Just because you're privileged doesn't mean you suck (eviltrout.com)

programming

328 ups - 318 downs = 10 votes

221 comments submitted at 17:54:49 on Jan 3, 2013 by robinw

  • [-]
  • cooljeanius
  • 26 Points
  • 14:12:41, 4 January

I thought this article was going to be about privilege escalation hacks, or the proper use of sudo, or something having more to do with the term "privilege" as it's used in the context of computers (i.e. what programs are allowed to do)

  • [-]
  • Moustachiod_T-Rex
  • 4 Points
  • 15:14:55, 8 January

Nope, it's just /r/programming's weekly self-flagellation routine.

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 137 Points
  • 20:38:26, 3 January

This has absolutely nothing to do with programming.

  • [-]
  • HittingSmoke
  • 63 Points
  • 03:30:25, 4 January

Apparently SRS and Tumblr are leaking in here.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -32 Points
  • 20:56:25, 3 January

Well, apart from it applies to a lot of programmers. He's right in that if you're around your 30s and you've been programming from an early age, you were most likely privileged as a child.

He's also right that people feel that saying "You were privileged" is somehow an insult that diminishes their personal efforts. So clarifying that is a good idea.

I definitely agree with his sentiment - if you had a good start due to privilege, acknowledging the lack of privilege of others is a good step towards being a good citizen.

I've met far too many programmers who despise poor people and use their own experiences as justification - "if I could do it, why couldn't they"

  • [-]
  • snookums
  • 18 Points
  • 05:16:16, 5 January

> He's also right that people feel that saying "You were privileged" is somehow an insult that diminishes their personal efforts. So clarifying that is a good idea.

I'd say that's also because it often is. The word privileged is used as an insult, even by those who claim you shouldn't take it that way.

edit: By the way, I'm not disagreeing with his point. I'm just saying it is an insult.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 6 Points
  • 07:42:00, 5 January

Yeah, I think it implies a false dichotomy - you got where you are solely due to privilege, vs. you got where you were solely due to effort.

And of course, people who put in a lot of effort to achieve their current status will naturally resent the implication that they only achieved what they did due to their relatively privileged beginnings.

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 5 Points
  • 15:23:31, 7 January

This sub-thread is thoughtful. How rare.

  • [-]
  • attrition0
  • 27 Points
  • 22:43:53, 3 January

I had a longer reply here, but I felt it was too long and boring, so: You should change your second sentence to "probably privileged as a child".

I'm in your age/experience category but I can tell you I certainly wasn't privileged! Most days we were lucky to have food, some people in that category had to work to get here too.

I know, it's an overly PC kind of thing for me to ask of you, which is a really weird side for me to be on.

Edit: Also I just wanted to say that this post should not be on /r/programming whatsoever.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -18 Points
  • 00:56:02, 4 January

Out of curiosity, if your family had issues with food, how did you have access to computers?

  • [-]
  • attrition0
  • 21 Points
  • 02:27:02, 4 January

Around 1997 or so I was given a machine that was being thrown out, a sort of charity thing. Was a 386DX with a black and white monitor and 32mb ram, had it until about 2001 (same year I got dial up internet). I taught myself QBASIC after stumbling onto it, using the F1 help system. I had no internet, books or people to help me.

Of course, I wrote terrible code! But it worked.

I'm very grateful that the social programs existed to get me through college and into a great career, I consider myself lucky.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -11 Points
  • 04:17:01, 4 January

That's awesome to hear. There'll always be exceptions to generalisations. (Apart from that one).

  • [-]
  • TheFirstInternetUser
  • 45 Points
  • 17:57:04, 4 January

> "He's right in that if you're around your 30s and you've been programming from an early age, you were most likely privileged as a child."

I'm in my 40+, code for a living, and was raised on welfare and food stamps. Self-educated at the public library for free. I have serious health issues from the poverty-stricken childhood, have no living blood relatives that are not either in jail or institutionalized, don't even have school records because I had to drop out to support myself, and have struggled my entire life to bring myself up to a middle-class standard of living and raise a family on the side.

And now, all I hear is how elite and privileged and coddled I was, because I started out with "Basic for Dummies" and a TRS-80 somebody threw out and worked my way up from there.

Because I have a work ethic, I am now the most despised member of society.

It figures.

EDIT

For the illumination of others, witness the common anti-intellectual bigot, replying below. "most likely privileged as a child..." based on what??? Based on nothing but the bullshit he pulls out of his own ass.

Those of us who really know how to work for a living know that ambition to learn a STEM career is, in fact, inversely proportional to one's wealth. Every rich kid from an Ivy League I ever met wasn't worth a damn behind a computer, calculator, or slide rule; every kid who fought their way up from the streets and worked hard for what they had was the only ones who got things done.

"Privilege", "elitist", "arrogant", "condescending" - those are the weak accusations of the lazy and useless. Pay them no heed.

  • [-]
  • Kozbot
  • 12 Points
  • 13:17:39, 8 January

FUCKING OWNED. so good.

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 16 Points
  • 15:18:34, 7 January

Great point.

Even more, who cares who's "privileged"?

It's a way of discounting their accomplishments, which isn't fair to them.

If they're good at what they do, it's a win for everyone.

  • [-]
  • nkohari
  • -12 Points
  • 19:53:38, 4 January

> ...you were most likely privileged as a child.

The emphasis is the key piece. Your story is (quite obviously) not the norm.

Also, I'm not sure from where you got the "most despised" member of society comment, but I hardly think software developers qualify for that particular superlative.

  • [-]
  • KindredBear
  • 2 Points
  • 16:41:54, 8 January

You sound like a racist.

>Most black people are dumb.

>The emphasis is the key piece. Your story is (quite obviously) not the norm.

that later sentance fit so well there, didn't it?

You're generalizing, if I can't generalize black people by saying most black people are dumb, why can you say most people with STEM degrees are privileged?

PoS

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -22 Points
  • 02:12:57, 5 January

> all I hear is how elite and privileged and coddled I was

You're an outlier to a generalisation.

> Because I have a work ethic, I am now the most despised member of society.

Wow, for someone in their 40s, you're dangerously close to a melodramatic self-pitying teenager.

  • [-]
  • KindredBear
  • 6 Points
  • 16:38:31, 8 January

Go back to SRS you liberal arts fuck.

You're just sad cus the only thing your alleged degree is good for is jockeying a cash register at wally world, or maybe substitute teach a special ed class...

  • [-]
  • mommathecat
  • -21 Points
  • 04:21:45, 5 January

> and was raised on welfare and food stamps. Self-educated at the public library for free. I have serious health issues from the poverty-stricken childhood, have no living blood relatives that are not either in jail or institutionalized, don't even have school records because I had to drop out to support myself, and have struggled my entire life to bring myself up to a middle-class standard of living and raise a family on the side.

Yeah... Robin clearly wasn't talking about you in any way shape or form, but middle-class people that had advantages like a stable home, parents with money to buy computers, etc. He was talking about himself in the original blog.

Edit:

> every kid who fought their way up from the streets

In 13 years as a developer working with hundreds of people I've never worked with ONE SINGLE PERSON who was a "kid" who "fought their way up from the streets". They were almost universally people with a middle-class background like me.

  • [-]
  • randomjackass
  • -27 Points
  • 22:03:34, 4 January

This may not apply to you then, if you're confident now, why do you care that some people were privileged and had it easy, and you didn't ? It's simply pointing out that yeah, some people had it much easier. Try turning it around and seeing it for how much harder you had worked, then hating people ?

  • [-]
  • JohnnyDemonic
  • 15 Points
  • 00:47:22, 5 January

I'd say that the generalization feels belittling and condescending to those who had to work to get to where they are and weren't as fortunate as the OP. That somehow one's station in life wasn't due to a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, but more that their parents were of means and afforded them the career they have now.

It would be far more correct to say, you were "privileged" to live a meager existence as a child because it taught you a work ethic and sense of determination that a lot of people lack!

  • [-]
  • randomjackass
  • -19 Points
  • 03:21:19, 5 January

No. My point is you aren't the op's idea of privileged. I am. I had a computer young and had it easy. The original article points to me to make me realize what opportunities I had growing up. You're what he or she is referring to as the not privileged.

  • [-]
  • JohnnyDemonic
  • 7 Points
  • 03:37:04, 5 January

I think that everyone who's been doing this job for awhile realizes that it's a culmination of a little bit of luck, the right opportunity(s) at the right time, and a decent amount of effort.

I think whether or not someone has more opportunities than someone else, it really comes down to being lucky enough to find something you have an aptitude for and the tenacity to make it a career. In that sense I feel privileged to have found something I have a passion for.

  • [-]
  • s73v3r
  • -28 Points
  • 00:00:48, 5 January

>Self-educated at the public library for free.

Not everyone has access to decent public libraries. Hence, you had an advantage.

You shouldn't feel guilty for it, but you should recognize that you actually did have an advantage.

