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Lending Privilege - Anjuan Simmons - NDC Oslo 2021


Diversity and inclusion have become hot topics in technology, but you may not know how you can make a difference. However, this talk will help you understand that, no matter your background, you have privilege and can lend it to underrepresented groups in tech.
Privilege is access to societal and economic benefits based on characteristics you possess. The most well understood forms of privilege are birth privileges like racial, gender, and physical privilege, but there are also selected privileges like religion, education, and career.
This session will teach attendees how to lend their privilege to their fellow technologists. They will learn the various types of privilege lending including credibility lending (where you provide visibility to someone without privilege), access lending (where you provide access to someone without privilege), and expertise lending (where you provide a voice to someone without privilege). These different types of privilege lending will be illustrated through well known examples and an explanation of how they can be applied to the technology industry.
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All right. Let's go ahead and get started. For the sake of time, I'm going to dive in. My name is Annoan Simmons. I am from Houston, Texas, in the United States. And I want to thank all of you for coming to my talk. I know there's lots of talks on this track, and then you could have gone onto any of them when you come to mind. So I really appreciate that. And I just want to say that I almost did not get into the country, and it was a bit touch and go. The United States has a CDC, which is our health center, basically, and Norway does not accept the CDC card from America. So I had to go through a few Hoops, but I'm here happy to be here. I kind of walked around thank you Norway or Oslo a little bit. And I went to Royal Palace, and I thought, that's a nice building. And it reminded me that we don't have a monarchy in America, and monarchies are kind of cool because most of our presidents are really boring. I mean, we have a couple of interesting presidents. Our current one's really boring. And I like boring presidents, so I really feel good about that. All right. So welcome to Lending Privilege. And this is a talk that I'm usually brought in to talk about inclusion and diversity. I'm going to talk about that as we go through this talk. But a reason that a lot of conferences and some corporations and some College campuses bring me in is because they are asking what can we do to be more inclusive, or what can we do to get better policies, to get better practices to become more diverse? And those are good questions, but they're not really the right question, because what most companies, most people should be asking is what are we going to do when inclusion gets here? Because inclusion is coming. It's happening. It's on its way. And we work in an industry, technology and software development, that has unfortunately only recently began to open up a little bit. At a conference like this 110 years ago, we would not have had nearly as many women as we have here. I want to thank all the women for being here. Hopefully, you're finding this to be a very welcoming event. But that was not the case even ten years ago because our industry was not as welcoming to women or to people of color or to gay people as it is right now. So while we've made advances in our inclusion and our openness, we still have a long way to go. And as a person of color, I know that I've had to balance coming into an industry that has historically excluded me and balancing my career aspirations. So I'm always having to fight these two things, what I want to do with my career, but also realizing that I don't see a lot of people who look like me in software development. But this balancing act, it isn't new. Underrepresented groups have had to for decades deal with all of the stress of trying to push into an industry that has not made space for us. And that's just part of the experience of being a minority. And we had to go to boycotts and go to our government agencies, sometimes taken to the streets to get basic rights and to get some sense of equality. And the struggle, however, it really isn't new, right? It isn't something that just started happening 1020 years ago. In fact, a few years ago, actually, a couple of decades ago, there was a television show that was actually really popular. It became popular later, but when it first aired, it was popular. And one of the actors on the TV show found out something that disturbed him. He found out that an actress on the show who was as popular as he was, who was as important to the story as he was, was not getting paid as much as he was. Right. So this female actress was getting paid a lot less than the male actors. And so this actor decided, I'm going to do something about this. And so he went to the studio executives, the people who created the show, and he knew because he had a lot of influence, that he had some leverage, and he used his leverage to negotiate better pay for this actress. And guess what? It worked. He was able to allow this actress to get paid. What he was making the television show was Star Trek. The actor was Leonard Nemo, who of course, plays Fox. And the actress was Nichelle Nichols, who played, Uhura, that's right. Leonard Nimoy was done with equal pay for equal work way before it was cold. And what I love about Litter Nemo, what I love that he did is that he lent her his privilege, his gender privilege as a male actor, but also his influence, privilege with the fans. And by doing that, he was able to further her position in her career. And Michelle Nicholls went on to other shows after that, none as big as Star Trek. But I'm sure that that action by Ludicrous Nemoy gave her a little bit of experience negotiating her salary. And that's what leadership does. If you're a manager, if you're a leader of people, if you're an engineering manager, then we should do things that help the people we leave be better even when they leave our leadership, even when they leave our teams. And I think that is so important that we get into ways and we think about how can we make our industry more inclusive because technology is becoming even more powerful. Some of