Preston So (he/ele/él) Profile picture
Sep 10, 2018 14 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A friend recently asked me why I'm so adamant that a #callforpapers must have a #diversity #inclusion section. Wouldn't a blind, merit-based selection process lead to better content? They were convinced by my answer, which I share here. Thread:
#webdev #tech #drupal #drupaleurope
Consider three sessions covering the same broad subject area. Speaker A's proposal is short and only covers the basics. Speaker B's proposal contains spelling and grammatical errors and unconventional English. Speaker C's proposal is well-written, comprehensive, and in-depth. 1/
Speaker A is a woman who has #impostorsyndrome and is harassed by anonymous men on Twitter who belittle her decade-long expertise. She writes a short and basic proposal because she is no longer confident in her skill. Speaker C is a man whose expertise is seldom questioned. 2/
Speaker A is black, travels 1.5h by bus to the nearest public library, and uses a slow malfunctioning computer to use the internet and write his proposal. A line forms behind him, pressuring him to rush his submission. Speaker C uses a home office equipped with @GoogleFiber. 3/
Speaker A is a combat veteran who is light-sensitive due to an IED during her deployment. She cannot look at a computer screen for >5min before needing to rest her eyes. In pain, she rushes through her proposal. Speaker C stares at a laptop for 3h writing his session proposal. 4/
Speaker B lives in a formerly redlined area with a heavily segregated school system. She never had the chance to learn to write past an 8th-grade level. She does the best she can to write a proposal on her area of expertise. Speaker C went to a wealthy prep school across town. 5/
Speaker B is #Deaf and uses grammatical nuances familiar to the Deaf community but highly unconventional outside Deaf culture. He is worried that a sign-language interpreter might not be available. Speaker C has never worried about that sort of thing because they are hearing. 6/
Speaker B is a nonnative English speaker from India who has never received any formal training in writing the English language but speaks it fluently. She misspells terms and writes in incomplete sentences. Speaker C was born in the United States and writes idiomatic English. 7/
Speaker B lives with dyslexia and sometimes switches letters in words without meaning to misspell them. He believes he has fixed all the misspellings but struggles to reread his session proposal. Speaker C has perfect spelling and skims her proposal 10 times before submitting. 8/
In a blind, merit-based #callforpapers, Speaker A is rejected because the session does not cover enough ground and is far too brief. Speaker B is rejected because the spelling and grammar don't match the quality of other submissions. Speaker C is accepted and invited to speak. 9/
This is why it's so essential to have a #diversity #inclusion section in your #callforpapers. If you're serious about increasing the diversity of your speaker pool, you must consider the circumstances of the proposals you receive. Otherwise you will lose impt unheard voices. 10/
A #diversity #inclusion section in your #callforpapers asks whether a speaker has context affecting their ability to present a session, such as oppression or marginalization. It helps you find those who lack opportunities and privilege so you can lift and center their voices. 11/
Here is the #diversityandinclusion section of the @decoupleddays #callforpapers. Absent from the screenshot is a field for preferred gender pronouns (PGPs). Please feel free to adapt it for your own conference and to give us feedback about how we're doing. Thanks for reading! 12/
Thanks to @Ruby for pointing me to this insightful and resonant article by @bridgetkromhout! I'm sorry for using the ableist word "blind" to describe what I should have termed anonymous / meritocratic CfPs (which do nothing to welcome those we need most).…

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