  • [-]
  • ArchangelleTheRapist
  • 11 Points
  • 14:48:49, 8 January

Wow. This, right here, is why people have the opinions they do of the social justice community and places like SRS. You collectively are constantly chomping a the bit for a reason to discount someone's accomplishments in life.

This guy is privileged because he had access to a decent public library? Are you fucking kidding me?

This just further cements in my mind that you lot are an extraordinarily unhappy bunch who are ashamed of where their life has ended up in some facet. Like typical bullies, you turn to diminishing others to reinforce your own, woefully lacking, self esteem. You tear others down to build yourself up in your mind. What is worse is that you seem to take pride in yourself for being wilfully ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, but prideful ignorance creates an incredibly destructive positive reinforcement loop where the more ignorant you are, the more you can break others down and, on your mind, elevate yourself. It's as unfortunate as it is sad.

  • [-]
  • peacegnome
  • 2 Points
  • 17:02:23, 8 January

I got told in a recent thread that some Americans don't have access to a kitchen... and don't you dare ask for a citation on that.

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 50 Points
  • 20:58:18, 3 January

We need better moderators.

  • [-]
  • KindredBear
  • 5 Points
  • 16:43:15, 8 January

It doesn't help that Chromakode is an SRS shill, that's the only reason this shit is allowed here.

  • [-]
  • detailsguy
  • 44 Points
  • 21:11:05, 3 January

I must agree... this doesn't belong here.

  • [-]
  • bluntzfang
  • -39 Points
  • 21:45:18, 3 January

Maybe we need better users who don't make pointless, one-liner comments in reply to someone who makes a good point.

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 22 Points
  • 21:48:03, 3 January

The blog mentioned programming. That doesn't make it ABOUT programming. Not at all.

  • [-]
  • bluntzfang
  • -25 Points
  • 21:51:56, 3 January

So social relationships never come into play with computer programming?

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 25 Points
  • 21:55:26, 3 January

Of course they do. You can make make your own subreddit called /r/thingsrelatedtoprogramming and talk about it there.

This subreddit is for programming.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -34 Points
  • 22:35:19, 3 January

What is the difference between computer programming and stuff related to computer programming? That is totally arbitrary.

I'd also say your acknowledgement that this is related to programming negates your original post of "has nothing to do with" it.

  • [-]
  • attrition0
  • 43 Points
  • 22:57:20, 3 January

Two things from the sidebar:

> •If there is no code in your link, it probably doesn't belong here.

and more loosely:

> •Just because it has a computer in it doesn't make it programming.

Which I take to include, just because it mentions programming doesn't make it about programming, and doesn't make it fit for /r/programming. This blog post is about privilege and questions concerning privilege, it is not about programming.

His previous article was about the profession, but this is a follow up on privilege not on the profession.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -31 Points
  • 23:04:32, 3 January

Okay, but two posts above this one feature no code at all (the 37 signals post and the "all late projects are the same".) Why is nobody calling those out for not belonging?

In my opinion, it is related to programming, as it's a continuation of a discussion about privilege related to programming as a profession. I respect that people disagree about the relevance, but it seems that far more people are voting it up than voting it down.

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 19 Points
  • 22:39:59, 3 January

Your reading comprehension leave something to be desired.

I said that social relationships can come into play with programming.

Your blog post is about "It's okay to be privileged".

You're forcing the association.

  • [-]
  • bluntzfang
  • -28 Points
  • 22:51:46, 3 January

>You're blog post is about "It's okay to be privileged".

Oh so you didn't read the post ;)

Funny that you criticize other's reading comprehension when yours seems to be lacking as well.

>You're forcing the association.

So we shouldn't try to relate common social problems and specify possible solutions for the programming community?

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • Iggyhopper
  • 0 Points
  • 03:28:41, 4 January

Nah, they removed that one video of a joke about w/e, it was a swirling swarm of ants that kept going in circles. It was removed because it didn't belong here.

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • GauntletWizard
  • -17 Points
  • 01:55:51, 4 January

To troll on this point: I despise poor people - Not because anyone could do my job, but because not anyone could, and I'm not being particularly egotistical when I say that. Why do we continue to fail to let natural selection take it's course? I am privileged - I have the knowledge and background to accomplish task X, task X needs to be done, Poor person Y cannot do it; Why should I feel guilty for accepting money for task X? I did task X, why should poor person Y reap the rewards, regardless of whether or not they were able to do it?

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 4 Points
  • 15:19:47, 7 January

> Why do we continue to fail to let natural selection take it's course?

I agree. Remove all warning tags.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 3 Points
  • 02:22:44, 4 January

> Why do we continue to fail to let natural selection take it's course?

Haha, for real? Congratulations on going your entire life without seeking medical treatment.

  • [-]
  • GauntletWizard
  • -7 Points
  • 03:45:30, 4 January

No, not for real; I specifically say I'm trolling. Unfortunately, repeated instances of morons like you are starting to make me feel more and more in line with that.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 5 Points
  • 04:13:21, 4 January

Prefacing a bunch of hypocritical inanity with "but I'm just trolling lol" doesn't make it any less hypocritical or inane. In risu veritas, etc. If you don't actually hold to that opinion, then I'm glad, but why bother posting it?

  • [-]
  • RangerSix
  • 2 Points
  • 16:51:56, 8 January

Have you never heard of the concept of advocatus diabolus?

  • [-]
  • GauntletWizard
  • -2 Points
  • 04:52:32, 4 January

Because nowhere in my point is there a contradiction - Just a very different (and incredibly selfish, coldhearted, and cruel) view on the meaning of life. You cannot fight that view with your own ignorance of it, nor by simply suggesting that people need mental help; It turns out that most people hold that view.

Actually, if you ever get out of your pretty little fantasty world and visit a local homeless shelter, job-assistance program, or welfare office, you'll discover that most of the people that these programs are designed to help have fallen into that position because they are out to "get theirs", with little regard for others. They're executing the same basic program - the animal survival instinct - that is kicked in for most "privileged people" when someone suggests that they didn't earn their privilege, or "rich people" mobs with pitchforks come for their wealth.

You don't do anyone any good by suggesting that there needs to be "equality", "charity", "giving back", or "acknowlegement". You can do good by proposing mutual benefit: Internships, on-job-training, symbiotic relationships. A rising tide lifts all boats.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 3 Points
  • 07:55:40, 4 January

> Because nowhere in my point is there a contradiction

You've accepted medical care in the past - the most basic form of interference in natural selection. That's the hypocritical contradiction. You proclaim natural selection for everyone but yourself.

> Actually, if you ever get out of your pretty little fantasty world and visit a local homeless shelter, job-assistance program, or welfare office

I used to work for a welfare office as a case manager in some of the poorer suburbs of my city, which in turn are some of the poorest suburbs in my country.

> you'll discover that most of the people [...] have fallen into that position because they are out to "get theirs", with little regard for others.

I'm currently grinning at the irony of you accusing me of living in a fantasy world and then embarking upon some great generalisation based on ignorance.

The great majority of the people who came through my offices were good people who were there because they had stumbled in life, and they just needed a bit of help to get through it.

To watch someone so proud of his education make a sweeping wrong statement as 'fact' is hilarious, I must admit.

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 2 Points
  • 15:23:10, 7 January

> I used to work for a welfare office as a case manager in some of the poorer suburbs of my city, which in turn are some of the poorest suburbs in my country.

Are you biased?

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -3 Points
  • 22:06:45, 7 January

Sure, I'm biased against people who think that most poor people are amoral lazy shiftless bludgers. :)

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • GauntletWizard
  • -5 Points
  • 08:29:13, 4 January

It's just a different way of looking at life - Point me at any one of those people, and I will tear them to shreds as well. Stumbled and need a little help? I can point to poor decision making going back generations, I can point to poor health that's been family endemic.

Medical care is interference in natural selection? Hardly. Medical care is knowing how to take care of yourself, and forming bonds with your community for mutual benefit. Licking wounds is a common trait to mammals - I just know how to get someone else to do it for me, and in return they get my help. True, it's mediated by an insurance provider - Because unlike you hippies, I can form bonds that go beyond immediate, that include a fairly large web of trust. Unlike you hippies, my bonds aren't of the personal or "all mankind" type; They are forged from similar interests, from the people who can and do protecting themselves from the wilds of the have-nots.

That your "Clients" have no-one left to turn to is their own fault and mistakes - It's not hard to make friends, if you're willing to repay your debts, or at least try your damned hardest to. Good people make friends; Anyone who's alone and friendless deserves to be. Alone, friendless and without money, without hope? They've been judged, and found wanting, countless times before. It doesn't take much to have a stranger take a look at your resume, and even a minimum wage job is livable - If you choose to live it carefully, within your means, and with a few others in similar situations.

And yet, really, at the end of the day - The above is pretty much bullshit. I agree with you; Everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone deserves a life, rich and rewarding. Life's not fair, and plenty won't get that, no matter how much I do, and that breaks my heart.