you are working on really high grade stuff. I know with AI and machine learning, we're creating things that are going to be super powerful. But the drawback is that we're seeing even now that a lot of the human biases that we have and have had for centuries. We're baking into our AI, we're seeing how artificial intelligences are being used to do legal cases, and we're seeing biases encoded into those languages, those technologies. Because if we don't become more inclusive, we don't bring more people and perspectives to our technologies. We run the risk of incubating and really making permanent our own human limitations into technologies. And that's why I think that this work is so, so important. Now notice that Leno Nemo did not do a few things right. He did not go to the studio executives and say we need to create a diversity program. He didn't go and say we need to create some salary review process. Now, litter Nemo simply acted based on what he thought was right. And I see a few littered Nemos in the audience watching me right now. And I think we need to deploy more littered Nemos throughout our industry who are going to use our privilege to advance people who are less privileged than we are. And I'm going to talk about that in a few more minutes. Now, what I love about leader New Moore is that he was not only a star on the show that was ahead of his time. He was ahead of his time. Because there's plenty of research that makes the business case for inclusion and diversity. Right. At this point, it should be very clear that companies that are diverse when it comes to gender and when it comes to race and other measures, when we're representative and the people who work at the company, those companies almost always outperform the others that don't. Right. Diverse companies are more profitable. They have higher revenues. They have all these great business outcomes that companies that aren't diverse lack. So from a business perspective, it makes sense. But I want to be clear that while the business case for inclusion and diversity is clear, it has to be more than that. We have to be involved in this work because we all should want to live in a world of justice. I don't know about you, but I want to live in a world of justice. I think we've seen enough injustice in the world to want to try to get as much of it out of our world as we can. So in a lot of ways, this work is justice work. This work is work where we want anyone who has talent, no matter how that person is packaged, can come into our industry and make contributions. That's the work that we hopefully are all involved in here. Now, I've been saying diversity and inclusion, and I've been using them interchangeably, but they are really different. Right. So let me give you a quick example. So let's say you're throwing a party, right? We're in Australia, people know how to party. Right. From what I understand. Right. We know how to party. And so I'm sure you know what a party is. So you're having a party and you have to invite people to your party. And so you determine, well, who's going to come to my party. You invite might some people that you went to University with. You might invite some people who you work with, or you might invite some people from your family, but you get your guest list and you invite them to the party. Right. That's diversity. Diversity is inviting people to come in to your party. Inclusion, however, goes further than diversity. Inclusion means that we understand that people have had different journeys to get to a party. Some people came a long way or I came all the way from Texas to Norway. And so you're a little bit more welcoming to those people because you know that they had a longer journey. Inclusion means that you know that certain guests don't drink alcohol. So you make sure that you have non alcoholic options at your party. Inclusion means that you know that certain people have favorite songs. So you make sure that you play those songs over the loudspeaker at your party. Right. Inclusion means that we're helping people of different backgrounds come in and feel comfortable at your event because inclusion requires empathy. Diversity. You just need a stamp. And so I want to make sure that we understand that difference. And I think that while companies can do a lot of work and I'm sure that you've seen diversity programs at your companies for inclusion, we really need people, right? We need people like all of you to do this. And so this is really a people movement. And in many ways, this is a grassroots movement. And the benefit of being an open source is that we understand grassroots movements because open source was a grassroots movement. How many people work in open source? You can ship it to repository, right? And so open source at this point is just part of work. Almost all of us work in languages that are open source. But what we have to remember is that when open source started as a movement, this is like decades ago. It was really controversial. I'm in my late 40s, so I'm dating myself. Some of you are a lot younger. I see a few people who may have remembered this time, but open source was seen as a threat to a lot of the established companies. But when the movement started happening, there was a book called The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Has anyone heard of this book before? Okay, a few people. Right. So Eric as Raymond wrote this book because he saw Linux becoming a thing, and he realized that Linux was becoming the strong force in software development. Again, this is early on. Most of us have Linux in our pockets or on our wrist. But this was this funky idea that we're going to have a kernel that we're going to let all these people work on and that it can become a viable operating system. Right. And it worked. Linux became an operating system. Now when I first used Linux, like adding a printer was difficult, and it was really Rocky. It's a lot easier now, but it was a functional operating system that was made by a crowd of people. And what Eric Sraman. Did is that he compared the top down centralized power system of companies like Microsoft or Apple to the Cathedral. Right. Where power is centralized and you only keep people in who you select to come in. But open source is like the Bazaar, which was this babbling, boisterous, often loud assembly of people that were involved in making