On the fallacy of an even playing field
I saw this tweet early in the AM, and well I had things to say. Because not much else gets me riled up like the whining of the privileged about not getting their way, and diversity equaling a lowering of quality to give tokens a spot at the table. Cleaned up, edited for clarity and making sense tweet thread below.
He’s complaining as if white dudes don’t already get the lions share of speaking engagements at cons. Won’t someone think of them?! I went back and read his replies to people, the whole oh no now people are mad at me! I can’t express myself as a man. Spare me.
He’s pulling the usual quality argument. That as if a conference is choosing speakers, they aren’t seeing the best. That’s the diversity hire false equivalence argument. Who really goes around thinking conferences will put just anybody on stage for these supposed quotas? Giving other people a fair shot at speaking at events isn’t a damn quota. It’s called being fair. It’s called opening the door for others when you’ve already been on stage.
Miss me with this quota bullshit. That’s insulting to people chosen to speak instead of you. They are qualified, probably 3X as much. Why? Because black women, men, NB have to be 2X as good to be noticed & probably 3X as good to be asked to speak at events or on panels. Our expertise is always questioned. Our knowledge overlooked when we probably know more than white dude who’s been picked for the same panel.
It’s like there’s no clue that someone other than a white dude can be just as or -dare I say it- MORE qualified than him to speak on TOPIC. I’m also having a hard time believing anyone actually told him no to a speaking engagement because he’s a white dude. That whole thread is entitlement whining. I’m important, my opinions are quality over those other people! Why not me!
Yeah ok. The core of his weak sauce argument is supposedly getting quality speakers over any old diversity quota pick. Except it’s not that at all. I volunteer for several conventions as part of programming. The people picking sessions & speakers. So I’m not pulling this out of thin air. No event is going to just choose anyone cause they fit diversity check-boxes if they aren’t a good speaker or don’t know their shit.
Know why? Because sessions & panels are the core of these events. If they aren’t good? People don’t come back, event dies, the end. What’s happening is that event organizers finally figured out they weren’t doing right by non-straight, white cis dude attendees & speakers. They may be reaching out to get more diverse speakers but I can guarantee it’s not a sacrifice of quality. It’s not cutting out white dudes. I deal with this shit in gaming. I see the false equivalence squad with their but, but quality arguments.
One more time for the back row… Diversifying your event/staff/speaker roster is not sacrificing quality! That idea is so patently wrong it makes me see red every time. Hell more viewpoints, life experiences often enrich the panel or talk. It makes people think beyond themselves & what they think is true. I get “I never thought of X, or I never realized that way of thinking about it!” After panels & talks. Consider that a moment.
If you replicate the same old status quo, boundaries are not pushed. New ways of seeing a topic don’t happen. You get stale, it’s how things never change. So I hope this dude has tweeted himself out of speaking engagements for a long time. We’ve got enough like him.