I've done my time in shelters, in housing projects, in slums. I've given handouts to bums, and the fact is that many won't turn themsleves around; Have lived so long in pain, have been hurt so many times, have been mistaken, misused, misled so long that they've forgotten what human kindess can be. That doesn't excuse failing to try to help them, but it does make it more painful each time, to know that someone has fallen off the wagon repeatedly.

I still contend, though, that the messaging is all wrong - This is not about "The Privileged" having to give to the poor, "social justice", or even about human kindness - You've reached those people long ago. The people you are arguing with are insane, irrational, and vindictive, and are every bit as much the mad dogs as they contend the poor to be, but a far more dangerous breed. Still, it's foolish to take them on head-on, because every argument you give them just gives them fire for their hate, just as my nutso comments have given you zealotry. Both are dangerous.

  • [-]
  • s73v3r
  • -4 Points
  • 23:58:21, 4 January

Basically what you did is the internet equivalent of saying, "I'm not racist, but..." before busting out the most ignorant, hateful racist shit ever uttered.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -37 Points
  • 20:46:19, 3 January

It's a follow up to a post that topped /r/programming and got 800+ votes.

I believe privilege should be of utmost importance to programmers. Our workforce has a huge gender disparity, for example.

(disclaimer: I wrote the OP)

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 14 Points
  • 15:23:55, 7 January

> Our workforce has a huge gender disparity, for example.

You didn't make a logical argument there.

How is this the result of "privilege" (which you need to define)?

  • [-]
  • adoran124
  • 27 Points
  • 21:54:21, 3 January

Can you explain what privilege has to do with the gender disparity?

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -38 Points
  • 22:18:42, 3 January

Here's a convenient checklist that's food for thought:

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/MaleProgrammerPrivilege_Checklist

  • [-]
  • flat5
  • 20 Points
  • 19:40:12, 4 January

It seems like you could be saved a lot of really unnecessary angst if you realized "guys" is used as a gender neutral term. Just think of it as "folks".

  • [-]
  • moor-GAYZ
  • 23 Points
  • 11:29:12, 4 January

I'd also like to invite anyone interested in various kinds of privilege (male, white, thin, single-souled) to /r/TumblrInAction where we aggregate and discuss opinions on it.

  • [-]
  • suprsmashkng
  • 14 Points
  • 23:16:42, 3 January

So you're saying that a gay programmer is privileged because he is male?

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -24 Points
  • 23:27:13, 3 January

The thing about privilege is it has many levels and is definitely not an absolute thing.

Not all women have less privilege than all men. Gay men have it easier in some ways, harder in others.

Anecdotally, though, I've worked with far more gay programmers than women programmers.

  • [-]
  • Moustachiod_T-Rex
  • 13 Points
  • 14:45:55, 8 January

And this is where privilege becomes a pissing match. Except a pissing match where the winners and losers are arbitrary.

  • [-]
  • 5th_Law_of_Robotics
  • 1 Points
  • 17:13:07, 8 January

It would be helpful if you assigned a numerical value to each of these privileges.

Keeping it vague only means that it will be debated endlessly without achieving anything.

So for instance what is the victim-score for a gay blind programmer who happens to be male and white?

What about a parapalegic straight female programmer who has a kid with autism and suffers from depression?

  • [-]
  • bettse
  • 5 Points
  • 23:42:49, 3 January

I once spent an afternoon on that site and ended up emailing some links to a female geek, along with my thoughts:

>Its got some great info, but I keep coming back to the idea that a lot of the underpinnings are unrelated to geek culture. That is, geek culture has a large number of social issues even before getting into issues of binary gender and othering. Like a patient who has a gunshot wound, but the doctors keep talking about treating the patient's cancer. Cancer kills, but first you have to stop the bleeding.

  • [-]
  • pfctdayelise
  • -1 Points
  • 03:37:51, 4 January

I'm not sure what social issues in geek culture you are thinking of, but it seems like a false dichotomy. Why not fix all the problems? Take a massively parallel approach. :)

  • [-]
  • bettse
  • 6 Points
  • 03:53:14, 4 January

>I'm not sure what social issues in geek culture you are thinking of,

Two easy ones to name would be gender imbalance and ethnic imbalance.

>but it seems like a false dichotomy.

I never made it a dichotomy, I used an analogy more closely related to triage.

>Why not fix all the problems?

I didn't say I wasn't trying, but its hard to start a discussion about sensitivity towards transgendered individuals when you can't even create an environment that a privileged straight white female would be comfortable in.

  • [-]
  • PartyButton
  • -18 Points
  • 22:17:07, 3 January

girls arent supposed to like math

  • [-]
  • ostrakon
  • 30 Points
  • 00:47:52, 4 January

I believe getting the fucking job done is pretty much the only thing a programmer needs to worry about. I imagine programmers who spend time focusing on that enjoy much more successful careers than those who obsess over contrived lists of perceived privileges.

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 8 Points
  • 15:24:23, 7 January

> I believe getting the fucking job done is pretty much the only thing a programmer needs to worry about.

It's also the only thing that you gets you your second job.

  • [-]
  • niggazinspace
  • 7 Points
  • 12:38:35, 8 January

And your third, and your fourth. The world loves competence. The other stuff is optional.

  • [-]
  • mayonesa
  • 3 Points
  • 15:53:42, 8 January

> The world loves competence.

I have no problem with this and wish it were more rigidly enforced.

  • [-]
  • ph0bia_
  • -26 Points
  • 01:34:55, 4 January

The problem with this line of thinking is that the locus of control is outside of one's own mind. Ignore the list as much as much as you want, but the stigma is still present the issue itself is it's a social one.

  • [-]
  • ostrakon
  • 32 Points
  • 01:51:28, 4 January

The mere existence of that list - and your response to my comment - demonstrates one of the pervasive problems of modern feminism: a near complete lack of agency.

As it turns out, having a successful career in a results-driven field like programming is entirely dependent on your ability to produce results. The problem with your privilege-centric worldview is how much you depend on privileges you insist people have simply because of their second chromosome - even when being told flat-out that these privileges don't exist by those you presume to have them. I think it's hilarious that men are supposedly incapable of truly understanding the issues women face, but a 'male privilege checklist' written by feminists is totally kosher.

Any movement that attempts to combat perceived disparity by focusing on how other groups allegedly have it easier is an absolute joke. Perpetuating the wage gap myth, maintaining 'privilege checklists', and complaining about 'privileged' everyone else is despite the science degree on your wall and a programmer's salary is so manifestly contrary to reality that it makes me sick that you can spew this nonsense with a straight face.

  • [-]
  • ph0bia_
  • -17 Points
  • 02:10:28, 4 January

Despite your philosophical high-horse, you know nothing of the real world or how it operates. I do not agree with the need for such things like the checklist, however my main point is there is no denying that there is a social issue present in workforce. The problem of the "privileged" perception is merely a side affect of these underlying social issues which any reasonable person would agree need eventually be phased out.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -24 Points
  • 04:19:34, 4 January

> Perpetuating the wage gap myth

What myth? It's demonstrated in fact repeatedly that men earn more than women for the same work.

  • [-]
  • ostrakon
  • 36 Points
  • 04:36:01, 4 January

> for the same work

Is the myth that gets continually repeated. Normalize for occupation,experience, and performance and the 'wage gap' disappears.

The '77 cents' meme that always gets repeated is based off of a US Dept of Labor statistic that takes all workers that work 30 hours or more and uses the resulting figures to illustrate wage disparity. It doesn't take into account that men work more hours in general, more overtime in general, and tend to work riskier and/or high income jobs than women - secretaries and school-hours retail clerks drag down women's average income, whereas coal miners, petroleum workers, engineers and whatnot tend to increase men's average income.

Women who have the same experience level as similarly-aged men (I.e didn't interrupt their careers to raise kids) tend to make the exact same as any of their immediate colleagues that got similar performance ratings. At the executive level it even seems that women are starting to make more than their male colleagues in some fields.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • -24 Points
  • 07:57:06, 4 January

> Is the myth that gets continually repeated. Normalize for occupation,experience, and performance and the 'wage gap' disappears.

One or two citations may help your case.

  • [-]
  • ostrakon
  • 44 Points
  • 14:57:31, 4 January

http://consad.com/index.php?page=an-analysis-of-reasons-for-the-disparity-in-wages-between-men-and-women

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/the-gender-pay-gap-persists-especially-for-the-rich/

(Shitty headline for what the article actually says about the gender wage gap - demonstrates that with minimal controls it's only about 4-5%)

http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-the-gender-pay-gap-is-just-a-myth-2011-3?op=1#ixzz1GSepTxxq

(Cites separate sources for the points made)

http://m.pnas.org/content/early/2009/08/20/0907352106

(Demonstrates that risk-taking career behavors tend to be taken by men)

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1412201&show=pdf

(Gender didn't play a role in middle management advancement decisions, so observed disparity appears to be caused more by lack of agency than discrimination)

  • [-]
  • s73v3r
  • -4 Points
  • 23:53:57, 4 January

That assumes that none of us have any down time, and that we're forced to work 24/7.

