Thank you for putting words on the way I feel! Your article is very inspiring. In many ways I compare our today’s privileges to old monarchies: we were born blue-blooded, on the lucky side of the fence.
Many will argue that it’s always possible to climb the social ladder. It surely is. But it was also possible to be born a villein and be knighted, it’s just extremly hard and unlikely. I have deep respect for people who are able to achieve a lot in their lives despite the odds. But a few examples of “successful” people coming from underprivileged backgrounds will never make up for the reality of the many struggling while we play with our 6 figures salaries as white privileged men in tech.
Will I abandon my privileges? No, I’ll continue to use my time, money and legal rights as weapons to fight against inequalities of all kinds, not only in tech. You outlined mostly gender and racial inequalities, but let’s not forget that the simple fact that we were born in a wealthy country, possibly providing free education & healthcare (I was born in France), free from wars, probably with supportive families, at a rich time in history, with intellectual interests that lead us to be passionate about a field where money is easily earnt, in an environment that is not (yet) demolished, and I’ll even add that we were born as a lucky species (namely the only one having basic rights, comfort and safety).
One thing where I disagree a little with you, Carl, is about beating ourselves up for it. I don’t think that being privileged makes us guilty. But what I feel quilty of is to bask in luxury, material comfort, and pure intellectual satisfaction when we owe a huge part of this to luck. Being lucky isn’t a sin, but I believe doing nothing to give back and repair the injustice we’ve benefited from is the actual evil. At least that’s the way I feel. And surely, as you said, enjoying our privileges and “doing nothing wrong” isn’t nearly enough.