I’ve been asked to speak at a few events recently. Happily, none of the events have been all male, pale, stale. But they have been white. This is the email I’ve sent in response to the organisers.
If you’re a white practitioner - copy this content, save it as an email template and use it.
Ask the organisers
Thank you for thinking of me, and for the invitation. I admire that [organisation] is focussing on [issue being discussed], it’s an important topic.
I’d like to understand how you’re approaching representation across the [event/ panel]. I respect the work of the respective [speakers/ panelists/ organisations], and if I were to join the [speakers/ panel] it would only be made up of white practitioners. I need to see greater representation in the panel to personally take part. I’m happy to suggest black practitioners to be included, or indeed to take my place.
Again, thank you for the invitation. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hinging for black practitioners
It’s really important for white practitioners to get out of the way for our colleagues of colour. I see the power my white privilege gives me, and I want to do what I can to raise others up. Even when that means I don’t get to speak at an event I was excited about, or put aside the business opportunities for IF. Until people who are discriminated against are represented, no one wins.
Much of our work at IF is about examining power structures. We create near futures that give people more agency. In Society-centered design we make the clear case for Equity. As an industry, we must make products that give everyone agency, but in particular those who often have the least power. We need to continue bringing this pointy activism into our work and our practise. Technology is not colourblind.
Design and technology must be anti-racist
This week we’re publishing examples of anti-racist design that Charlene and David have made. There’s more to do, and that work will take all of us. Especially from those of us who are white. In all sorts of ways, we benefit from the power imbalance.
Witnessing George Floyd’s murder, and the outpouring of pain that has followed, we must play the feelings of discomfort forward into our work. We must challenge and change ourselves, each other and the industry to do more and be better.