๐Ÿ“‘ Facing the Great Reckoning Head-On

A quote from danah boyd
Bookmarked danah boyd | apophenia ยป Facing the Great Reckoning Head-On

The goal shouldnโ€™t be to avoid being evil; it should be to actively do good. But itโ€™s not enough to say that weโ€™re going to do good; we need to collectively define โ€” and hold each other to โ€” shared values and standards.

People can change. Institutions can change. But doing so requires all who harmed โ€” and all who benefited from harm โ€” to come forward, admit their mistakes, and actively take steps to change the power dynamics. It requires everyone to hold each other accountable, but also to aim for reconciliation not simply retribution. So as we leave here tonight, letโ€™s stop designing the technologies envisioned in dystopian novels. We need to heed the warnings of artists, not race head-on into their nightmares. Letโ€™s focus on hearing the voices and experiences of those who have been harmed because of the technologies that made this industry so powerful. And letโ€™s collaborate with and design alongside those communities to fix these wrongs, to build just and empowering technologies rather than those that reify the status quo.

Accepting the 2019 Barlow/Pioneer Award, danah boyd reflects on her journey through technology, her experiences of abuse and learning to stay small.

Let me be clear โ€” this is deeply destabilizing for me. I am here today in-no-small-part because I benefited from the generosity of men who tolerated and, in effect, enabled unethical, immoral, and criminal men. And because of that privilege, I managed to keep moving forward even as the collateral damage of patriarchy stifled the voices of so many others around me. I am angry and sad, horrified and disturbed because I know all too well that this world is not meritocratic. I am also complicit in helping uphold these systems.

I am here today because I learned how to survive and thrive in a manโ€™s world, to use my tongue wisely, watch my back, and dodge bullets. I am being honored because I figured out how to remove a few bricks in those fortified walls so that others could look in. But this isnโ€™t enough.

This all comes on light of all those who have benefited from the ties with Jeffrey Epstein.

boyd explains that we are now faced with a challenge to build, rather than break, a better web.

The Great Reckoning is in front of us. How we respond to the calls for justice will shape the future of technology and society. We must hold accountable all who perpetuate, amplify, and enable hate, harm, and cruelty. But accountability without transformation is simply spectacle. We owe it to ourselves and to all of those who have been hurt to focus on the root of the problem. We also owe it to them to actively seek to not build certain technologies because the human cost is too great.

2 responses on “๐Ÿ“‘ Facing the Great Reckoning Head-On”

  1. Heather Gold reflects on Twitter on MIT and their association with Jeffrey Epstein. She explains that it simply highlights the problem of gender and power that has been present for so long, but people have learned to work within the constraints.

    โ€œYouโ€™re gonna have to take it.โ€œ
    The sentiment of abuse.
    The sick pleasure of abuse for the abuser. *Making* you. Your lack of safe choice.
    It also applies to a million situations for women working in tech if they want access, belonging, work.(source)

    This is something that danah boyd touches upon in her acceptance speech for Barlow/Pioneer Award.

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