software. And he makes the case in the book that the open source approach has so many more benefits than the closed source way. Right. And so, again, all of this is very known now, but at the time, it was something that was very dangerous or as soon as being very dangerous. In fact, one of the CEOs of a really well known company called it a cancer. Right. I know some of you may know who I'm talking about now. That company has come a long way in the meantime, and they're actually very embracing. But it wasn't that way in the beginning. Now, one of the quotes from the book that most people know is this one. And that is given enough eyeballs. All bugs are shallow. Right. And I like that idea. And the more formalized version of this is this or I'm going to read it giving a large enough beta tester and code developer base. Almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone. Now, this is, again, decades old language. We don't use these words. And Eric, as Raymond is, who's still alive, by the way, would probably disagree with me. But what he was saying, though he may not have known it, is that this is a statement of inclusion. What he's saying is that if we can bring enough people into our code base to work on it, then there's really no problem that we can't solve. Right. We had to bring people in to get enough people who can see problems that may not be obvious to the people who were there before, but they can come in with fresh eyes and see problems that we've ignored for a long time. Right. That's the power of inclusion, which I think is a lot of the power of open source. But the challenges is that we often have protected repositories and we have protected cultures that keep people without privilege from coming in. And that's why I think that this talk is so important, because no matter what problems you're having at your companies, every company has problems. One of the benefits of being a speaker is that I've gone over the world and I've talked to people who have worked at Facebook and Netflix and Instagram and every company, even startups, all the problems are basically the same, right? We have too much technical debt or we can't move fast enough. Do you have those problems at your company? Have you heard of those? Everyone has those problems, right. And so they're all really common. But no matter what problems that you have, there's someone out there who can help to solve your problems. But the challenge is that often they're denied entry because they lack privilege, because they don't look like the people who may have founded the company, or they don't look like the first ten engineers who were hired to be in that company. And again, we're keeping out innovation, we're keeping out problem solving. We're keeping out all those eyeballs that we need to really make sure that we have enough brain power to solve our problems. And I think that before I get into lending privilege, I want to be very clear about what privileges. I know you've probably heard the term privilege and how you have different types of privilege, and you might think, well, what does that mean? Well, let me tell you what privilege is not privilege does not mean that everything has been easy. If you have privilege, it doesn't mean that you've had everything given to you on a silver platter. Right. But in many ways, it's almost like riding a bicycle, right? You're riding a bicycle up a Hill, you're pedaling fast, and maybe you're getting a cramp in your leg. It's hot outside, so you're sweating, you're trying to get up that Hill. But there are other people who are also trying to get up that heel. But there's obstacles that they go through, and there are obstacles that you may not even be aware of, but they're trying to get up that Hill. And not only do you not have to worry about those obstacles, you have a lot of benefits as well. For example, having privilege means that you may have the benefit of not wondering if you're driving a car and you see a police officer behind you that, wow, maybe this might be my last car ride ever because of the color of my skin. Or maybe you're out at a bar with someone you're dating and a coworker may happen to see you. You don't have to worry about or maybe they'll think differently of me because this person is the same gender that I am. It also has the benefit of not worrying about your clothing in the morning. And I've had many women in software development share with me that so many times in the morning they're just changing their clothes so many times because they have to be so careful about how they dress. Right. Because there's some horrible people who may look at them differently simply because of how they're dressed. Right. I'm a male, so if I'm not naked, I'm good. It's so much easier as men so much often. But we put this burden on women for some reason, and it just boggles the mind. And in many ways, when a woman works in technology, when they're hired, they have to do two jobs, right? They have to do the job that they were hired to do. And they had to fight all the horrible stereotypes. It's almost 2022, and these stereotypes still persist. And it's wild. And I really think we should get rid of that second job and just empower women to do whatever they were, maybe react front end developer or a PHP developer in the back end of DBA. We should unburden them from these horrible stereotypes that unfortunately have been baked into our culture. And I think that's why I'm really passionate about this talk. We have to be able to make this industry more inclusive and less burdensome to the people who are trying to come in. And I think that lending privilege is really powerful in a way to do that. All right? So that's what privilege is, not what is privilege, right? Simply put, privilege is access to benefits based on traits that you possess. And those benefits could be accessed to good schools where you live. It could be accessed to generational wealth. It could be access to people who are connected like politicians. It could be access to even getting certain jobs. Right. That's what privilege is. It's accessed based on traits that you possess. All right. So there are two types of privilege, generally speaking. Right? But before I go into that, there's a point I want to make about privilege, because in many ways, one thing about having privilege is that we see when people have privilege that we