On professionalism and bigotry

Recently, at a Ruby conference, there was a presentation that was none too considerate to women in our trade. Much has been said and written about this incident. The most troubling aspects are that (1) the presenter (who I shall not name so as to continue to give him undeserved hits on his blog) continues to rationalize his offense as a non-offense and (2) that some “leaders” in our community, DHH among them, are telling us that we need to grow up and accept that this is the way of things.

I have written several twitters on this matter over the past week but it was Nick Sieger’s call to arms that finally convinced me to make myself heard more publicly. That and this reminder of a discussion that I had with Bryan Liles while at Ruby DCamp last year.

As a Jew, I learned early in life that evil must be met with action and wisdom. When ignored, evil grows a little stronger, encouraged by its new found boundaries. Ignorance and bigotry are evils. It is the obligation of every individual to nonviolently confront these evils, in their many forms, wherever they should appear.

However, DHH, and others, have made it de rigeur in at least the Rails community to be a profane insensitive hipster.

What is society? Among other things, it is an unspoken contract among people to live and let live. Yes, we all have the right to say or do as we please. However, in so doing, there are consequences. In society, when the peace is disturbed, justice is meted out by society. However, DHH’s cavalier attitude toward civility stands in direct opposition to society: a great big…

When those who would presume to be our leaders attempt to lead us down the wrong path, it is our responsibility to pick the right path despite them and find new leaders.

How do we get better? Simple: be professional, be sincere within reason yet polite, and, for crying out loud, have a care for the other guy.

Do not be casually indifferent to ignorance and bigotry.

Do not support ignorant or bigoted perspectives.

Ignore our “leaders”. You have a right to be offended.

Posted by evan on Thursday, April 30, 2009

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