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 5 Points
  • 20:52:27, 3 January

I'm aware, I read both posts. The first one was fine. Barely skimmed the surface of programming, but close enough.

You should post this as a discussion in the original post.

I appreciate that you want to increase traffic to your blog. This is not the proper way to do it.

There is nothing here that wasn't already in the discussion of the first post. Which is where this belongs.

  • [-]
  • mommathecat
  • -29 Points
  • 04:24:04, 5 January

So why did people upvote it?

People are really butthurt about this. If you don't find it interesting, don't upvote it, don't read it, don't comment on it, move on.

  • [-]
  • Poddster
  • 18 Points
  • 16:36:05, 5 January

/r/gaming is the perfect example of how wrong this philosophy is.

Anyone with a reddit account can vote up things in /r/programming

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 32 Points
  • 15:57:00, 5 January

Because this is the kind of shit that ruins a subreddit. Notice the top voted comment.

  • [-]
  • DocTomoe
  • 49 Points
  • 08:59:45, 4 January

Every time I hear the word "privileged" nowadays, I think of SRS, and the one talking about such things immediately looses all credibility in my eyes...

  • [-]
  • seabass341
  • 11 Points
  • 13:09:53, 8 January

I wonder where this post came from ;)

  • [-]
  • HittingSmoke
  • 35 Points
  • 03:34:33, 4 January

Tumblr is leaking again.

  • [-]
  • flat5
  • 28 Points
  • 22:58:20, 3 January

I agree with what he's said before and here.

But what I also notice is that I grew up in a neighborhood with 500 kids who had the same privileges I did - we never went hungry and had meager responsibilities and a lot of free time. Only a small percentage used that privilege constructively. Some of the others are dead or in jail due to drug addiction, or work in the auto parts stockroom making $10/hr at age 35 because they never applied themselves to anything employable. While I was poking around with shape tables in the Apple II monitor, they were sneaking out getting wasted. Privilege isn't enough.

  • [-]
  • drysart
  • 41 Points
  • 23:50:01, 3 January

Privilege is simply a head start. Whether you take advantage of that head start is a completely different matter.

  • [-]
  • Moustachiod_T-Rex
  • 11 Points
  • 15:01:13, 8 January

I find privilege to be an irritating concept because it's so divorced from reality.

Yes, some people are better placed in life to succeed. That's a simple, unfortunate but unavoidable, fact of life.

The average white child probably has access to computers from an earlier age than the average black child. But is this because they are white? No, it's because being black correlates with lower income. Why do black people earn less? Is it because they're black? No, it plainly is not.

Privilege is finding correlation between outcomes of demographics, then ranking those demographics on a scale.

Little white Jimmy is considered 'more privileged' than little black Tommy until we consider that little white Jimmy's father suffers PTSD and hasn't been able to provide for his family for 30 years so they've been living on welfare. Now black Tommy is more privileged as he comes from a rich family.

'Privilege' relies upon the logical fallacy that the outcomes of different demographics are totally controlled by the demographics themselves (e.g. 'black people are worse off because they are black') rather than because those demographics differ in socioeconomic for other reasons (often historical).

We are privileged (or unprivileged) as individuals, not as demographics.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 12 Points
  • 01:05:45, 4 January

Of course not. It's like taking part in a running race on a motorcycle, you still need to ride the bike to win. (forgive the ludicrous analogy but I've just been privileged to have two pints with workmates at lunchtime and it's the best I can do).

  • [-]
  • MrGunny
  • 8 Points
  • 17:07:18, 4 January

I have no problem acknowledging that I have been born with some level of privilege. My problem is with the warriors who become so caught up in wringing every ounce of pity out of people to feel better about personal failures. There needs to be a point where we say "Yes, we made a reasonable effort to provide as many people as we could an equal opportunity to succeed." after which we say "Sorry Jimmy, but playing Facebook games and commenting on Tumblr blogs aren't providing society with much value, you've lost your chance."

  • [-]
  • Whisper
  • 44 Points
  • 22:49:23, 3 January

I'm sorry, you seem to be lost.

r/politics is over that way, on the left.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -52 Points
  • 23:48:19, 3 January

It makes me sad that so many of you are uninterested in discussing these very serious issues in our industry.

Still, where there is smoke there is probably fire, and I apologize for posting this to the wrong place (even though 62% like it as of now.)

  • [-]
  • pkkl
  • 30 Points
  • 05:08:22, 4 January

>It makes me sad that so many of you are uninterested in discussing these very serious issues in our industry.

If I was interested in every very serious issue I come into contact with on a daily basis I would be a penniless neurotic. It's one of the less pretty factors of coping with the human condition. I might even be very interested but happen to find r/programming comments on your blogpost the wrong venue for this discussion for many very prominent reasons. And I don't mean the stated scope of the subreddit, I mean things like the quality of reddit discussions in general and your lackluster exposition in a post written intending to be a springboard for discussion.

Thems the breaks, good luck with your quest but I really think you could find a more receptive audience elsewhere.

>even though 62% like it as of now.

Unrelated, but please don't use this as justification. I'm not saying the submission isn't popular, I just want to point out that this number is heavily fuzzed and from the data I saw a few years ago the percentage almost always approaches ~80% as vote total increases.

  • [-]
  • Whisper
  • 17 Points
  • 18:39:47, 4 January

>If I was interested in every very serious issue I come into contact with on a daily basis I would be a penniless neurotic

I think this statement is much more profoundly wise than you may have realized when you wrote it. I am going to steal it and quote it constantly.

  • [-]
  • dsi1
  • 9 Points
  • 06:26:27, 5 January

If reddit had signatures it'd totally go in my quotebox.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -32 Points
  • 05:19:29, 4 January

>If I was interested in every very serious issue I come into contact with on a daily basis I would be a penniless neurotic. It's one of the less pretty factors of coping with the human condition.

That's a justification for ignoring just about any travesty.

I don't expect everyone to care about whatever issues I find important, but asking people to shut up just because you don't have the capacity to care is pretty selfish.

  • [-]
  • pkkl
  • 23 Points
  • 06:11:43, 4 January

>That's a justification for ignoring just about any travesty.

Yeah, it is. That's why I said its not pretty.

Where did I ask you to shut up? I was merely trying to explain why you may be getting the response you are.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -10 Points
  • 11:17:45, 4 January

> Where did I ask you to shut up?

You didn't, Whisper did, in the GGGP.

  • [-]
  • Whisper
  • 17 Points
  • 18:38:00, 4 January

It makes me sad that if I show up to a Thai restaurant and order the mee krob, you serve me borscht and then call me unadventurous for obviously just not liking Russian food.

  • [-]
  • nowatermelonnokfc
  • 6 Points
  • 15:25:49, 8 January

privilege is not a very serious thing. in fact, it's probably a minor concern to anyone who isn't a social scientist or a hobbyist.

  • [-]
  • Eiii333
  • 25 Points
  • 00:50:50, 4 January

>If there is no code in your link, it probably doesn't belong here.

  • [-]
  • robinw
  • -21 Points
  • 00:58:01, 4 January

There is no code in 2 of the other top 4 posts currently on /r/programming.

  • [-]
  • Eiii333
  • 30 Points
  • 01:36:30, 4 January

Yeah, either the rules should be updated or people should start reading them. Preferably both.

  • [-]
  • MachinTrucChose
  • -7 Points
  • 02:55:37, 4 January

Why haven't you posted in the other "off-topic" threads to remind them they're off-topic? Why just this one?

  • [-]
  • Eiii333
  • 21 Points
  • 03:57:22, 4 January

I have, on a handful of occasions-- usually, though, posts that skirt the rules' guidelines tend to be either entertaining or directly related to programming/software development.

The 'All Late Projects Are the Same' submission is about software development. The lawsuit submission is talking about software developers, and legal issues surrounding software development. The HTML5 submission is about HTML5.

With this article, you could remove or replace the words 'programming' or 'computer' without altering its meaning at all. In its current state, it has nothing to do with programming, software development, or anything else relevant to this subreddit.

If the author could expand on this thought to include, maybe specific experiences, examples, or ideas that would make the article specifically about programming and privilege instead of just about privilege with a few computer words thrown around, then it would certainly have a place here.

I'd be very interested in seeing an article like that-- but for now, this just reads like it's trying to find readers by falling back to known hot-button topics that are sure to get a strong reaction out of social media sites.

  • [-]
  • narwhalslut
  • -14 Points
  • 03:12:29, 4 January

We both know why. It's an easy way to bitch about the content without having to actually formulate a response to it. It's clear that's what soulblow's problem is.

  • [-]
  • oursland
  • 11 Points
  • 07:10:28, 4 January

Tu Quoque and Whataboutism.

Who cares what someone else did, you failed to obey the rules.

  • [-]
  • soulblow
  • 13 Points
  • 13:19:38, 4 January

>It makes me sad that so many of you are uninterested in discussing these very serious issues in our industry.

It isn't that we're uninterested. It's that this isn't the place for it.