don't have, but we don't see where we have more privileged than others. Right. So let me give you an example. This is what I call the airplane effect. And what that means is I think everyone here has fallen on an airplane, right? I think so, right. I know Kobe makes it different and weird, but I think people are flying again. But you all know the experience of getting onto an airplane. So let's say you're boarding a flight and you are in row 42, and you get on the plane and you walk past the first part of the plane. And you know what that is, right? That's business class, right? First class. And so you're walking past first class business class. And you're like, wow. And I know on my flight I saw these basically couches in business class that laid back. And so you could sleep on this eight hour flight, and they get all the best beverages. And people say, May I take your coat? And like, it's amazing, right? But I'm not in a business class. I'm walking all the way to roll 42, like in the slums of the airplane. Right. Where it's just like I'm way in the back and I see all these people that I'm walking past. You seem to have it so much better than I'm questioning my life decisions at this point. Walking the role 42 but wait a minute. What about all the people behind you who would love to be in row 42? But I don't see them. Right. Because they're in the part of the plane where the bathrooms aren't cleaned very often and it's really not that great. And when the snack tray gets to them, like all the best snacks are gone. Right. They're behind me. But that's how privilege works. We don't really see our privilege and we only see people who have more privilege than we do. And I really think that we should do that. That we should do more than that and begin to see other people who are less privileged than we are. Because I really think that if we can begin to lend privilege, then we can give everyone access to all of the riches of our industry. And I really think that that's really important. All right, again, two categories of privilege. Right? There's birth privilege. Right. And that's what the two people who made you and everyone here, two people were involved in making you. If that's not true, let me know. I want to talk to you after my talk. But there are two people who made you and they gave you through genetic contributions, things that determine your gender and in general, your height and in general, how you're able to walk around. Right. That's what I call birth privilege. But then there's what I call selected privileges. And those are things that we get as we grow. Right. So you get an education, maybe you learn to speak different languages, maybe you get a job. And so this is what I call your portfolio of privileges. And so I have a couple of examples here of both selected privileges and birth privileges. And so this is kind of the interactive part of my talk. Everyone should look up and then see what privileges do you have? Right. Some of you may have all of these, but I'm sure that everyone in here has at least one. Now look up here and then get a sense of which ones do you think that you have? And I think about your career and software development. How different would your career be without your gender privilege if you were born in a different gender or your racial privilege or going to a great school or even without the ability to walk, maybe you're confined to a wheelchair? How different would your journey in software development be without your privileges? And then realize that there are people that you probably work with almost daily who don't have those privileges and they go throughout their careers at a significant disadvantage. And I really think that lending privilege can be a way to help those disadvantages at least be reduced and hopefully go away. Right. That's what this talk is all about. All right. So I'm going to talk about three types of lending privilege, and I'm going to use these women. They're real people. They're not like AI, but I'm giving them fake names. Right. So I'm going to go from left to right. Let's say there's B on the left, there's L in the middle, and Emma or M on the right. So B, L and M are these examples. And I'm going to just use them as ways I can illustrate lending privilege. All right, are you all ready? Okay, so the first type of privileged lending is what I call credibility lending, and that's providing visibility to people who lack privilege. And I've been very lucky to work with LGBTQ people in technology who are some of the brightest, most just insightful people that I've worked with. But often members of that community share with me that they don't really see themselves in technology. Again, it's getting better, but it's hard to see founders of startups and CEOs in the community again getting better but not there. And so there's a lack of feeling that they belong in our industry. Right. By the way, the same concept applies to people who are handicapped. And so we don't often see at companies like this people who use wheelchairs or have obvious physical disabilities. And so I am really into accessibility. I know if any of you work in accessibility and hopefully you're making your applications and software more accessible, because you really should do that, because if you don't die, at some point, you will become someone with a disability. Right. That's just part of aging. Right. If you're looking to live to be 90s or get into your 100s, your eyesight is going to change. Your hearing is going to change. Right. Your ability to walk is going to change. So we should be involved in accessibility because it's really an investment in the future version of ourselves. So if for no other reason than being selfish, we should all be into accessibility and really keen to make the world more accessible. So how does this work? So let me give you an example. This is an American show a few years ago, and you see Stephen Colbert on the left, who is talking to someone named Derek McKesson. Dorothy McKesson, at least in the States, is very well known black activist. But if you look at the picture, you see that Colbert is in the guest chair and Dereai is in the host chair. Right. Colbert switched places. And by doing that simple act, he allowed Doray to have the power of the platform of his show. Right. That is this type of lending privilege. Credibility lending. Right. Can