I just spoke to MSFT about the racist, sexist, ableist, elitist history and culture of higher ed + CS ed and how the pandemic has amplified it. For those who know this history, enjoy the solidarity; for those who don't, brace yourselves.


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What an amazing and concise presentation of a lot of hard truths!

Having been on both sides of CS education, I recognize *all* of this. Read it, share it, do something about it.

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@LienRag what do you mean? I assume the usual (2000-2001)


Well, she says that higher education in the 20th Century was "for "everyone" except Black and Indigenous Americans, and many women".
Which was true for the first half of it, but not really the last decades (at least not more than the 21th century which she considers "progressive but privatized").

@LienRag yeah... these changes are definitely gradual, but overall I think it was a fair summary


I have seen only her slides so I don't know what she said orally, but if we allow ourselves to say false things because they fit into an "overall fair summary", in what are we better than Bolsonaro or Trump ?

@LienRag Whoa that's a quite steep slippery slope! I think it's a fair assessment because when describing a *century* it is reasonable and expected to summarize and simplify, and to take what was unique about that period as representative, even though the early period shared features of the previous one and the late period with the subsequent one. And there will always be numerous cases where reality doesn't match the summary. A well-intentioned listener will understand that.


Public communication is not adressed to well-intentioned listeners, but to critics. That is a fundamental and very important thing to understand.

Doing otherwise is fragmenting the discourse, and so creating alternative narratives for the same facts, ultimately creating alternate realities ("alternative facts" as pointed by Trump's Kelly-Anne Conway), straying away from the Enlightement's path of progressiverly building a common ground based on objective rationality between people with different experiences and base hypotheses.

It is tempting to cut some slack to people we agree with, but that is actually doing them (and everybody else) a great disservice, as it is a very slippery slope leading towards political tribailsm rather than carefully thought political positions that can be peacefully debated with opponents.

@LienRag This was an invited talk at Microsoft where they were pretty much asking "how can we help". And if I were to guess, I'd bet the oral presentation made the proper disclaimers to deal with the nitpickers.

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