And stop being so damn over-dramatic.

  • [-]
  • codenamejeff
  • 15 Points
  • 23:09:11, 3 January

I completely disagree with this. This is assuming that even if your friends had a computer they would be interested or capable of programming. I know plenty of kids who weren't privileged, and had a computer. I also knew many kids who were privileged and had computers as well. None of them are programmers. I think the author is mistaking privilege with opportunity. Most programmers tend to be tinkerers who enjoy taking things apart or building new things.

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 6 Points
  • 01:06:00, 4 January

How old are you? It's a serious question because between people in their 30s and their 20s (which I believe you're tending towards) there was a dramatic increase in PC ownership - and the author is, AFAICT, tending to address the 30+ year olds.

  • [-]
  • Nuli
  • 3 Points
  • 05:52:57, 4 January

I'm in my mid 30s. I knew several people that grew up with computers starting in the mid 80s. My school, a very cash poor urban school, had a number of computers available for people to use during the day starting around 1985 as well. I'm not aware of anyone I went to school with, that had access to a computer that early, picking a technology related career.

  • [-]
  • bw2002
  • 1 Points
  • 15:20:49, 8 January

I'm 28. I grew up with 2nd/3rd hand computers. I had to scavenge for parts to put them together and make something workable. I wasn't privileged, having grown up with 2 disabled parents, and I ended up in IT before transitioning to Finance.

This bullshit notion of privilege invalidates people who worked hard to achieve their positions in life. When someone is successful, it's usually due to hard work and that perseverance and dedication would probably have taken them far regardless of where they started.

  • [-]
  • codenamejeff
  • 2 Points
  • 01:47:03, 4 January

23

  • [-]
  • Moerderhai
  • 9 Points
  • 01:52:56, 4 January

Yep, so I don't think the blog author was addressing your generation - he was addressing mine and older. I knew one person total who owned a PC until my school got one when I was 10. Around that time, so 1991, more and more people began to buy them.

I remember being 13 and trying to figure out how the hell to save $4000 to buy a 486DX2-66, and that was when prices had come way down.

  • [-]
  • oursland
  • 7 Points
  • 07:16:35, 4 January

Whoa there, buddy. Check your privilege! codenamejeff is privileged compared to all those Indian programmers he's competing against. And all those African kids who will never get a chance...

  • [-]
  • AyeGill
  • 0 Points
  • 14:34:39, 4 January

He is. And if he judges all those African kids for being bad programmers, he should fell bad. That's what privilege means, which is exactly what this article states

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • 3 Points
  • 01:18:22, 4 January

Privilege isn't about absolutes (no opportunities at all vs ALL the opportunities), it's more like tipping the scale. If you're privileged, the scale is tipped in your favour. If you're not, the scale is tipped against it. If you're privileged, you're likely to have more opportunities, and likely to be able to use those opportunities.

  • [-]
  • therapy
  • 7 Points
  • 04:50:34, 4 January

That makes it seem like privilege is a single-dimensional thing, as if any two people can be compared and you can say which is more privileged (or that they are equal). That strikes me as a horribly simplistic way to see our complex society.

I don't deny that some groups have benefits in some environments. But it depends on the environment. In programming, we have few women, and are making big efforts to get more in order to balance things. The opposite is true in other fields, for example, clinical psychology is a career with great salaries and work conditions, and has a huge majority of women, and they are making big efforts to get more men into it to balance things.

So is a man privileged in programming but not in clinical psychology? Again, it's complicated. It's better to talk about the different fields and their cultures, than "privilege" of the individual regardless of environment.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -2 Points
  • 10:46:45, 4 January

> That makes it seem like privilege is a single-dimensional thing, as if any two people can be compared and you can say which is more privileged (or that they are equal).

Of course is that not true and it was not the point I was trying to make. Anyone can be more privileged in one area and less in another. Privilege works by "tipping the scales", but there are a lot of scales that can be tipped one way or another.

  • [-]
  • therapy
  • 2 Points
  • 03:48:42, 5 January

You did say some were more privileged than others - that implies you can compare two people on it.

I agree there are a lot of scales. And I agree talking about which groups in which environments are treated differently is important. Just as long as we don't compare individuals, which tends to be unfair to them, and that it completely depends on the environment.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -4 Points
  • 20:37:07, 6 January

Well, I guess you can't just compare any two people, because experience is subjective and some forms of privilege might count more than others. Only in very extreme cases could you probably justifiably compare them, for example: "George Bush is more privileged than this kid who's lived his whole live in the slums of Mumbai " (or alternatively: two people who differ in only a single such axis, but how likely is finding that?)

  • [-]
  • Siliddar
  • 12 Points
  • 20:02:45, 3 January

People are always trying to equate Privilege with Original Sin, and if you don't understand privilege they might seem similar.

Granted, They are both things that you didn't necessarily do, people you've never met are mad at, or resent you for it, people remind you of it often, and at first it seems like you're supposed to make up for it.

The difference that some people don't understand is, that privilege is something you should recognize and understand, not something that you should feel eternally guilty about and endlessly atone for. In recognizing your privilege, you will see people that don't have that privilege, which gives you greater opportunity to help others.

  • [-]
  • AyeGill
  • 11 Points
  • 14:30:20, 4 January

I think the issue is that privilege is often hurled around in an accusatory manner, which means that it is often interpreted in an accusatory manner. But you're absolutely right: the idea isn't that you're a bad person for being a straight while man. You're only a bad person if you don't recognize your privilege (or rather, not recognizing your privilege is a bad act. Otherwise acting very ethically might balance it out, so to speak). In the context of this article: having early access to a computer is not a bad thing. It does not make you a bad person. However, if you judge others for not understanding computers as well as you, that's a bad act.

  • [-]
  • steve_b
  • 35 Points
  • 20:55:12, 3 January

The issue that makes "privilege" such a hot button is that it's applied somewhat selectively, and it is used pejoratively. Thing is, lots of people are privileged - but not all privileges translate into higher income or access.

For example, some kid who grew up poor in a rough part of town might be "privileged" in that he lived with a parent who was a talented musician - his childhood may have been one filled with music that mine wasn't, and as such have a greater appreciation for it, or a better aptitude. Or he may have been privileged in having non-divorced parents, or a family structure that gave him better role models when it came to how to get along with girls. It took me years to catch up on those "disadvantages".

But that doesn't translate to money, although it does translate to something that people might use money to try to achieve (money, respect, etc.). Granted, being charming or a good singer isn't going to get you treatment for your cancer, but not everyone who grows up "privileged" (e.g., white, male, middle+ class) gets this automatically either.

My point is: more people are privileged than those who are typically labeled as such, although the the benefits of those privileges may not be as immediately obvious. As a skilled techie, though, the way I've always considered myself privileged is this: the thing I'm good at and enjoy has enabled me to earn a comfortable living, something that my friends whose talents lay elsewhere were not as lucky to have.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -6 Points
  • 01:42:03, 4 January

A good point. I didn't consider that at all when I wrote that privilege is measurable, somewhere else on this page.

  • [-]
  • meanidea
  • 12 Points
  • 00:07:45, 4 January

This shit is insidious. It is tall poppy syndrome hijacking social justice for its own envious ends.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • 7 Points
  • 18:35:54, 3 January

This is a very important point to make. If someone doesn't know this, it can be very hard to hold an intelligent, civilised conversation with them about things like discrimination, feminism, poverty, democracy, ...

  • [-]
  • ColorfulFish
  • 30 Points
  • 08:44:27, 4 January

All you need to hold an intelligent conversation is an open mind and an interest in the topic at hand. There's no reason at all to bring up my "privileges" unless you want to

  1. invalidate my argument by dismissing me as privileged,

  2. imply that your argument is more valid because you weren't privileged.

Either of those would bring any intelligent conversation to a screeching halt.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -19 Points
  • 11:11:00, 4 January

Hogwash. I'm not at all interested in stifling debate here, and I think most others here aren't either. Please read Privilege if you haven't already. It is a bit sparse, but it contains links to more information.

  • [-]
  • ColorfulFish
  • 20 Points
  • 19:00:36, 4 January

So your response is to dismiss my argument entirely and tell me to go search the internet to make your argument for you. I think you're proving my point.

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • JiggilyPuff
  • 18 Points
  • 18:37:41, 4 January

Please explain how what he said is hogwash.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -9 Points
  • 20:18:28, 6 January

ColorfulFish's argument boils down to: "There's no reason at all to bring up my "privileges" unless you want to [...] bring any intelligent conversation to a screeching halt."

That is not true, I do not want to bring intelligent conversation to a halt and I think neither does this robinw fellow, yet we want to bring up privilege. Our privilege, not just ColorfulFish's.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 32 Points
  • 21:08:42, 3 January

What you're saying here, and in TFA is: you don't suck if you're priveleged. You suck if you're priveleged and don't admit to it.

Which is a little problematic. People can have legitimate and rational disagreements about what constitutes privilege, and it's implications. I think it can be equally hard to hold an intelligent, civillized conversation with someone who doesn't understand that we are not all obligated to accept the same definition of privelege, nor are we all obligated to have a common belief in what "changes" are necessary to correct such "injustices".

