Upstream is a new podcast featuring interviews and conversations with people who are moving open source forward. The podcast is produced by Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team. In their first episode, Joe Brockmeier talks with Leslie Hawthorn of Elasticsearch about her Sunday morning keynote at the Twelfth Annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 12x) in February this year. In Why Checking Your Privilege is Good For You, Leslie asks how we can use our level of privilege—whether in our field, in our community, or in our job—to help others, with lower levels of privilege in said field, community, or workplace, to get involved and succeed.
View the keynote or download the attachment to this article.
Listen to the podcast interview with Leslie Hawthorn on Upstream.
She describes an underlying environment where there are those of us who have achieved a lot in our field, communities, or jobs enjoy a high level of privilege, or as Leslie calls it, "a lower level of difficulty." For newcomers to open source, women or other minorities, and people with disabilities—to name a few—they experience "a higher level of difficulty" when striving to achieve, succeed, and learn. We all can appreciate that helping others get involved and succeed in open source communities and on open source projects, moves open source forward. So, how can those of us experiencing lower levels of difficulty be good human beings, good leaders, and good open source citizens?
What I took away from listening to Leslie's interview with Upstream was that we can first, be aware. Hear what we don't want to hear. That we can do better. We're all smart, talented folks. Why are we afraid of bringing others into the fold? Our open source society can be harsh and social media can be an ever-watchful, attack dog. Leslie recommends that we open up a little and allow people to make mistakes. Allow people to learn. Don't just get mad. Let people know how they can do better, and be open to doing better yourself. It's ok. We're all in this together.
Check your privilege and become more self-aware for the betterment of your open source community with these resources from Leslie Hawthorn:
- Programming Diversity, a keynote by Ashe Dryden
- The Diverse Team, a book by Ashe Dryden
- Ashe Dryden's blog
- Does Diversity Pay? by the American Sociological Association
- Feminism 101 resources on the Geek Feminism wiki
- Terminology and jargon explanations
- Learn more about people’s experiences on Model View Culture
- Meritocracy myth on National Public Radio (NPR)
- Research on human willpower from Farnam Street
- A self-analysis focused on silent technical privilege by Philip Guo
- Recognizing and overcoming bias on wikiHow
A few of Leslie’s favorite humans to follow on Twitter who talk about these topics (and many others): @ graceishuman , @ shakestweetz , @ feministgriote , @ chiefelk , @ civilwarbore
Leslie Hawthorn is a frequent contributor to Opensource.com. Read her articles. She is also the Community Manager for Elasticsearch where she spreads the word and involves folks from across the globe in community meetups, conferences like SCALE 12x, and other events. Read more about the Elasticsearch ELK Stack including Logstash and Kibana on the website.