this work at your company? Well, so this is me. And she was the person who got that feature over the line. Right. You've been working for months to get it done. You've fallen behind schedule. B was added to the project, got it done, and she did it in a time frame that no one thought was possible. But here's the challenge. Most of the leadership team of your company. They don't even know her name. Right. In fact, when she comes to work late at night, the security team thinks that she's part of the cleaning crew because only when people who come to clean the offices, that's the only time when they see people who look like her. Right. I've been through that. Right. Because often I don't look like the majority. So I must be either cleaning person or maybe even I don't belong in the building that I work at. Right. I've been stopped and asked, why are you here? I work here. Right. And that's something that a lot of people of color go through, unfortunately. So what can we do to lend privilege to be? Well, if you have access to the leadership team and a lot of you probably do, maybe you are a leader. But if you have access to the leadership team, why don't you invite Bee to present at a meeting? Right. Especially if it's about her work. And by doing that, by getting her involved in that meeting, you're putting her on the radar of the people who are decision makers at your company. Right. You're getting her close to the people who are power brokers in your organization. And it may seem small, but so many times the way that promotions work at companies, we promote who we see. Right. We promote who we know. And when people for no reason, that through no fault of their cells, they don't get the visibility and so often they don't get the promotions. And so that is a simple way that you can do this type of privileged lending. All right, let's go to the second type, access lending that's providing entry to people who lack privilege. And again, I'm sure that women in our industry often feel because there still is a lot of sexism in our industry, and it doesn't happen as often as it did ten years ago, but it's still here. And because of the sexism and the misogyny in our industry, often women feel that I have to exit this industry because it's so hard, it's so oppressive. And again, the data is clear that when we have gender parity at companies, company performance goes up. So we are robbing ourselves of better business outcomes because we don't treat women as well as we should. Right. And I really want to change that. I really want to change that. So what can we do? Well, I think that access lending can be a powerful way to do this. All right, here's the example. So the person on the left is Octavia Spencer, who's a very well known actress, at least in America. I think she may have been internationally played, but she is again an Academy Award winning actress. The woman on the right is Jessica Trestane, who is also a very well regarded actress. Well, a couple of years ago, they were cast for a movie to play roles, and they had worked together before, but Octavia was offered a penance of an offer for this movie. Right? I mean, she was being paid just way below her pay grade based on being an Academy Award winning actress. Well, when Jessica heard about this, she said, you know what? I'm going to make sure that you get paid. What? I get paid. And so Jessica went to the student executives very similar to Little Nemo, and she negotiated on activity of behalf. And she got an offer that was five times the initial offer. Right. That's how this type of lending privilege can work. You allow people access to rooms that are normally close to them so that you can help them get treated as well as you expect to be treated. Right. It's really powerful. All right. This is another example of this. And I realized that all of my examples were basically like American. And so I needed to be more inclusive in my own talk about inclusion. So I added this example recently. So you're getting like a fresh version of this talk. David Bowie, who I think everyone knows David Bowie. Right. All right. Very famous singer. And he was invited to talk to MTV. And this was an interview about his song let's Dance. Right. Let's Dance is a banger. It's a great song, but it was new at the time. So he's invited to talk about let's Dance. And David Bowie, out of the blue, turns to the person interviewing him, and he says, I've noticed that MTV, you don't play a lot of videos from black artists right now. He's there to talk about let's Dance. And he's bringing up this very controversial thing. And it was wild. And the interviewer kind of stumbled. Well, excuses, but that's what this type of privileged lending is. It's simply sometimes asking a question at an uncomfortable moment. But to get to a very important outcome, he was basically saying that we need to treat black artists as well as white artists. That's why I will always love David Bowie. How can it work at your companies? Well, like I said, this is Elle, and L is the person who, you know, she single handedly created your container strategy. Right. She worked and got darker images set up and got them running well, almost by herself. But you know what's weird is that when it's time to send people to conferences like this one, she's never considered. Right. She's never considered. She's just not even seen. So how can you lend her this type of privilege? Well, if you have budget to send people to conferences, why don't you look for people who don't look like the people who usually go look at who usually goes and think, are there people who lack privilege who are doing great work and send them to that Docker conference, maybe Kubernetes or whatever? And by doing that, you help them. See, I have a place in this industry. My company thought enough of me to send me to this conference. And not only will you help enrich her career, but you will enrich those conferences. Right. Conferences like this are better when they're diverse, when we had different perspectives, different backgrounds. Hopefully you've had conversations either in the hallway track or during a talk. Or if you went to the Christmas dinner last night, you met people who did not look like you and you got ideas that you hadn't thought of. Right. That's why this stuff is so powerful. All right. So expertise lending. Right? That's the final version