Episode 100  on May 12, 2010Behind the Screens

Jack Aponte on Diversity, Power and Privilege in Open Source Communities

Jack Aponte is a Drupal Site builder who primarily works with non-profits, and talks about the issue of diversity within the Drupal community and how it relates to identity, power and privilege. Jack identifies as a gender queer person of color and talks a bit about the culture shock felt by minorities when attending DrupalCon, which is largely white, largely male and largely cisgendered.

The social aspect is a huge aspect of Drupal, and Jack talks about whether or not Drupal can be considered a pure doacracy when the people that make up the Drupal community are bringing in a wide range of power and privilege from their everyday lives. Jack's desire is to not just to think about diversity in terms of statistics, but how to practically create a more open and welcoming community that is aware of how the dynamics of power and privilege play out in social interactions and process of building Drupal karma and credibility.

Jack also previews the Birds of a Feather on Diversity which was prompted by a drupal.org issue on expanding the "Gender" profile field options. One of the issues that came up is how to deal with issues of diversity when there is no one centralized authority in Drupal since it is composed of a distributed group of individuals. Because of this, it becomes paramount that issues of diversity and awareness of power dynamics becomes the personal responsibility of each individual.

Jack talks about an example of how the power dynamics play out by talking about the discussions at DrupalCon about sexism on the package design of Drupal the Card Game that was being distributed.

Finally, Jack talks about some practical advice for how to deal with diversity in the Drupal Community, and encourages each individual within the Drupal community to become empathetic and to try to see this issue through the eyes of other people if you happen to be within the majority where diversity may not be at the front of your mind.

UPDATE: Be sure to also check out Benjamin Doherty's write-up on the Diversity BoF that he just posted today.

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