  • [-]
  • notapi
  • -12 Points
  • 23:03:36, 3 January

> People can have legitimate and rational disagreements about what constitutes privilege, and it's implications.

Those kinds of disagreements usually boil down to, "as a white male, I have never felt in any way privileged, and I believe my experience has been the same as that of women and minorities, or in fact worse, thus any statistics brought to light that show these groups to have it worse off are entirely due to flaws inherent to them."

Which is why arguing about privilege in the first place can be seen as insulting in and of itself to a social justice minded person.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 29 Points
  • 23:20:17, 3 January

> Which is why arguing about privilege in the first place can be seen as insulting in and of itself to a social justice minded person.

Yes, this is exactly the point I'm making! It's pretty hard to have a rational conversation with someone who sees the mere existence of someone who does not share their worldview as an insult. And it's tough to have a civilized discussion with someone who believes you have no rational, legitimate reason to disagree with them.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 10 Points
  • 01:46:56, 4 January

> someone who sees the mere existence of someone who does not share their worldview as an insult

The existence of the circlejerk in this thread doesn't bother me.

When someone says "you have privilege!", it's an accusation. It is said with an accusative tone, as if the subject did something wrong. How can you expect anyone to react favorably to that?

I disagree with people all the time. I can deal with it in a reasonable, calm, respectable manner... but the "privilege" crowd doesn't deal in respect. When they argue, they aren't seeking common ground; they stubbornly demand you agree with them or they will tell you "you suck". Seriously; go back and read the comment I linked, which is a parent in this thread, and ask yourself "how can anyone respectfully disagree with a person who holds that opinion?" They're no better than religious fundamentalists foaming at the mouth when talking about "privilege".

  • [-]
  • notapi
  • -11 Points
  • 02:12:07, 4 January

Everyone in this thread has some kind of privilege, everyone. Some more than others. And, correspondingly, when someone says "I don't have privilege!" it means, indirectly, that all disadvantaged groups are not actually disadvantaged, and thus the problems faced by that group can only be due to some inherent flaw in the group itself.

How can you expect anyone to react favorably to that?

The other side isn't seeking common ground because it feels inherently insulting -- just as much, if not more so than the way you feel when you're called privileged.

I'm privileged. I own that label. When I was growing up, I was encouraged to explore my passions without much of my parents trying to shove me into a gender role. I'm incredibly privileged in that respect compared to other women who did not have that encouragement. I had a computer growing up, I wrote simple programs on it, and nobody ever told me I couldn't do it, or shouldn't do it, and I can lay all the praise for that on my parents.

It doesn't make me a bad person if I had a computer growing up, but it does make me a bad person if I see a computer illiterate person and assume that the reason for that is that they're inherently less intelligent than I, when they might not have seen a computer screen for the first half of their lives.

  • [-]
  • therapy
  • 10 Points
  • 04:36:18, 4 January

> Everyone in this thread has some kind of privilege, everyone. Some more than others.

The problem though is when you start comparing individuals. There are thousands of factors you can compare people on, and saying X is more privileged than Y is often a judgement call. If X was born in a more affluent family and went to a better school, but has tourette's syndrome that can't be controlled by drugs, is X more priviledged than Y who is healthy but grew up in a poorer family?

Trying to decide which of them is "more privileged" is a little bizarre.

I would be more ok with X saying "I was lucky to have rich parents, but unlucky to have tourette's." Without a yes/no as to whether X is more or less "privileged" than Y.

  • [-]
  • EvilTerran
  • 11 Points
  • 14:31:19, 4 January

See also: Oppression Olympics

[edit] by which I mean, "trying to decide who is more privileged" has been discussed in other places under the heading "oppression olympics", and the consensus seems to be that it's not very productive.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 4 Points
  • 02:29:18, 4 January

Whoever says "I never had help"? I've never met them, not in this profession.

But who needs to feel guilty about receiving help?

Further, who feels the need to go around saying "you had help!" for no reason? What does it accomplish? What goal could there be, when the accusation comes unprovoked, other than to cut down the achievements of the accused? If it's not to make the other person feel guilty, then what is the point of bringing it up?

I have a feeling you're going to say here something along the lines of "just to acknowledge its existence". Do we expect people on welfare to go thanking every taxpayer they see for the help they got? At what point is it enough to just be thankful and never have to get harassed about the help you got?

> if I see a computer illiterate person and assume that the reason for that is that they're inherently less intelligent than I

Who does this? I don't know that person. Could it be that we totally agree in principle and that I just never want the word "privilege" shoved in my face?

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -12 Points
  • 02:11:45, 4 January

Your point would have been valid if your assumptions held. It's not about world views or opinions. It is about discrimination, power balances, harassment, things like that. It's not an insult if you disagree with them, it's an insult if your opinion happens to be "your experience is worthless"/"I am better than you because I am privileged"/etc., even if you are not voicing that opinion directly, but try to sugar coat it.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 14 Points
  • 02:51:09, 4 January

What assumptions have I stated that do not hold?

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -12 Points
  • 11:06:21, 4 January

The assumption was "privilege is about world views or opinions", and it was implied, not stated.

I should have been more explicit about that.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 15 Points
  • 15:51:12, 4 January

You mentioned earlier that the existence of a gender pay gap provides evidence that male privilege exists. That's an opinion. There is considerable evidence to the effect that the pay gap (in the US) is not due to discrimination but to individual choice and other factors.[1][2]

However, you've framed the discussion in such a way that the mere mention of this idea is a "sugar coated" sexism. This is unproductive, and an impediment to civilized rational discussion of the gender pay gap.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -8 Points
  • 20:15:33, 6 January

I did not intend to frame the discussion in any way. Moreover, it was never about sexism. Privilege is not the same thing as discrimination (although members of an underprivileged group may very well face discrimination, sometimes even systematically). A pay gap can be an indication of both.

  • [-]
  • __j_random_hacker
  • 6 Points
  • 02:48:31, 5 January

> it's an insult if your opinion happens to be "your experience is worthless"/"I am better than you because I am privileged"

The irksome reality is that we all implicitly value our own experience, and the experiences of others similar to us, over the experiences of others who are sufficiently unlike us, so no expression of opinion is ever entirely free of this "I'm more important" undercurrent.

It's especially strong when the other's experience is a threat to our egos/identities, and any suggestion that we got to our comfortable position in life in large part because of things outside our control is such a threat. I think the point dr_gonzo is making is that this phenomenon is *symmetrical*. For those with good life outcomes, it's comforting to tell ourselves the story that we got there by our own hard work and determination alone. This is perceived as an affront by people whose life circumstances prevented this kind of success, because it implies that they just didn't try hard enough. When *they* start comforting themselves with stories about how their misery is due to external forces keeping them down, it's perceived as an affront by people who worked hard and succeeded -- it implies that their success is undeserved.

Obviously, life outcomes are a function of both internal and external factors. But people will forever disagree about the extent of each's contribution, because too much depends on it. As long as there's an alternative explanation that absolves us of guilt and shame for our outcome (whether positive or negative), we will reach for it. We resist ego death almost as strongly as physical death.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -6 Points
  • 20:29:40, 6 January

Good point. Interestingly, I do not experience things the same way. I feel no guilt for my privilege and do not feel they detract from my success or hard work. Maybe that is because I'm less privileged in some areas that meant I had to work hard for my success after all. This seems worthy of a discussion on its own.

  • [-]
  • __j_random_hacker
  • 1 Points
  • 04:32:22, 7 January

Thanks. Actually, I should have said "absolves us of guilt and shame, or allows us to feel pride" (pride being roughly the opposite of shame). I'm not accustomed to feeling guilt over my (considerable) privileges either -- instead I tend to feel resentment towards those who I believe are overstating their hardships. (Which is the convenient thing for me to believe of course -- it's even "true", in the sense that there undoubtedly exist some people for which this is an accurate description!)

  • [-]
  • azakai
  • 13 Points
  • 23:21:39, 3 January

The position you parodied is ridiculous of course, but like any complex topic, there are multiple legitimate positions, not just one.

  • [-]
  • notapi
  • -2 Points
  • 23:44:21, 3 January

It's not actually all that ridiculous. When people claim that women make the same amount of money as men, and any actual difference is caused by the free choices women make when it comes to jobs, they are using exactly that argument. The differences are considered to be entirely due to essential differences between men and women, and thus do not merit looking into. That's a fairly mainstream idea, and it's an example of my point.

A feminist will look at that from an entirely different perspective, one that includes the idea that women are subject to pressures that make certain choices more difficult to make, and not conclude that just because a choice is given to them at all that it means the playing field is equal.

When you're not even looking at the problem with the same starting assumptions, you can't have an argument about the problem itself. You can only debate the starting assumptions. Which, as I explained, can be very grating on the psyche of a social justice minded person.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 16 Points
  • 01:58:26, 4 January

> When people claim that women make the same amount of money as men, and any actual difference is caused by the free choices women make when it comes to jobs, they are using exactly that argument.