that I'm going to talk about. Expertise lending is lending a voice to people who lack privilege. Now, I'm a black person. Technology. I've been working in the field for almost 25 years. I started at Accenture, then I worked at Deloitte, and now I'm at a smaller company. And I don't see a lot of black people. And I'm an engineering manager. Right. A team of software developers. And at conferences, usually if you look at the speaker list, I may be the one black face. Maybe there are a couple. It's getting better. But still, I don't see a lot of examples of me. I don't see me at these events. I don't see me in technology often. And I think that what that causes people to do again is the question, do I have a place in this industry? And I really think that expertise lending can do that. Right. All right, so here's M. Oh, here's an example. So I prefer to go to M. So former first Lady Michelle Obama was at south by Southwest, which is my being south by Southwest in Austin, Texas. I know it's a long way. Really? Well, no technology conference. It was virtual, actually. Council Lester, you been to south. Bye. Soda online, right? It's been virtual. They canceled it for the first time when Covet first broke out was like, I mean, it's a long running conference. So that was wild. So I've been lucky to speak at south by Southwest a few times. So she was there. I saw her husband, actually. He was in the. So south by Southwest, a little bit of Sidebar is basically three conferences in one, three festivals. There's the technology one, there's the film festival, then the music festival. Right. That's how it works. So if you ever get a chance to go all the way to Austin, Texas, for South By, I do recommend it. So Barack Obama was in the interactive or the technology part of it, and she came to the music part. But when she had her talk, she asked a question that I thought was very powerful, and it really was about lending privilege. She said, if you got a voice at the table, look around the table and ask, are their voices and opinions that don't sound like yours? Right. Have you thought about that at your company when you're in your leadership meeting or your managers meeting. Are there people in those meetings when you're talking about what the teams are going to work on or you're trying to figure out some problem, like how are we going to solve technical debt or how we're going to get these features out? Are their voices that don't look like yours in that meeting? I think that's a powerful, powerful question to ask, but I think we need to do more than just ask about missing voices. I think we need to do what we can to give those voices a seat at the table. All right. So again, here's M is amazing. She is a person who has been with the company for several years. She's a one person onboarding team. When people join, she gets them set up with their environment. And she says, here are all the skeletons in the code base that you need to be aware of. And this is something we don't really touch very often. She's just well regarded by everyone at the company. But it's just one problem, right? Ms never had a chance to be a tech lead. She never had a chance to lead a project. And so she never had a chance to actually see can she be a leader at the company. And you can lend her privilege by if you're one of the people who determines who gets project and who should lead them, why not give her a chance to lead that project? Those really, like, career making projects that during performance review time that you know, are going to really pop on her or her review form, why don't you give her a chance to lead that project? You should talk to her first and really make sure that she's comfortable with that. But I think by doing that, you let her know that I can lead and you increase the chance that she'll stay at your company, but not only stay, but eventually help to lead it. Right. That's why this is really powerful. So I've gone through several examples of lending privilege, and I hope that as I've talked, you'd be going to think, oh, that doesn't sound that hard. That doesn't sound that bad. And I want to be clear that this is not a silver bullet. Right. This is not something that you can try once and it didn't go well. You're going to stop this is in many ways, a mindset. It's a mindset of being involved in seeing where can I, across the privileged landscape, make a difference. And I'm positive that everyone in here has some type of privilege that you can lend. And I also want to be clear that this is not really about giving up things that you value. Right. It doesn't mean that you lose things like, well, I got to lose this to help these people. It's really just a matter of sharing things that you already have. Right. That's what this is all about. Now, I also think that many of you probably want to leave a legacy and software, right? You want to make your Mark. You want to be the person who drove that library that everyone uses, right? You want to be that person with your name on those commits and those pull requests, and you want to have some kind of Mark. Maybe you want to found your own company. And I understand that. That's great. I love that you want to do that. But honestly, no matter what you're working on, at some point it's going to have zero users. At some point, there will be no one using your library, no one using your software application. When I started my career at Accenture back in the 1990s, I was working on multi million dollar projects. Guess how many users they have today? Zero. They've been decommissioned, maybe we deployed to production and we had a few people used it and then immediately just fell over. Right. We got paid a lot, but the adoption wasn't really what it needed to be. Right. How many of you used MySpace back in the day? Anybody remember MySpace or remember Frenchter? Guess how many users they have? They may have a few, but not a lot, right? Basically, they're dead. No matter what you're working on today, at some point it's going to die. It's going to have zero people using it. So if you want to leave a legacy, I think lending privilege can be a powerful way to do that. I know there are people early in my career who lent me their privilege, and that action has echoed throughout my career even to this present day. In many ways, I'm standing before you on this stage because people lent me their