Found 3 comments on HN
timwis · 2019-04-14 · Original thread
Hi everyone! Just a friendly reminder that as a community of largely white, highly educated, [male]( [millennials](, we have some blindspots: areas we cannot see that we do not know we cannot see.

When we read an article like this, it's natural to put yourself in the shoes of the people it's about, and imagine if you'd have reacted the same way. As empathetic as we may each feel we are, this process still involves projecting a magnitude of assumptions about the other person's experience which we simply cannot know. We naturally assume that people experience life _generally_ the same way we do: sure, their circumstances may be different, but we're all equal and we all make choices basically the same way.

But it isn't true. We each see the world through a series of lenses, and it's not really possible to remove those lenses. The best we can do is be aware of the lenses, and that other people have different lenses.

I'm not suggesting this article is right or wrong; just that those of us who feel very strongly about it in one direction or the other should, perhaps, acknowledge that theirs is not the _only_ legitimate perspective.

If you're interested in learning more about lenses, privilege, and why we often feel defencive when confronted by it, I highly recommend [this book](

wpietri · 2018-12-07 · Original thread
That's a non-apology apology. [1] You have avoided actually admitting that you were being rude. If you'd like people to think your apologies sincere, you have to recognize your bad behavior, not just put it on somebody else's interpretation.

Second, I never said he was racist -- that's your interpretation. I specifically avoided that term because when white people are experiencing white fragility [1], which is certain to happen in a large group discussion like this, then they immediately cast any incident in into the common post-Civil-Rights-era frame of "racist=bad person" and start defending their fellow white person, who surely must be good. What I talked about was unconscious racial bias.

Third, your demanding "proof" is unreasonable. What would count? Should I have fMRI scans done of the person's brain under various stimuli? Even that wouldn't be enough; you could argue he might harbor racial bias, but that it wasn't active at the time he grilled my intern. I just looked at the last few pages of your comments here, and you have offered all sorts of reasonable opinions without ever giving a bit of proof. You are bringing up a standard that couldn't possibly apply and that you don't hew to yourself. You might ask yourself why.

Fourth, I included evidence. First, there was the testimony of the one witness who, even though he's still in college, has had to become an expert in America's still pervasive and demonstrable white bias against black people. Second, there was my testimony as to the nature of the environment and the rareness of an event like this. Third, as I mentioned, I talked about this with my boss. In all of our judgments, under the preponderance of the evidence, this was an unconscious racial bias incident. Nobody at the company thought otherwise, including HR and the black employee group, who deal with this sort of thing regularly at that company.

Fifth, it's not my job to prove anything to internet randos. It's your job to understand America's racial dynamics and how this fits in before commenting. I told this story knowing full well that I'd get salty replies from people who would react with instant denial to any description of a bias incident caused by someone like them (a well-meaning white tech dude). Why would they do that? Well, if you have studied American racial dynamics, you'll already know the answer to that. And if you haven't, I recommend that you read one or two of the four books I've already recommended in this discussion. You'll learn something.



wpietri · 2018-12-07 · Original thread
This is an excellent point, and one I recently heard explained thoroughly by Robin DiAngelo:

It was a smart and funny talk, and I'm now looking forward to reading her book:

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