Is there something wrong with this belief?

  • [-]
  • Mx7f
  • -5 Points
  • 04:27:18, 4 January

> A feminist will look at that from an entirely different perspective, one that includes the idea that women are subject to pressures that make certain choices more difficult to make, and not conclude that just because a choice is given to them at all that it means the playing field is equal.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 15 Points
  • 04:30:48, 4 January

At what point do we hold people responsible for their decisions? Is peer or societal pressure always an acceptable excuse?

  • [-]
  • Mx7f
  • 1 Points
  • 04:39:15, 4 January

False dichotomy. You can hold people responsible for their decisions while acknowledging fundamental problems in society that lead to inequality.

For example, it is not incongruous at all to say that childhood abuse is a real problem, and yet still jail a serial killer who was hit by his dad when he was young.

  • [-]
  • CaptainObviousMC
  • 10 Points
  • 04:49:59, 4 January

> You can hold people responsible for their decisions while acknowledging fundamental problems in society that lead to inequality.

The question is if there is a fundamental problem causing this, or some merely statistical quirk of brain chemistry of men versus women.

There appears to be some preference of women to have families around then; why is it a problem women want to have children? Having a child is a choice with consequences; why should we free people who are voluntarily embarking on that from the consequences?

To show that there's a problem, you'd have to show that something besides a mere preference trend to have children around then, ie, some undue societal influence, was responsible for the trend.

Trying to get every statistic to pop up exactly "50/50" is absurd if people are voluntarily making different life choices.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • -3 Points
  • 04:45:17, 4 January

So do we say that serial killers hit by their parents should continue to be jailed, or do we start forgiving them because of it? Do we say that women should start accepting responsibility for their income, or say they are forever absolved?

Further, when we discuss child abuse, we don't need to explore the ramifications far down the road to say it's wrong. We don't say child abuse should be prohibited because it might make serial killers. Why is income the driving issue for discussing cultural treatment of young girls?

  • [-]
  • ldne
  • 8 Points
  • 04:49:24, 4 January

A realist looks at it and says "wow, people who dedicate more of their life to work and ask for more money get it, what a surprise".

  • [-]
  • AyeGill
  • -3 Points
  • 14:18:06, 4 January

A non-chauvenistic realist then look at it and says, "Wow, women are dedicating less of their lives to work and not asking as much for more money. Maybe there's something worth looking into, there

  • [-]
  • ldne
  • 5 Points
  • 01:07:32, 5 January

Hoohheehe that's funny. I'm not chauvenistic at all. Businesses exist to make money, not to cater to their employees, and you are going to see a decline in men's salaries in the next decade or so, too, because more and more men, especially young men, are caring more about their personal lives than a career. You'll see it really show up in the next generation or two that come into the workforce, my 21 year old is a prime example. Goes to work everyday and does his job and collects his check, but has zero ambition to do more than keep himself in entertainment materials and fast food. Averages are just that, averages, and as the die-hard all career type A-personalities give way to the "it's all good" mindset the average wages will drop further.

  • [-]
  • AlyoshaV
  • -17 Points
  • 07:05:54, 4 January

Multiple studies have found that even when controlling for everything possible (hours worked, job choice, etc) there is still a significant portion of the pay gap present.

So, yes, there is something wrong with that belief. Namely that it's wrong.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 13 Points
  • 07:11:31, 4 January

I'm sorry, what studies? The infographic sourced several resources (including the government) to claim otherwise.

Edit: Here's some more information, easily consumed.

  • [-]
  • AlyoshaV
  • -10 Points
  • 07:36:48, 4 January

>The infographic sourced several resources (including the government)

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120110.htm

Which says that women earn 81% of what men earn. This is perhaps not the strongest source for your claim.

Their second source is their own website, which is not going to be accurate as it is self-selecting (people choose to go there and submit their pay)

The third source is an op-ed about the declining birthrate and its sole mention of the gender pay gap is "we need to ensure that women at all levels are paid fairly so that they can afford families at the time that is right for them."

A libertarian video is certainly not going to convince me that the gender pay gap does not exist or is the fault of women.


Eurostat says the EU's gender pay gap is averaging 16.4%. Eurostat is a directorate of the EU.

Page 9 of this US Senate report discusses the pay gap in the US, and mentions this GAO report, which shows that even when controlling for many variables there is still a significant pay gap. That Senate report discusses quite a few other things as well.

  • [-]
  • therealjohnfreeman
  • 12 Points
  • 08:11:50, 4 January

> http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120110.htm

This is a short blog post that doesn't control for education, experience, or occupation.


> this GAO report

From that report:

> Some of the unexplained differences in pay seen here could be explained by factors for which we lacked data or are difficult to measure, such as level of managerial responsibility, field of study, years of experience, or discriminatory practices, all of which may affect earnings. Our analysis neither confirms nor refutes the presence of discriminatory practices.


> this US Senate report

If you won't watch a "libertarian" video, why should I read this report? I don't think it features a single testimony from a dissenting voice. Regardless, I think I spent more time reading it than you did watching the video.

Page 9 neglects to control for many factors in the statistics reported, and instead chooses to lift soundbites from the GAO report and the Census.

More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • GrooveTherapy
  • 2 Points
  • 06:41:03, 6 January

Props for posting some real sources...Usually I can never get real comprehensive information on a topic like this. Disregard the downvotes.

Something I'm wondering though:

> How is the gender pay gap measured? > At EU level, the gender pay gap is defined as the relative difference in the average gross hourly earnings of women and men within the economy as a whole.

To get an accurate of the gender pay gap, don't we need to control for position, experience and education? If there is a pay difference between two engineers with the same experience and credentials with one female and one male, then sexual discrimination is a pretty good explanation as to why. But with such a high level comparison, something like that is undetectable. Do you have a handle on any figures or stats that controls for some of those variables more closely? Genuinely curious about this.

  • [-]
  • azakai
  • 13 Points
  • 00:06:45, 4 January

You seem to assume there is one kind of feminist and one kind of non-feminist opinion. First, there aren't just two sides here (feminist and non-feminist). Second, even in those two groups of positions, there is a lot of variety of opinion.

Some of the differences in opinion involve different basic assumptions of course, but that is always the case with a complex topic, it doesn't mean we can't debate it respectfully.

To see any form of debate on a complex topic as illegitimate and insulting - which seems to be what you imply? I could be wrong - is something I don't agree to. I'm not saying all positions are right or valid, we might agree on some of those. But saying we can't or shouldn't debate is an example of a position I would say is wrong.

  • [-]
  • notapi
  • -1 Points
  • 00:20:52, 4 January

When the debate in question derails into "men are programmers more often because women are inherently bad at programming" it's insulting to me personally, yes. That happens enough times, and you begin to associate the debate over privilege with a debate over your own inherent worth. And what's worse is that it also goes in the other direction. People think that a discussion of privilege makes them the bad guy on either side of the table. It sucks, and it does poison the well, so to speak.

Tldr; there are many valid opinions, but when you feel insulted pretty much 90 percent of the time by one side of the debate, it makes the issue itself difficult to debate without getting angry.

  • [-]
  • azakai
  • 12 Points
  • 00:30:24, 4 January

> When the debate in question derails into "men are programmers more often because women are inherently bad at programming" it's insulting to me personally, yes.

Yeah, that is definitely an insulting position (and also a factually wrong one).

I can understand that if the discussion is often derailed in a particular way, it makes you not want to start the discussion, because it seems like it might go the usual way.

But I don't think there are just 2 sides in this debate, and I think it's wrong to try to prevent debate by implying all views different from one specific one are illegitimate. (But again, definitely some views are illegitimate, like the insult you quoted.)

  • [-]
  • CaptainObviousMC
  • 7 Points
  • 03:33:20, 4 January

> "men are programmers more often because women are inherently bad at programming"

To be honest, I haven't seen a detailed enough study using control groups to know if that's true or not.

But I'm as leery of saying it isn't true as that it is; why does everyone accept astronomical physiological differences like penis versus vagina, but refuses to accept that there are any correlated brain structure ones?

I'm not trying to say specifically either way, and trends certainly don't tell you about a specific person, but I'm against the knee-jerk rejection of any trend along such lines.

  • [-]
  • therapy
  • 12 Points
  • 04:40:15, 4 January

Why are you assuming he was knee-jerk rejecting it?

  1. There is plenty of data showing for example that women have mathematical skills on par with men's. Women have better scores in math than men in high school, for example. There are few studies directly talking about "programming ability", but I'd wager whatever that is, it correlates very well with mathematical skill.

  2. There is literally no cognitive skill that one sex is much better than the other on. There are some slight differences in spatial and verbal skills, but they only show up in comparisons of large groups. So without large amounts of evidence, programming ability is very likely to be the same as all other cognitive skills.

But I do agree, we shouldn't knee-jerk reject anything. There are brain differences between the sexes. But the evidence does not support statements like "men are better at programming than women", period.

