Friday, March 11, 2016

A thought from a "person of paleness"

In this article, the author contends that as a "person of color" she stands out in Silicon Valley.

That is a strange contention: "person of color" is generally supposed to denote all nonwhites. But if she is using the phrase in that sense, her contention is complete nonsense: The tech world is awash in programmers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. They are certainly represented in high tech jobs at a rate far above the percentage of the US population those ethnicities represent.

I think what she means is that as a black person, she is a relative rarity in a high-tech company. So we might contemplate what polemical purpose is being achieved by using such a misleading phrase.

(And by the way, the article itself is pretty good: the woman notes that she has encountered very little actual racism in her career. She herself may have used the phrase almost without thinking about it, but I am suggesting we consider why the phrase was ever created.)

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