Tag Archives: gender

Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

I made a lot of money last year.

I don’t have any of it, but I made it.

A significant amount went to the staggering cost of living in San Francisco for close to a year.

Another large chunk went to friends and family for various reasons – art and music projects, trips to see relatives, etc – in other words, I gave it to people who were engaged in growing their careers / passions, their families, and their hearts.

I also tipped more frequently / in higher amounts than I ever have, gave money to charitable orgs, and regularly bought food and other items for folks living on the street (most of the time I do these things quietly and quickly – there’s a more nuanced point about why, which I’ll get to later).

Then, about a month ago, I was laid off. While it wasn’t my favorite moment of the year, it certainly wasn’t the worst either.

Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about
Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about

As I write this, I’m helping bootstrap a journalism startup from $0, have a bank account in the low hundreds, and am scratching together freelance writing & content planning/strategy to make my bills.

Oddly, I’m fairly comfortable with the situation – something that surprises even me at times.

Continue reading Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

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Men, Women, Tech: Building structure that acknowledges how things are + how they could be

I have a hard time watching women cut other women down to size.

For me it’s painful because I recognize that the hardest thing to overcome in any group of humans is when an insider or influencer calls out someone else as “not a real [line in the sand of your choosing].”

I wrote a more personal piece about this back in April when I addressed my discomfort with Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign.

In that model the very thing that’s supposed to ensure legitimacy — hey, this is someone who’s been there and done that, truly one of us — is used as a weapon against or seperator of other people in the group.

For women in American culture this is a constant problem and it’s embedded in a variety of forums, including the workplace.

As a member of the startup / tech ecosystem, I think about these things a lot. Even in a very far forward part of the economy the concepts of access + “how it’s done / what’s normal” are still strong currents, and instutionalized “isms” are at play. I won’t get into a huge discussion of how that works here, since there are other people doing it better (for a thought provoking, but NSFW [language + trigger warning] run down, check out @Shanley’s piece on how women in tech end up reinforcing patriarchy. I don’t agree with everything she has to say, but there are some indictments there that are hard to refute.

Continue reading Men, Women, Tech: Building structure that acknowledges how things are + how they could be

An open letter from a white man to a black man in the year 2013

*This is my response to an editorial piece by Questlove, which you can click here to read

 

If you put the two of us in a room together, we’d make an odd pair.

You, a black man with access to wealth, influence, and places I’ll never go.

I,  a white man with access to goodwill and social capital that no one will ever accord you, regardless of how hard you try.

On the train home from work today, I looked a young black man in the face and we both nodded our heads ever so slightly in the standard greeting of city dwellers. Then I wondered what it would be like to live in his skin, to walk in his shoes.

He was an ordinary looking man, perhaps 25-35 years old, wearing jeans, a shirt, and a sweater. I know nothing about his life, other than that there is a singular characteristic about him that at its core is neither negative nor positive.

Continue reading An open letter from a white man to a black man in the year 2013

Saying “You’ll die alone with your cats” makes you look like an idiot.

I’m still wrapping my head around this feminist response to the ongoing (and warranted) controversy around Suzanne Venker’s simplistic “War on Men” screed that Fox News posted last week.

But comments on the article to the effect of “congratulations you’ll die alone with your cats” are useless.

The conversation around men and women’s changing roles and responsibilities (not to mention socially constructed gender) is complicated, and is not an all or nothing proposition.

Also, there’s a good chance I’ll die alone with cats and I’m a chap, so the gender implications of that insult are old news and inaccurate.