over what it should cover and exactly what
>> type of behavior it is meant to prevent.
>> I suggest there is a set time period to submit objections as GitHub
>> issues and resolve them before we vote. Whatever issues can't get
>> resolved end up in a branch/fork. In the end, we vote on each of the
>> forks, or "no policy at all".
>> Does that sound reasonable?
>> Shaun Ellis
>> User Interace Developer, Digital Initiatives Princeton University
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