Friday, May 1, 2015

Passing and Privilege

Who I write for, in this blog, is something that has shifted over time.

At first I was writing to the younger "me"s: engineering students, and high school girls interested in engineering. People facing economic difficulties going into college. Occasionally to other parents, although this is not primarily a "Mommy Blog," not focused on my child.

As my own diversity journey has progressed, as other things in life have happened, my "probable audience" has shifted. This year, I've been trying to write more to smart professsionals, primarily in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics fields, and often (but not always) young adults.

People interested in or curious about diversity efforts, but not necessarily knowledgeable on the subject. Usually white, or otherwise unfamiliar with intersectional discourse / critical race studies.

I wrote about the Thirty-Meter Telescope last week, in part to share with my audience the issues, and in part to process my own thoughts and feelings about it. At the end, I asked people to listen.

I actually didn't promote that post. I was not sure that I said the right things at all. I posted it once, which right now automatically goes to Google+. Then I sent it to three people on Twitter, open to feedback if they had time to review.

One of the things I have learned in the years of following the literature on diversity, is that often diversity efforts are placed on the shoulders of oppressed peoples. Requests to be on Diversity Councils, requests to join committees addressing Diversity. The committees and councils need adequate representation in order to be successful, and yet because minorities People of Color are so under-represented, there may be an over-demand for their time.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

At what costs?

I've been doing a lot of reading, research for the proto-business idea. One of the books I read was The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated. I feel obligated to add that I did NOT stop at that book. I'm reading others that are more realistic about what a small business entails.

I thought that 4-Hour Workweek had some interesting ideas about work, wealth, and life, but it also comes with a number of cautions.

One of the first things Ferriss discusses in The 4-Hour Workweek, is how he won the gold medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championship, by "reading the rules and looking for unexploited opportunities." [1] At the end of the competition, the kickboxers all hated him. He had no form, no real technique... but he won. And winning was all that mattered to Ferriss.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Inclusion, Innovation, and the Aerospace Industry

In 1968, for the first time ever, humans got an image of Earth from space:

The blue oceans. The swirling clouds. The continents without political borders. The thinness of the atmosphere.

The imagery may have influenced both the environmental movement and the movement for peace in this world: the concept of the global village, and efforts to move beyond tribalism. It is that tribalism, I think, that influences so many of the phobias we see today.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Inclusion and The Goal

For those of you interested in the DecolonizeSTEM discussion, please see Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein's Medium article with her Decolonising Science Reading List.

One of the things I've read these past few months, was Eli Goldratt's The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. I have read quite a bit about Theory of Constraints over the past two years, but this was my first time reading the classic book that started it off. Some of the principals make sense, for example I am trying to "focus and finish" my reading.

However, some of what Goldratt writes about The Goal, appears to conflict with the data on Diversity & Inclusion.  Specifically:
"productivity is the act of bringing a company closer to its goal. Every action that brings a company closer to its goal is productive. Every action that does not bring a company closer to its goal is not productive." [1]
Diversity & Inclusion discussions in business, are often viewed as "a waste of time," or worse, "unproductive."

Yet the data on Diversity & Inclusion's impact on business shows that it improves performance. I wonder how much of this happened because The Goal was focused on the factory environment and production, and how much of this happened simply as a matter of assumptions.

What do you think? Would you update The Goal to reflect the data? How?

[1]  Goldratt, Eliyahu M.; Jeff Cox (2014-07-01). The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement (Kindle Locations 691-693). North River Press. Kindle Edition.