privilege. I think if you really want to have a legacy, if you really want to make a difference that will last, you can do it by lending your privilege. It's going to be way more effective than trying to figure out how to make production run, I don't know, 1.2 seconds faster or get up time down to 39 or whatever you're working on. Right. That's all great. But the people aspect, you can do things that will influence generations. You can open up doors to people that will last until they're in the grave. Right. That's why I'm passionate about this work, because it really does make a difference. And I think that, again, lending privilege is a powerful way to leave a legacy. But this legacy and again, I'm from America. This legacy of improvement and changing lives is deeply rooted in my country. This is Common is an American rapper. That might be my black privilege. I know who Common is. Anyone know who Common is? I know a few people. Right. Okay, so Common is a rapper. Very talented dude. I like a lot of his work. And he worked on a song with John Legend, another American artist, for a movie called Selma. And he worked on a song called Glory. Right? Simple title. Glory. And the hook for Glory goes like this, one day, when the glory comes, it will be ours. It will be ours. And it's a simple phrase, but I love it because it really talks about the power of inclusion and diversity, because this work isn't about men versus women or white people versus black people or straight people versus gay people. Is everyone against misogyny? It's everyone against racism. It's everyone against homophobia. That's what this work is about. And you know what? I am more convinced than ever that we're going to win this. Dr. Martin Luther King said that the arc of human history is long, but a bench towards justice. And I think that we can look over even the last 50 years and we've seen improvements. Right. Oslo isn't what it was 50 years ago. There are people who walk the streets of Oslo in peace who probably could not do that 50 years ago. Right. There are places in my country where actually, even today, if you buy a house in certain areas of Houston, Texas, in the deed, there's language that says that you cannot sell this house to a non white person. Right. Because these contracts have not been updated. Those are still on the books. Right. So we see the echoes of keeping people out and shrined in buying a house. The most basic thing that you can do, one of the biggest creatures that you can do is buy a house. But certain black people buy homes that have language that says, we don't want you to do this. Right. But things in general have gotten better. And one thing I love about America, and I know I'm far away from the country is when you look at the founding Fathers, that in many ways they built a pull request system into the Constitution. They're called amendments. Right. And so when you look at America's Constitution, it's actually a very brief document. You have article one, which describes, I think, Congress, and article two describes the presidency. Article three describes the Supreme Court. But if you keep reading the Constitution, you get back to the amendments. Right. And that's where I think the good stuff is. So when you read the Constitution, you see that there have only been 27 deployments to production of these amendments. So it's a messy process. It's hard to do, but it works. And just like in your code basis, I'm sure that there's a lot of good stuff in pull requests in the amendments. There's a lot of good stuff. Right. So we look at the 13th Amendment. When a lot of people read that, they think, oh, that's the one that set black people free. Right? Well, it did that, but it did more than that. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution said that no one can be a slave in America. And so while my ancestors who were brought to America in slave ships to work for free. I'm sure that they celebrated the passes of that amendment. Everyone should have celebrated that, because America really became a country where everyone was truly free. And the 19th Amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote. That's right. For several hundred the first 100 and so years of America's history, women could not vote. And the 17th Amendment changed that. And while I think I'm sorry, the 9th Amendment, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. And while when that amendment was passed, I'm sure a lot of women celebrated, but men should have celebrated, too, because that meant that America was now a country that no longer held people's gender against them at the ballot box. And then when we leave the amendments and go to a few years ago, the US Supreme Court said that gay marriage is just marriage. I'm sure a lot of my LGBTQ friends celebrate it. But those of you who are straight right, we should have celebrated, too, because we created a country at that point that no longer put limits on love. And so as America has struggled with our own peculiar issues, we've seen progress in how black people are treated, how women are treated, how gay people are treated. And I think that we're doing that in technology, too. I think that lending privilege is a powerful way to do that. I think all of you can be a part of making this industry better. Again. It's not about whites versus Blacks, men versus women, straight versus gay. It's about everyone for justice. And we are going to win. We're going to win this one day. When the glory comes, it will be ours. It will be ours. So I know that I give this talk, and there are times when people say it's kind of a dark talk. I talk about uncomfortable things like all slavery and racism. And I understand that. I understand that it can be tough to talk about these ideas, but it's even tougher being someone who may have a certain skin color that makes it hard to be in technology. It can be even harder being someone who has a certain gender, who is unfairly treated, even at conferences like this. It can be even harder having someone who may have to use a walking chair or a wheelchair or Walker and have trouble even getting to work. Right. That's really hard. But I don't want to get too cynical. In many ways, America and European countries, we're not perfect, but we're also not broken. In many ways, we're simply unfinished. Right. I'm learning more about the history of Norway and