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  • [-]
  • azakai
  • 4 Points
  • 05:10:14, 4 January

No scientific hypothesis should be rejected out of hand. But this one has not been rejected thus, scientists have studied differences in IQ and other cognitive tests for many years. Some random links from a quick search,

http://www.livescience.com/20011-brain-cognition-gender-differences.html http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/07/16/women-beat-men-on-iq-tests-for-first-time/

I can't think of a study specifically about programming and nothing else, but as someone else commented, it would be shocking if programming skill were highly differentiated by gender but not mathematical or analytical skills (which are not).

More Comments - Not Stored
More Comments - Not Stored
  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -12 Points
  • 00:53:22, 4 January

> People can have legitimate and rational disagreements about what constitutes privilege, and it's implications.

I may be wrong, but I don't think that is the case. Privilege is measurable (for example, with pay gaps). If you can measure it, you can use that to force agreement between rational people (Aumann's agreement theorem, I think).

If we can't agree on a definition of privilege, it's pretty much impossible to discuss. (For example, if I have a definition of the word "green" that differs from your definition of it, we cannot reasonably discuss the greenness of anything.)

  • [-]
  • CaptainObviousMC
  • 16 Points
  • 03:29:08, 4 January

> If we can't agree on a definition of privilege, it's pretty much impossible to discuss.

> Privilege is measurable (for example, with pay gaps).

Notice how you didn't give a full description of how to measure it, which would have ended the argument?

You gave one example of something that you think qualifies; pointing out that you can measure pay gaps doesn't answer the question until you've pinned down that privilege is pay gaps.

So why don't you start off by explicitly defining privilege, in such a way that nothing is omitted, and we can test each piece?

Or maybe admit being able to test some facets doesn't remove all the room for reasonable discussion about what facets exist and what to do about them.

(As a side note: measuring pay gaps isn't trivial, because of lots of confounding factors, and a little bit of dumb luck. And so on that specific issue, even, there's room to disagree on what the measurements actually are.)

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -3 Points
  • 11:09:43, 4 January

While researching this, I realised I was wrong about being able to measure privilege. Sorry about the red herring.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 1 Points
  • 02:28:24, 4 January

> If we can't agree on a definition of privilege, it's pretty much impossible to discuss

I don't see how a lack of agreement about the definition or implications of privilege should prevent us from discussing "discrimination, feminism, poverty, democracy". Essentially, you're saying here, if we don't agree on what "privilege" means, we cannot hold a rational discussion about just about anything.

  • [-]
  • oursland
  • 3 Points
  • 06:52:49, 4 January

What do you expect to come out of a such a discussion? Happy feelings? Maybe a hug-off?

If you want to discuss X-ism without identifying quantitative factors, then you cannot possibly work to resolve issues. Nothing constructive can come of it, and the conversation is a far less valuable expenditure of time than pretty much anything else.

  • [-]
  • dr_gonzo
  • 3 Points
  • 14:03:47, 4 January

I'm all for quantitative factors. The problem here is that the concept of privilege is incredibly subjective and definitively not quantifiable.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -4 Points
  • 11:15:43, 4 January

Let me rephrase: if we try to stay away from the concept of privilege, it is virtually impossible to discuss power dynamics, and power dynamics tend to be very important in anything involving humans. If we don't stay away from privilege as a concept, but have no common accepted definition, the discussion will (in my experience) devolve into semantics.

  • [-]
  • bw2002
  • 1 Points
  • 15:16:32, 8 January

>If we can't agree on a definition of privilege, it's pretty much impossible to discuss.

TLDR: If we can't agree that men are bad bad people, how can I continue to berate you ?

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • 1 Points
  • 15:51:46, 8 January

Nobody is claiming men are bad, nobody is berating anyone (except me berating you for sticking your fingers in your ears and going "lalalalala").

TLDR: Robin said something I don't agree with, so I'm making fun of a straw man.

  • [-]
  • anonemouse2010
  • 6 Points
  • 01:17:10, 4 January

> I am a white man and have never faced racism or sexual discrimination.

Rightttttttttttttttttttttt.

  • [-]
  • blueflames
  • -1 Points
  • 04:45:28, 4 January

Yeah, the author seems to be subconsciously assuming or propagating white superiority. It's still racism if the skin color over weights other more relevant factors. Don't forget that holding power, in any country, is most likely to be immune to discrimination.

  • [-]
  • IHeartAmber
  • 1 Points
  • 04:24:24, 4 January

Check your CPU-privilege?

  • [-]
  • actualeyes
  • -3 Points
  • 00:29:39, 4 January

That's okay I just assumed the original post was a vailed attempt at telling people about how awesome you are at programming. Is there a reddit for ego stroking because none of this shit has anything to do with the practice of programming.

  • [-]
  • okpmem
  • -3 Points
  • 20:01:05, 3 January

I had an interesting thought about taking advantage of your privilege. What if taking advantage of your privilege is the reason others are at a disadvantage. Imagine a game of musical chairs where some are really strong and fast, while others are weaker and frail. If the strong take advantage of their privilege, then obviously they will win the game. If some of the strong let the weaker win, then you help level the playing field. The weak will have the ADVANTAGE of winning sometimes. Some would say "That is the point of playing the game! to see who is better!". I would respond with another question "Is life a game where we see who is better?". In the case of musical chairs, it tests your speed and strength. What does the "economic" game test as we have it now, capitalism with some competition? And are the traits it tests for something we want to encourage?

  • [-]
  • PaintItPurple
  • 8 Points
  • 20:39:18, 3 January

I'm not sure that's quite a realistic way to look at it. Musical chairs is a zero-sum game; life and capitalism are not. It is possible for two people to both win in life (e.g. there are two pizza places within walking distance from my home, and their owners are both quite happy), while in musical chairs, one person's victory is always another person's loss.

  • [-]
  • okpmem
  • -4 Points
  • 23:28:16, 3 January

At any moment, it is a zero sum game. While progress is made over time. We can argue about what that time slice is.

  • [-]
  • PaintItPurple
  • 8 Points
  • 23:41:47, 3 January

I don't think so. There are some small subsections of life that are zero-sum (e.g. in our culture, only one person at a time is going to get to marry Mila Kunis), but overall, our ability to create means that life and even business is not strictly competitive. Say my girlfriend can take $5 of cloth and turn it into a cool $35 item — she just created $30 of value from nothing but her time and talent.

As programmers, we should be even more in touch with this, because we don't even need the $5 of materials. Our brains can literally just "poof" value out of thin air without necessarily taking anything from anyone. For most of us, our employers capture the lion's share of this value, but don't forget that that is what they are paying you to do.

  • [-]
  • okpmem
  • -5 Points
  • 00:24:48, 4 January

Yeah, but that is 30 dollars the other person could have spent to buy an apple. In fact perfect market competition would force your girlfriend to sell the shirt at no profit, maybe enough for her not to starve.... The reason there is profit is because markets are imperfect and less than efficient. At any given moment there are x resources and y demand. Typically y is greater than x. Or another example, the amount of debt owed is more than the amount of money that exists. The only reason the musical chairs game keeps going is because the amount of chairs grows. In this most fundamental sense, it is a zero sum game. For the more you take the less another has.

  • [-]
  • sophacles
  • 0 Points
  • 20:38:11, 3 January

A different take: some privilege you can't choose to take advantage of or not. It just exists. For example: the fact that drugs like pot are used at roughly equal rates amongst all races, yet people of color are far more targeted in arrests for this drug, suggests a privilege that "white people aren't criminals". Making arrests, random checks, etc for this match population statistics seems like a good goal - and is any group actually harmed by this? Sure, some law breakers are now more likely to get caught, but somehow it gets turned into "soft on crime" or "white guilt" accusations, rather than a suggestion that we actually enforce the laws for all who are subject to them.

(Note - this example is no meant to suggest my stance on pot being legal or not, just an example where enforcement of a law is done in a way granting one group of law-breakers a privilege over another).

  • [-]
  • okpmem
  • 2 Points
  • 23:29:31, 3 January

Now this is a great point. I guess what white people can do is smoke pot in mass out in public to bring attention to this problem... For example

  • [-]
  • mantra
  • 0 Points
  • 20:05:41, 3 January

This is why privilege often includes early training to "give back" in some way.

  • [-]
  • okpmem
  • -7 Points
  • 20:14:04, 3 January

you mean charity? Something a little radical might be: Let us change the game so that being a white male isn't a privilege. Or another way, is it possible to make charity obsolete? And if so, what are the implications.

  • [-]
  • niggertown
  • -15 Points
  • 00:49:27, 4 January

Unless it's 'White Privilege.' Then yes, everything you have is because you are white, not because you are capable and better than everyone else.

  • [-]
  • robin-gvx
  • -2 Points
  • 14:46:44, 7 January

Do you think privilege is off topic on /r/programming but still like to discuss it? I created a spin-off topic on /r/Programmers (which was pretty dead before I found it). Join if you like.