White Supremacy Bingo In Tech

With the free space they hit all the white privilege, entitlement, racist/supremacist squares.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Square One: Gaslight

It all started with a discussion online with Aimee Knight who made a statement regarding diversity and inclusion in 2019 and her relief that she was already in the tech industry.

In her opinion people are going out of their way to be angry about diversity and inclusion.

So, we are making a mountain out of a molehill according to a white woman in tech. Apparently, to Aimee Knight, marginalized groups are exaggerating the lack of I & D (inclusion and diversity) and shouldn’t be so angry.

It’s just discrimination after all. So she gaslights and makes everyone who calls out lack of inclusion and diversity appear as though their anger is a reflection of their bitter character rather than the industry.

But Aimee isn’t heartless. She wants us all to know that she’s willing to pay for counseling for someone to deal with their anger. Of course, actually doing the work to call out discrimination and push for I & D would remove the reason for their anger, but…counseling!

This faux concern is another trait of whiteness: “Don’t call out injustice because it hurts you, and that’s what I, person benefitting from this white, patriarchal system, cares about: you.”

But what they really mean is “You are making me uncomfortable and if more people hear you and amplify this inequality my privilege will no longer be efficient enough to further my mediocrity.”

Square Two: Tone Policing/White Civility

Whiteness will take issue with how a person says something rather than the actual issue being discussed. This is a disconnect that often increases the ire of the marginalized community because we are focused on the actual actions and beliefs that hurt and negatively impact a group. Whiteness is more concerned with talking civilly — by their metric, always remember this — and if we are not meeting that threshold (we rarely do), they feel we are not worth listening to.

Similar to the “angry Black woman” trope it makes the individual focus on how they are perceived for relaying the message rather than the actual message to fight against homogeneity.

There are many Black women in particular who have tried to refrain from raising their voice or even speaking out, in the hopes that they can avoid the “angry Black women" label and, inevitably, they are still given it.

It’s a white power play. They want to control who gets to speak on topics and how they speak on topics. It establishes white supremacy control from the outset and we are, essentially, entering a rigged game every time. Look at who the media focuses on for the Democratic presidential nomination. It’s clear which candidates they prefer, and they’re all white.

It does not matter how we address the issue. Because it has not, now or ever, been about whether we are angry. It’s about shutting us up through whatever method may work.

Square Three: Free Space

Congratulations! You’re almost at bingo!

Square Four: Toxic White Knight

On cue, a white man determined to save Aimee from the “mob” attempting to “lynch” her, Jon Sonmez races to the thread. Now mind you, this discussion was overall civil with people telling her to examine her privilege and her belief that pain and anger caused by continual harm is the pressing issue rather than addressing the actual harm, until John Sonmez came into the thread.

His tactic was to tell people to…shut up. He called them “pussy”, “idiot” and suggested they stop being “butthurt” and get over it.

Hilariously notice how, in John’s mind, everyone else is rabid and angry, while he is the one that comes in with personal attacks.

He said he wanted to divert the anger to him, and that he was happy to take the heat to keep Aimee safe. That is until it got to be too much and more people started piling on with few coming to defend him.

John is enraged because marginalized communities, are overprivileged (maybe his mediocrity hasn’t gotten him far enough) and should be grateful when we are let into a homogenous group of white and/or male tech bros.

Square Five: The Hero/Victim White

The last one entering the fray in defense Aimee Knight and John Sonmez was Charles Max Wood, who decided to make a video on YouTube regarding what took place. The title has “Being Nice” included, so he already uses “white civility" as a metric for conduct.

He — a man who wears a MAGA hat — claims he wants to be objective but also states he is friends with Aimee and John Sonmez, and has spoken to Kim Crayton prior to this.

What’s interesting is the wording. Aimee is being “bullied" because Kim Crayton “went after" her and John Sonmez “started fighting back". Aimee is a victim, John is a hero and Kim is the problem and John is the media slanting the narrative with white supremacist precision.

Charles glosses over the fact that Aimee repeatedly refused to see how putting the impetus on marginalized communities to let go of their justifiable anger — by blaming their anger and offering counseling —would not fix the issue.

If someone hits your shoulder as a joke and you get upset because it hurts, so they offer you counseling to deal with the pain but still continue to hit your shoulder, is the problem really your reaction?

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

People like Aimee, John and Charles are the problem. Their beliefs continue to allow white supremacy and marginalization to thrive.

He also ignores the fact that many people were calling out Aimee, not just Kim Crayton. She wasn’t even the first person to point out the lack of understanding Aimee had in to how oppression works.

He then says John Sonmez was “pushing back in the same way". This is whiteness’s false equivalency, claiming that the people telling Aimee she’s wrong is on the same level as John cursing people out. This is white civility — the ability to make actual attacks by white privileged people the same as marginalized people pointing out the attacks.

Another facet of white civility is the same one employed by Ellen DeGeneres recently — making disagreements about inclusion and diversity on par with mundane disagreements. For them disagreeing about pizza or hamburgers is the same as disagreeing on racism, discrimination, inclusion and diversity.

These are not minor differences. Both pizza and hamburgers are food that will sustain us at the end of the day: however, the fight for inclusion in tech will negatively affect the lives of individuals for no other reason than that they are not white and/or male.

Benefit of the Doubt For The White People

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

White people are constantly given the benefit of the doubt for their words and actions. People want to believe they “meant well", like Aimee or that they “do not usually act that way" like John.

Here’s where the error is: issues regarding racism and oppression do not always stem from a misunderstanding or not “seeing both sides", but more often than not stems from — a need to maintain power by continuing to marginalize groups.

All of these techniques of white supremacy are meant to silence or shift the focus from actual harm. Focus on how they talk, focus on what they look like, focus on the weed in their apartment, focus on how painful it is for white people to hear about their pain, focus on how white people struggle too, focus on Black on Black crime in Chicago, focus on Martin Luther King Jr.’s unity quotes, focus on everything but the maimed and dead.

They do not get to create the narrative unless we allow them. Do not stay silent when they do this. Do not accept their excuses as valid reasons for harm. Do not accept.

Oh, and congrats on your white bingo.

Multi-ethnic creative non-binary. Spouts nonsense that occasionally makes sense. she/her/they/them

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store