the things I've gone through politically in this country, just like other parts of this part of the world. I've seen progress like I've seen in my own country. And I think that we have to understand that it can seem like there's a lot of broken things happening. Right. It seems like we're always deploying breaking changes, just like we do with our code, and we see steps back. But I really think that we can all have a powerful part of making things better. And the good news is that we've always used technology to make ourselves better. The printing press in the United States was a big part of the anti slavery movement. Right. That was a technology that was used to help expand freedom to different people. And we've also seen technologies like radio and television and Twitter also being used as platforms to make the world better. Now, of course, there are people who use the same platforms to do the opposite, but those platforms can be powerful. And I really think that we have to choose what are we going to do? Right? What side are we going to be on? And in many ways, we have to decide, are we going to be part of the people who are moving to make this industry welcoming, where again, we want to welcome talent no matter how it's packaged? Or do we want to be people who keep people out? Right. And we can make this industry more welcoming by who we hire, who we pair program with, who do we make leaders in our organizations. Right. By making those choices, we make the world more just. I know the side that I'm on. I hope that you know what side you're on, too. And our choice plays out in our families. Right. As someone who is a male and I have two sons who are 13 years old, I'm sorry, 14 years old and 15 years old, part of my role as a man is to just talk to them about, hey, there are certain things that you need to understand about women and consent and respect. And I really want to say this because as men, it's easy to do this in front of women. Like, oh, I'm a feminist, and I'm all this. But it's when women aren't around that we can really be powerful when talking to other men about these things. Right. That's how lending privilege goes beyond the walls of our companies and into the world. And it shouldn't be like a one time speech. This is part of the normal conversations that I have with my sons. And I think it's an important conversation that all men should have with their sons. And as a person of color, I always appreciate when people talk about race in front of me. And when white people say, oh, what happened to George Floyd? That was so bad, I'm like, yes, it was so bad. But what's more powerful is when there aren't any black people in the room and white people talk about race and issues and the fact that there is still inequality that black people go through just living even in America. There is a study that showed that when a police officer pulls over someone in a car, if the person driving the car is black, they're like five times more likely to be pulled over than a white person. The only time when this did not happen was at night time when it was harder to see the race of the person driving the car. Right? Why not talk about that with your white friends? It might be interesting. I'm not sure if people know that. Right. It's simple. Having these conversations can be powerful. And what's sad is that black people often have to express outrage in order to get the bread crumbs of justice. And I think that we can all do something to make that easier to get to. And I'm a straight cisgendered person. I work in a heteronormative industry, and it's easy for me to go to a pride parade or to wear a rainbow colored flag. But it's even better when straight people talk about gay issues where there aren't any gay people around. In certain States. In America, again, it's almost 2022. You can be fired for being gay. Like in several States that are still on the books, someone can say you're gay, you're fired. Why? Because you're gay. Why don't people talk about that when there aren't any gay people around? Right. That's how we get the change. And again, these are conversations that are uncomfortable, but they're conversations that are necessary. And I hope that you all have the bravery and the courage to have those conversations in your own private moments. So I know that this talk is one where you may say, hey, Edwin, thanks for coming to Oslo. Thanks for the talk. But you know what? I just write PHP. I'm a Python developer. Right. I'm a data scientist. All this inclusion and diversity talk kind of cool, but not my jam. I just want to go to work and leave and get my paycheck. And I understand that sentiment. I do. But I have to imagine that. I don't know if this happened, but if Leonard Nemoy, when he went to the offices to negotiate a better salary for the show, Nichols, if he was asked, we're making a Sci-Fi TV show, what does that have to do with fairly paying a black woman? Again, I don't know if he said that if he was asked that, but I do think that if he was asked that question, he would say it has everything to do with paying a black woman, because I play a character that symbolizes the power of infinite diversity and infinite combinations. And part of that means that we are going to let this fellow artists get paid the same as the other fellow artists. So I hope that you all see that this is vitally important work and that you can all be a part of it if we want our industry to be one where everyone can come in and truly innovate, truly push us forward. And this is great work to do. It's really great work to do. It's really important work that we should all be a part of. So I hope that if you want our industry to succeed, if you want women, people of color, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups to not only come into our industry, but to stay and get promoted. If you want to have this big Boisterous Babbling Bazaar where no bug is deep, then you can have a role to play by lending your privilege. And this is how we make companies more valuable, right? Diversity and inclusion work can do so much more to improve the bottom line of our companies. But again I want to reemphasize that this is justice work. It's not just about business, it's about justice. So I really hope that as you leave by session that you feel empowered to lend a hand, lend an ear and to lend your privilege. Thank you. Alright.