There are people in tech fighting every day for the right to have access to the tech industry. They mentor people who want to start speaking. They connect marginalized people with others in the industry who can help secure them jobs or other opportunities. They work to change policy to provide access for more people and to ensure stiffer penalties to those who remove opportunity for their own gain. They work with conferences to increase diversity on stage and in seats. They teach kids as well as give adults a second career. They talk to companies about how they can change their processes and culture to grow and be more inclusive. They talk one on one with people in the community about how to change their language and to empathize with people who have different experiences than they do. They act as role models, teachers, important network connections, sounding boards, confidants, and defenders.
And then you have people who minimize the work that marginalized people do in the industry. They credit "luck" with their success if they aren't crediting having sex with an influential person for it. They take credit for their work. They push back against every battle that is won for equality, opportunity, and safety.
And on top of that, the people they thought they could trust abandon them at the earliest sight of trouble.
Not being given equal opportunity. Not being paid equally. Not being taken seriously as professionals. Not being respected as human beings. Being abused and blamed for the abuse they endure by daring to occupy a space.
All of these things are connected.
When we don't respect someone as an individual or a professional, we can easily go from devaluing someone's work to devaluing them as a person. It allows us to continue to hero worship people who do terrible things to the least able to defend themselves amongst us.
And we let it happen.
Every time someone is physically or sexually assaulted in our spaces and they dare to stand up for themselves, they are told to prove it. Their experiences only become valid when someone within our trusted circles witnesses it. We stand by the abusers instead of by the abused.
Every time someone is dismissed with a racial slur and decides they can't take it one more time and speak out, they are called troublemakers, complainers, and lazy. We tell them they are only in our spaces to "meet quotas" and "be PC".
Every time any marginalized person speaks up about something that affects them and are rightfully angry, we police their words instead of our communities where these problems fester.
We say nothing and are enabling it to happen over and over again. We're telling bystanders that this behavior is acceptable. We tell them that there are no consequences for their actions. We tell them that their right to abuse or oppress someone else takes precedence over someone else's right to purely exist in our spaces.
Don't think we don't notice you looking the other way. We know what you're saying when you say nothing.