I’ve flip flopped countless times on whether to publish this, and you may never know if the coin toss lands the last time on “no”. In fact, I bailed on it last night, but the damned thing keeps gnawing at me.
I waver because it sounds a bit petty, defensive, and or combative. And it’s none of those (well petty is always a possibility). The point is not even the point described below, but for me, in thinking through this, I have a minuscule taste of the other side of the privilege that comes with being a white male (a state of matter I can’t change).
With my spate of travel I am mostly getting the outer swirls of #Gamergate from second hand comments and references. The outfall of this is beyond ugly, and when things go from rudeness to physical threats and abuse, things have crossed a line into evil territory. Trying to get to an understanding is hard, I gave Deadspin’s comprehensive The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate one read, and that leaves me still wondering if I “get it”.
This was triggered by a small, what I would guess is a throwaway, vented expression by Audrey Watters in her recent Hack Education Weekly News story Yes, #Gamergate is an Ed-Tech Issue.
I have no disagreement that we (the collective us) have not been paying nearly enough attention to the unfairness and abuse women and other non white non males face in the online spaces. We don’t usually see it, so many can dismiss it as non existent. Yet the more we hear, the more it seems there is more we do not hear. Even more than more.
So to say it is an Ed-Tech issues is a statement worth reverberating and the points raised are ones Ed-Tech practitioners need to chew on. As well the ones stated by John Spencer.
Yet the statement “is an issue” to me has some ambiguity… “is an issue” that Ed-Tech should be more vocal and acting on, hell yes, but to some “is an issue” to some means perhaps limited to or a direct effect of. #Gamergate is an issue way beyond Ed-tech, and even beyond tech; it is, as much as racial issues, much deeper set in our social fabric that we’d tend to believe.
So maybe I want to have a conversation about what it means to be an issue, not to discount that it’s an issue.
Yet this jumps out me, a parenthetical that I see as understandable as a lash out but really not necessary to Audrey’s point.
And I insist that this is an education technology issue. I received some pushback on Twitter last night (from men, go figure) when I made this assertion and asked why ed-tech publications have been so silent on the topic of this ongoing campaign of threats and harassment against women.
This means, if I felt like pushing back, well… go figure. I’m a man.
Got nothing to say. Go figure.
I had pondered recently some twitter discussions from (I think) Mariana Funes and Frances Bell about people feeling silenced online. I did not doubt it but struggled to connect to an experience I could relate.
A while back, trying to again parse through a lot of things to get an understanding of #ferguson, I read a strongly expressed opinion I really had some disagreement with their argument. I wanted to engage perhaps in a disagreement or discussion, yet I stopped. How could I contradict, the author, self identified as African American, without being thought of as a white critic?
So I chose not to comment.
Silenced. Go figure.
But the thing is, no one told be to be silent, and my reactions are purely imagined. I have doubt Audrey would call me a misogynist (a word I cannot even pronounce or spell without copying from elsewhere) nor do I really know the author of the #ferguson piece reject my disagreement based on my race.
It’s in my head.
As they say on some social media platform, it’s complicated. It’s f*****ing complicated.
I’m not looking for Audrey to defend the “go figure” statement, it was in the moment. I am actually appreciative to try on this overly tiny feeling of not having a voice. It dwarfs in comparison to what many others deal with.
And before any of this gets better, if it does, it likely needs to get uglier and more truthful.
I have heard more stories from colleagues who have dealt with ugly attacks I have never been “privileged” with. It’s pretty damned rampant. I’ve accepted it happens, but am feeling like I have completely underestimated the size and reach of the hydra.
It should not, and maybe now will start to… cannot be ignored.
Let’s go figure…